health

6 Alarming Reasons You Shouldn’t Eat Chicken More Than A Few Times Each Week

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is a writer on the Original Content team. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Think about your favorite meal. For many people, that meal contains one specific food: chicken. There are so many delicious ways to eat chicken.

Just thinking about fried chicken, chicken parmesan, and BBQ chicken sandwiches is making my mouth water!

Most of us eat the popular poultry all the time. It’s an easy protein to cook, it’s delicious, and it’s filling.

Plus, it’s usually pretty lean, which means it’s healthier than many red meats. According to the USDA, a serving of chicken provides 20-25 grams of protein and up to 6% of the daily recommended amount of iron.

Unfortunately, even though chicken is pretty good for you, it can actually be bad if you eat it too much.

That’s right, it’s possible to eat too much chicken. And the consequences can be pretty alarming — it can increase your risk of heart disease, it can make it harder to maintain a healthy body weight, and it can even make you more resistant to antibiotics.

Read below to find out more about the consequences of eating too much chicken.

Photos: Morgan Swofford for LittleThings; Flickr / Eugenia Loli

Is Chicken Good For You?

is chicken good
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Yes, chicken is usually good for you, especially if you primarily eat white meat.

The Guardian explains that many diets recommend eating a lot of protein, but avoiding red meats. That obviously leaves you with chicken as the most convenient answer. Plus, chicken is much less expensive than many other types of meat, which makes it more all the more accessible.

While chicken is healthy, you shouldn’t eat it all the time, because it can have some unhealthy consequences.

Consequences Of Eating Too Much Chicken

too much chicken
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Unfortunately, there is such a thing as too much chicken.

Keep reading to find out some of the most serious reasons you shouldn’t eat chicken too often.

#1: Consuming Too Much Protein

too much protein
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

The Mayo Clinic explains, “Anywhere from 10 to 35 percent of your calories should come from protein.”

Unfortunately, most Americans get twice as much protein as they need — and that’s not a good thing. If you consume too much protein, your body stores what it can’t burn as fat, which can make you gain weight and elevate blood lipids.

#2: It Increases Your Risk Of Heart Disease

risk of heart disease
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Protein-rich foods — like meat, dairy, and eggs — are high in cholesterol and saturated fat.

Dietary cholesterol has been linked to cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of death in this country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thus, eating too much chicken can increase your dietary cholesterol, which can increase your risk of heart disease.

#3: It Makes It Harder To Maintain A Healthy Body Weight

healthy body weight
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Consuming too much animal protein can also make it more difficult to maintain a healthy body weight.

People who eat more vegetables — vegans and vegetarians — typically have higher metabolic rates than people who eat meat.

The Huffington Post reports that non-meat-eaters tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who do eat meat.

#4: It Carries A High Risk Of Food-Borne Illness

food-borne illness
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Meat causes a lot of food-borne illness, which puts you at a greater risk of getting food poisoning.

The FDA reports that there are about 48 million cases of food-borne illness in the U.S. every year.

When you cook poultry, it always needs to be cooked to 165°F — if it’s undercooked, it can make you sick. Additionally, raw poultry should always be handled separately from other foods to avoid contamination. You should also make sure to wash your hands well any time you touch raw poultry.

#5: It Might Make You More Resistant To Antibiotics

antibiotic resistance
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Public health journalist Maryn McKenna told NPR that when we give antibiotics to chicken, then consume that chicken, we can become resistant to those antibiotics.

Maryn explains:

When we give animals antibiotics, those antibiotics, for the most part, are given in their food and water. So they go into the animal’s guts. They make some of those bacteria [in the gut] resistant. … That bacteria contaminates [the animal’s] meat. We eat the meat. And then we develop the food-borne illnesses that … happen to be antibiotic-resistant.

#6: It Might Not Be As Healthy As You Think

unhealthy chicken
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Although chicken on its own is decently healthy, the way you cook it has a huge effect on the health factor.

If you cook your chicken in fat, like oil or butter, or cover it in heavy sauces, it won’t be nearly as heathy as it is when it is baked, grilled, or boiled.

Diversity Is Key

diversity is key
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

So, should you cut chicken out of your diet entirely? No, absolutely not!

The healthiest diets include all types of food. The World Health Organization explains that healthy diets should be diverse and balanced.

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