Composition

Of the poultry meat species, chicken and turkey are probably the most popular species consumed in the United States. There are significant differences in meat characteristics and composition between the two. Turkey meat (skin on) is lower in fat than chicken meat (skin on), both of which are lower in fat than duck and goose meat (Table 1).

An attraction for most consumers is the leanness of chicken and turkey meat compared to red meat. Most of the fat in chicken and turkey is located in the skin, which can easily be removed. In chicken white meat, the fat is decreased from 11.1% to 1.6% with skin removal, and from 7.4% to 1.6% in turkey white meat (Table 1). However, the dark meat remains relatively higher in fat, even with the skin off. This high fat in the dark meat is due to

Table 1 Proximate composition and energy values of raw poultry meat from different avian species

Species Meat type/skin Moisture % Protein % Fat % Ash % Energy (kcal/100 g)

Species Meat type/skin Moisture % Protein % Fat % Ash % Energy (kcal/100 g)

Table 1 Proximate composition and energy values of raw poultry meat from different avian species

Chicken

Light, with skin

68.6

20.3

11.1 0.86

186

Light, without skin

74.9

23.2

1.6 0.98

114

Dark, with skin

65.4

16.7

18.3 0.76

237

Dark, without skin

76.0

20.1

4.3 0.94

125

Turkey

Light, with skin

69.8

21.6

7.4 0.90

159

Light, without skin

73.8

23.6

1.6 1.00

115

Dark, with skin

71.1

18.9

8.8 0.86

160

Dark, without skin

74.5

20.1

4.4 0.93

125

Duck, domesticated

All, with skin

48.5

11.5

39.3 0.68

404

All, without skin

73.8

18.3

6.0 1.06

132

Goose, domesticated

All, with skin

49.7

15.9

33.6 0.87

371

All, without skin

68.3

22.8

7.1 1.10

161

(From Ref. 2.)

Table 2 Composition and nutritional value of

a 100 g edible portion of raw and cooked light chicken meat,

with skin

Component

Raw

Roasted

Stewed

Batter-fried

Proximate

Water, g

68.6

60.5

65.1

50.2

Protein, g

20.3

29.0

26.1

23.6

Fat, g

11.1

10.8

10.0

15.4

Carbohydrate, g

0.0

0.0

0.00

9.5

Ash, g

0.86

0.93

0.78

1.29

Energy, kcal

186

222

201

277

Minerals

Calcium, mg

11

15

13

20

Iron, mg

0.79

1.14

0.98

1.26

Magnesium, mg

23

25

20

22

Phosphorus, mg

163

200

146

168

Potassium, mg

204

227

167

185

Sodium, mg

65

75

63

287

Zinc, mg

0.93

1.23

1.14

1.06

Copper, mg

0.04

0.053

0.044

0.061

Manganese, mg

0.018

0.018

0.018

0.055

Selenium, mg

16.4

24.1

21.2

27.2

Vitamins

Vitamin C, mg

0.9

0.0

0.0

0.0

Thiamin, mg

0.059

0.060

0.041

0.133

Riboflavin, mg

0.086

0.118

0.112

0.147

Niacin, mg

8.908

11.134

6.935

9.156

Pantothenic acid, mg 0.794

0.926

0.535

0.794

Vitamin B6, mg

0.480

0.520

0.270

0.390

Folate, food, mg

4

3

3

6

Vitamin B12, mg

0.34

0.32

0.20

0.28

Vitamin A, IU

99

110

96

79

Vitamin E, mg

0.295

NA

0.265

NA

Lipids

Saturated fatty acids, g 3.16

3.05

2.80

4.12

Monounsaturated, g

4.52

4.26

3.92

6.37

Polyunsaturated, g

2.34

2.31

2.12

3.60

Cholesterol, mg

67

84

74

84

NA Data not available. (From Ref. 2.)

NA Data not available. (From Ref. 2.)

Table 3 Composition and nutritional value of a 100 g edible portion of raw and roasted, light and dark turkey meat

Component

NA Data not available. (From Ref. 2.)

Light

Dark

Raw with skin

Roasted with skin

Roasted without skin

Raw with skin

Roasted with skin

Roasted without skin

Proximate

Energy, kcal 159 197 157 160 221 187 Minerals

Calcium, mg 13 21 19 17 33 32

Magnesium, mg 24 26 28 20 23 24

Phosphorus, mg 184 208 219 170 196 204

Potassium, mg 271 285 305 261 274 290

Sodium, mg 59 63 64 71 76 79

Selenium, mg 22.4 29.1 32.1 26.4 37.8 40.9 Vitamins

Riboflavin, mg 0.115 0.132 0.129 0.2002 0.235 0.248

Pantothenic acid, mg 0.615 0.626 0.667 1.033 1.160 1.286

Vitamin B6, mg 0.480 0.470 0.540 0.320 0.320 0.360

Vitamin E, mg 0.0141 0.134 0.09 NA 0.609 0.640 Lipids

Saturated fatty acids, g 2.00 2.34 1.03 2.58 3.49 2.42

Monounsaturated, g 2.81 2.84 0.56 3.00 3.65 1.64

Polyunsaturated, g 1.73 2.01 0.86 2.28 3.09 2.16

Cholesterol, mg 65 76 69 72 89 85

intramuscular fat known as marbling, which is not removable. As a general rule, light meat is lower in fat and higher in protein than dark meat. This difference causes several implications for eating quality. Light meat tastes meatier because it has more meat flavor (protein) than savory flavor from fat. However, dark meat is higher in fat and has a stronger chicken flavor because most flavor compounds are located in the fat.

As the percentage of moisture increases in meat, the percentage of fat decreases. As the skin is removed from either the dark meat or the light meat, much of the fat is removed, and the moisture percentage then increases in both chicken and turkey (Table 1). Also, the higher the fat percentages in the meat, the higher the energy as measured by kcal/100 g. Therefore, as the skin is removed, the total calories are reduced in both the light and dark chicken and turkey meat.

Poultry fat is less saturated than other animal fats. For this reason, it has a lower melting point and is less solid at room temperature compared to beef and pork fat. As an estimate, poultry meat with skin has 33% saturated fats compared to 42% in pork and 54% in beef. As for unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated), poultry has 67% compared to 46% in beef and 58% in pork.[3] Tables 2 and 3 indicate the lipid content of chicken and turkey meat, respectively. Saturated fats are higher in raw chicken product when compared to raw turkey meat, both light and dark. In cooked products, however, the amount of saturated fats is really dependent upon cooking method. Since blood cholesterol levels have been associated with fats, many consumers are concerned with eating meat products. However, cholesterol in raw chicken breast is around 67 mg/100 g, whereas drumstick cholesterol is 77 mg/100 g. In turkey meat, similar results are observed in the breast, with 65 mg/100 g. However, the meat in turkey legs is higher in cholesterol (72 mg/ 100 g), which may be due to the excess intramuscular fat located in the legs. An important note is that cholesterol is found not only in fats, but also in plasma membranes surrounding the cells in lean meat. Therefore, it is not appropriate to refer to either chicken or turkey meat as lower in cholesterol than other meats.

Cooking method can affect the nutrient composition of poultry meat. Normally, water is the main component lost during cooking of poultry meat, along with some fat and collagen (heat labile). As water and some fat are lost during cooking, most of the other components of meat (protein, vitamins, and minerals) are concentrated. Tables 2 and 3 indicate the different types of cooking methods and the resulting nutrient components of chicken and turkey, respectively. Another note is that dark meat has more collagen. In younger animals, this collagen is heat labile and therefore melts during cooking. Since more collagen is lost from dark meat than from white meat, there is actually less protein in dark meat following cooking when compared to the raw product (Table 3).

A 100-g serving of roasted light chicken meat with skin is an excellent protein source, providing about 58% of the daily reference value (DRV) of protein. It also provides 17% of the RDV for fat, 15% of the RDV for saturated fat, and about one-quarter of the cholesterol allowed per day. Poultry meat is an excellent source of the minerals phosphorous and selenium and the vitamins niacin and B6, providing 20, 34, 56, and 26% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for each nutrient, respectively.

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