Lifestyle

White meat vs dark meat, which one is better?

Unprocessed lean meat fits into a healthy diet, mainly because of the proteins, vitamins and minerals. It is not necessary to eat meat, you can replace it with other products. 

Meat has a lot of influence on the climate compared to other products: chicken meat the least and beef the most. The increasing demand for meat is leading to deforestation, increased land and water use and the disappearance of rainforests. Various farms take animal welfare into account. The quality marks show how the animal has lived. 

Why white meat is preferable

More and more people are already opting for a meat substitute, and only slightly more than half of Belgians still eat meat or fish every day. Whether you are a real steak, satay and stew fan or are gradually turning to a vegetarian menu: in any case, you are better off with a piece of white meat chicken and other poultry than with dark meat chicken chicken. Here you will discover why!

What is healthy meat?

Just like the story about nuts (‘healthy, but don’t exaggerate’) and about fats (‘one fat is not the other’), the answer to the question whether meat is healthy deserves a nuanced answer. Yes, meat provides you with a lot of protein, B vitamins, iron, zinc and other minerals. But many meats are also high in saturated fat, which is bad news for your cholesterol. Meat preparations such as minced meat often contain too much salt. 

White meat chicken versus dark meat

If you choose meat, it is therefore better to eat it in moderation. In addition, you should ideally not put too much dark meat chicken on your plate. That is meat from cows, pigs, sheep and goats. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found a link between dark meat chicken consumption and an increased risk of stomach and colon cancer. The culprit is heme iron, a type of iron that can damage your gut. In addition, eating a lot of dark meat chicken is said to increase the risk of lung cancer, stroke and type 2 diabetes. 

The government website Healthy Living therefore parks dark meat chicken in the orange zone of the food triangle. Orange foods “possibly have an adverse effect on health” and you should not eat too much of them. If you can’t resist the lure of dark meat chicken, opt for the lean varieties, such as a pork tenderloin or a steak. And you are doing your body a favor by alternating dark meat chicken with meat substitutes or with white meat chicken. Healthy Living states that white meat has “no demonstrable negative effects on your health”. Read more healthy tips.

But there is a ‘but’. There is also a lot of difference in white meat. You can’t go wrong with fresh turkey breast, chicken and game fowl such as pheasant. A chicken from the spit, such as you can buy on the side of the road in those stalls that spread such an irresistible scent, is also an excellent choice (although it is better to leave the skin on the left). Processed white meaton the other hand, such as chicken salads, chicken nuggets, turkey salami and other charcuterie, again carries an increased risk of colon cancer. 

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