Check Out the Calories and Protein in Each Chicken Cut

In this article, we're going to show you the differences in protein and calories when it comes to the different chicken cuts in order to optimize your diet to the maximum.

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 17 June, 2022

Each chicken cut differs in terms of calories and protein content. Not all parts of the animal have the same percentage of lean and fat, which determines the energy value. Nevertheless, it is a quality food that should be included in the context of a balanced and varied diet, regardless of the part chosen. What matters, at the end of the day, is to optimize the cooking methods.

Before beginning, it is necessary to emphasize that the ingestion of meat is not related at all with a worse state of health, as some affirm. On the contrary. It provides proteins of high biological value necessary for the organism to function correctly, thus managing to avoid the catabolism of the muscular mass.

Calories and proteins of each chicken cut

Next, we are going to show you the different chicken cuts that you can buy in the supermarket or butcher’s shop, together with their nutritional value. Thus, you will know the differences and you will know what is more interesting depending on the circumstances and objectives.

Chicken breast

Each 100 grams of cooked chicken breast provide about 165 calories, a fairly small amount. As far as protein is concerned, this cut has 31 grams per 100 grams of food.

They are proteins of high biological value; that is to say, they have all the essential amino acids and a good score in terms of digestibility. They have proven to be decisive in promoting good recovery after intense exercise.

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Although chicken contains hardly any carbohydrates in its interior, the breast has approximately 3.6 grams of fat per 100 of product. The lipid profile will depend on the animal’s own diet. It is always preferable to opt for those that have been raised in the wild and have not been subjected to accelerated fattening processes.

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Chicken cut: Chicken thigh

The chicken thigh is a little fatter than the breast. It has 10.9 grams of fat per 100 grams, which raises the energy content to 209 calories. Proteins, on the other hand, are lower, providing 26 grams per 100 grams. Anyway, it is still a highly recommended food to include in almost any diet, especially in the case of athletes.

In addition, chicken thighs are cheaper than breasts, so they fit almost all pockets. It is one of the best alternatives to access the highest quality protein at a reduced price. Again, the animal’s diet will influence.

Organic chicken, for example, has a higher proportion of omega 3 in its interior. This nutrient is key to controlling inflammation in the internal environment, according to a study published in Biochemical Society Transactions.

Chicken cut with broccoli

Chicken wing

Chicken wings are products that are also recommended from the point of view of nutritional value, although the preparation usually fails. In terms of calories, 100 grams provide 203 calories. They have 30.5 grams of protein and 8.1 grams of fat. However, they are usually consumed with sauces.

Many of these preparations are industrial. In this case, the presence of simple sugars and trans fats is almost certain. These elements are capable of increasing inflammation levels in the body, thus impacting the risk of developing chronic and complex pathologies.

A research published in the BMJ confirms this. If the wings are accompanied with sauce, it is best that this is homemade, controlling the ingredients used for its preparation.

Like this article? You may also like to read: 10 Tips to Burn More Calories without Exercising

Careful with the chicken skin

It is important to take into account that the chicken skin also adds calories and fat. We have commented on the energy and nutritional value of the different cuts without taking the skin into account. In the case of a chicken breast with this element, for example, we could talk about an increase of 100 calories and 7 grams of fat.

If the objective is to improve the state of body composition, perhaps the best alternative is to avoid the skin of the food. The cooking method will also matter. Priority should be given to low-fat preparations such as grilling, baking and cooking with water. Frying is usually not a good idea. Not only are calories added, but trans fats and other toxic compounds are formed during the process. Batter is also a no-no.

Know the calorie and protein differences in each chicken cut

As you have seen, despite coming from the same animal, different cuts of chicken can have different nutritional profiles. It is important to take this into account when optimizing the diet, as sometimes it is important to maximize protein intake and limit calories to achieve changes in body composition. However, the rest of the diet must also be improved, it is not enough just to focus on this food.

Finally, remember that the way of life of the animal influences the nutritional contribution of the food derived from it. The organic versions are usually more expensive, but, in these cases, their price can justify a higher amount of fatty acids of the omega 3 series. Balancing the intake of these nutrients with that of omega 6 will be very advantageous in order to maintain a good state of health over time.

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  • McGlory, C., Devries, M. C., & Phillips, S. M. (2017). Skeletal muscle and resistance exercise training; the role of protein synthesis in recovery and remodeling. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)122(3), 541–548. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00613.2016
  • de Souza, R. J., Mente, A., Maroleanu, A., Cozma, A. I., Ha, V., Kishibe, T., Uleryk, E., Budylowski, P., Schünemann, H., Beyene, J., & Anand, S. S. (2015). Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ (Clinical research ed.)351, h3978. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3978
  • Calder P. C. (2017). Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. Biochemical Society transactions45(5), 1105–1115. https://doi.org/10.1042/BST20160474