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This Is What Happens to Your Body if You Eat Chicken Every Day

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Chicken is one of the most popular sources of protein, not just in the U.S., but around the world. Due to its versatility, you could have a different chicken dish every day for months without repeating a meal. (Here are two months worth of ideas just using lemon chicken alone.) Chicken is, without a doubt, an easy protein to incorporate into virtually any meal, but is it healthy to eat it every single day?

If chicken is your primary source of protein, it’s a question worth asking. After all, it’s the foods we eat the most often that impact our health the most. Here, registered dietitians give their thoughts on how nutritious chicken actually is and give the verdict on whether it’s healthy to eat it every single day.

Related: Looking to Add More Protein To Your Diet? Skip the Burger and Consider These High-Protein Foods Instead

Is Chicken Actually Healthy?

When it comes to how healthy your chicken dinner is, it depends on how the chicken is cooked. “The healthiest method for preparing chicken is poaching, as it involves introducing no additional ingredients to the chicken aside from the boiling water,” says Elysia Cartlidge, RDN, a registered dietitian food blogger for Haute & Healthy Living.

She explains that similar to the process of poaching an egg, poaching chicken simply requires the chicken itself and some hot water. “Typically, poaching chicken involves bringing water to a boil in a saucepan, then reducing the heat to low and gently placing the chicken into the pan, allowing it to simmer until fully cooked,” she says. 

Stacy Roberts-Davis, RDN, a registered dietitian and president of Flavorful Nutrition LLC, says that baking, sous vide and grilling are all other healthy ways to prepare chicken because they use less added fats than frying it in a pan with oil or butter.

As long as chicken is cooked in one of these healthy ways, both dietitians say that chicken can absolutely be part of a healthy diet. “In general, chicken can be a great low-fat source of protein and an overall nutritious choice to incorporate multiple times per week,” Cartlidge says. But she emphasizes that chicken that is breaded, deep fried or paired with sauces high in sodium or sugar turn this healthy food into a not-so-healthy one.

Related: 40 Fun Chicken Breast Recipes to Make Dinner a Lot Less Boring

What Happens if You Eat Chicken Every Day?

Even if you commit to only consuming chicken cooked in a healthy way and not pairing it with any sauces high in sodium or sugar, both dietitians recommend only having it a few times a week. This, they say, is because other protein sources have nutrients that chicken doesn’t have so if chicken is your only protein source, you could miss out on these important nutrients.

For example, Roberts-Davis explains that someone who eats chicken every day as their main protein source likely won’t get enough omega-3s in their diet, a nutrient found in protein sources including fish, eggs, and some nuts such as walnuts. Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is important because they provide the body with energy and support both heart health and brain health.

Related: Looking to Get More Protein In Your Diet? These 10 Foods Pack More Protein Than an Egg

Roberts-Davis says that chicken also isn’t a good source of iron, unlike beef, lentils and tofu. That means that someone who relies on chicken for protein may be missing out on this nutrient, which could result in having low energy and, in severe cases, anemia. Cartlidge says that other nutrients someone who eats chicken every day may miss out on include fiber (found in plant-based protein sources) and vitamin D (found in fish, eggs and dairy).

If someone isn’t used to eating many protein-rich foods at all and starts incorporating chicken into their daily meals, there are some positive changes they can expect to experience, though. First, both Cartlidge and Roberts-Davis say that thanks to the high protein content of chicken, they’ll have more energy and won’t be as hungry throughout the day.

Cartlidge says that someone who isn’t used to eating protein-rich foods and starts eating chicken may also experience a positive shift in their mood. “Chicken contains the amino acid tryptophan, which has been associated with increased serotonin levels in the brain, often referred to as the ‘feel good’ hormone,” she explains.

Long-term, both dietitians say that eating chicken every day could affect heart health for better or for worse—it depends on how you’re preparing it and the type you’re eating. If you’re eating skinless chicken breast every day, Cartlidge says that it could positively affect heart health, especially if it’s eaten instead of red meat or processed protein sources high in sodium. “Evidence from a 2021 review published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition suggests that a higher consumption of poultry does not have an adverse impact on the risk of cardiovascular disease,” she says.

If you eat chicken with the skin on that is breaded or fried every day, Cartlidge says that this will negatively impact heart health, raising LDL cholesterol due to the high amount of saturated fat. “This could increase an individual’s risk for cardiovascular disease,” she says.

Chicken is a healthy food (as long as it’s poached, baked or grilled), but that doesn’t mean you should eat it every single day. As both dietitians have explained, eating a wide variety of foods is the best way to give your body the nutrients it needs. It will make your meals a lot more exciting too! 

Next up, find out if it’s possible to eat too much protein.

Sources



Chicken is one of the most popular sources of protein, not just in the U.S., but around the world. Due to its versatility, you could have a different chicken dish every day for months without repeating a meal. (Here are two months worth of ideas just using lemon chicken alone.) Chicken is, without a doubt, an easy protein to incorporate into virtually any meal, but is it healthy to eat it every single day?

If chicken is your primary source of protein, it’s a question worth asking. After all, it’s the foods we eat the most often that impact our health the most. Here, registered dietitians give their thoughts on how nutritious chicken actually is and give the verdict on whether it’s healthy to eat it every single day.

Related: Looking to Add More Protein To Your Diet? Skip the Burger and Consider These High-Protein Foods Instead

Is Chicken Actually Healthy?

When it comes to how healthy your chicken dinner is, it depends on how the chicken is cooked. “The healthiest method for preparing chicken is poaching, as it involves introducing no additional ingredients to the chicken aside from the boiling water,” says Elysia Cartlidge, RDN, a registered dietitian food blogger for Haute & Healthy Living.

She explains that similar to the process of poaching an egg, poaching chicken simply requires the chicken itself and some hot water. “Typically, poaching chicken involves bringing water to a boil in a saucepan, then reducing the heat to low and gently placing the chicken into the pan, allowing it to simmer until fully cooked,” she says. 

Stacy Roberts-Davis, RDN, a registered dietitian and president of Flavorful Nutrition LLC, says that baking, sous vide and grilling are all other healthy ways to prepare chicken because they use less added fats than frying it in a pan with oil or butter.

As long as chicken is cooked in one of these healthy ways, both dietitians say that chicken can absolutely be part of a healthy diet. “In general, chicken can be a great low-fat source of protein and an overall nutritious choice to incorporate multiple times per week,” Cartlidge says. But she emphasizes that chicken that is breaded, deep fried or paired with sauces high in sodium or sugar turn this healthy food into a not-so-healthy one.

Related: 40 Fun Chicken Breast Recipes to Make Dinner a Lot Less Boring

What Happens if You Eat Chicken Every Day?

Even if you commit to only consuming chicken cooked in a healthy way and not pairing it with any sauces high in sodium or sugar, both dietitians recommend only having it a few times a week. This, they say, is because other protein sources have nutrients that chicken doesn’t have so if chicken is your only protein source, you could miss out on these important nutrients.

For example, Roberts-Davis explains that someone who eats chicken every day as their main protein source likely won’t get enough omega-3s in their diet, a nutrient found in protein sources including fish, eggs, and some nuts such as walnuts. Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is important because they provide the body with energy and support both heart health and brain health.

Related: Looking to Get More Protein In Your Diet? These 10 Foods Pack More Protein Than an Egg

Roberts-Davis says that chicken also isn’t a good source of iron, unlike beef, lentils and tofu. That means that someone who relies on chicken for protein may be missing out on this nutrient, which could result in having low energy and, in severe cases, anemia. Cartlidge says that other nutrients someone who eats chicken every day may miss out on include fiber (found in plant-based protein sources) and vitamin D (found in fish, eggs and dairy).

If someone isn’t used to eating many protein-rich foods at all and starts incorporating chicken into their daily meals, there are some positive changes they can expect to experience, though. First, both Cartlidge and Roberts-Davis say that thanks to the high protein content of chicken, they’ll have more energy and won’t be as hungry throughout the day.

Cartlidge says that someone who isn’t used to eating protein-rich foods and starts eating chicken may also experience a positive shift in their mood. “Chicken contains the amino acid tryptophan, which has been associated with increased serotonin levels in the brain, often referred to as the ‘feel good’ hormone,” she explains.

Long-term, both dietitians say that eating chicken every day could affect heart health for better or for worse—it depends on how you’re preparing it and the type you’re eating. If you’re eating skinless chicken breast every day, Cartlidge says that it could positively affect heart health, especially if it’s eaten instead of red meat or processed protein sources high in sodium. “Evidence from a 2021 review published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition suggests that a higher consumption of poultry does not have an adverse impact on the risk of cardiovascular disease,” she says.

If you eat chicken with the skin on that is breaded or fried every day, Cartlidge says that this will negatively impact heart health, raising LDL cholesterol due to the high amount of saturated fat. “This could increase an individual’s risk for cardiovascular disease,” she says.

Chicken is a healthy food (as long as it’s poached, baked or grilled), but that doesn’t mean you should eat it every single day. As both dietitians have explained, eating a wide variety of foods is the best way to give your body the nutrients it needs. It will make your meals a lot more exciting too! 

Next up, find out if it’s possible to eat too much protein.

Sources

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