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Difference Between White and Dark Meat

White vs Dark Meat

Many try to question the difference between white and dark meat. The reason for such is most likely on the health impact of eating either product. Traditionally, many prefer eating white meat because it is generally perceived as the healthier meat choice. But what really makes the difference between the two? Is white meat really the healthiest choice?

Dark meat contains more myoglobin. This is a normal biologic pigment located inside muscle cells which provides oxygen to the muscles during physical exertion like exercise. Birds like turkeys and chickens have more of these myoglobins in the leg area because of their inherent nature of more walking than flying. Thus, both birds have legs that appear as dark meat. Other meats (of the same bird) tend to be whiter like the ones at the breast area.

From a nutritional point of view, dark meat is a lot healthier than what most people think. Dark meat surprisingly has a lot more B vitamins and other minerals such as zinc and iron. It also boasts of having more selenium, an antioxidant that helps prevent diseases and even fight certain cancers. On a per ounce basis, dark meat really has more nutrients compared to white meat.

Now, white meat has become very popular because of its calorie value. The calorie difference between dark and white meat makes the latter a better option to someone who is seriously monitoring his or her daily food intake. However if you come to think of it, the difference in calorie isn’t that much. When you eat three ounces of dark meat with the skin still intact you’ll be getting about 160 calories. Conversely, if you eat the same amount of white meat (still with skin) then you’ll just get 30 calories less. This small difference is not at all that significant.

With regard to fat content, if you eat dark meat from turkey you will consume 300% more fat than when you take in white meat from the same bird. But the good news is 2/3 of this fat isn’t at all bad. This comprises the heart-healthy unsaturated fat content that helps you feel full and satisfied in your meals. Because of eating such, you will have fewer tendencies of eating unnecessary snacks later on.

So what’s the big picture? This means that you should not disregard the dark meat you’ll find in your poultry products. You’ll greatly benefit from eating both white and dark meat ‘“ just have an appropriate balanced intake of each.

1. White meat has less calories and overall fat compared to dark meat.

2. Dark meat has more myoglobins, B vitamins and other minerals like Zinc, Iron and Selenium compared to white meat.


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