Choosing Chicken For Health? 7 Common Cuts Nutritional Benefits
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Did you know that protein deficiency is one of the main health concerns in India? According to the National Family Healthy Survey V (NFHS-5) released in 2022, 80% of the Indian population does not meet the daily protein requirements in their diet, which means that roughly nine out of 10 people aren’t aware of how much protein they need to eat on a daily basis. But if you are a non-vegetarian Indian, then eating chicken every day can help you meet these daily dietary requirements for the nutrient and help prevent protein deficiency. 

Now, the question you may ask is what kind of chicken has the best amounts of protein? And the answer to that is whether you eat broiler chicken, desi chicken or free-range chicken, the key to the amount of protein depends on the right cut rather than the way the chicken was bred and raised. Yes, you many wonder about antibiotics and growth hormones given to chicken but choosing the right cut of chicken matters just as much, if not more. 

You may also love the flavours of chicken wings, drumsticks and thighs a lot more than other parts, but if getting sufficient protein and other nutrients is your main goal—and it should be at least one of the goals if not the primary one—then knowing the exact nutritional value each cut can provide matters a whole lot. Here’s everything you need to know about the seven common cuts of chicken and their precise nutritional benefits. 

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Chicken breasts are considered to be sources of lean meat, which means that their protein levels are quite high. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that a typical skinless chicken breast is roughly three ounces in weight. If you eat a breast cut of roughly this size then you will get around 165 calories, 31 grams of protein, 3.6 grams of fat, one milligram of iron and 74 milligrams of sodium from it. 


Drumsticks refer to the lower part of the chicken leg, and this popular chicken cut is widely used to make everything from tandoori kebabs to biryanis and curries. Drumsticks are considered to be dark meat. The USDA says that a 3.5 ounce cooked drumstick with skin offers 216 calories, while without skin the same cut has 175 calories. Drumsticks usually have 27 grams of protein, 11.2 grams of fat, 90 milligrams of sodium and 1.3 milligrams of iron. The fat amount falls down to 5.7 grams if the skin is removed. 


Thighs refer to the upper part of the chicken leg and are also considered to be dark meat because they have a higher fat content. The USDA says that a 3.5 ounce cut of chicken thighs with skin on provides 229 calories and 15.5 grams of fat. If the skin is removed then chicken thighs provide 209 calories and 10 grams of fat. The protein amount of a thigh this size is 25 grams along with 84 milligrams of sodium and 1.3 milligrams of iron. 


One of the most popular cuts of chicken, wings offer the least amount of protein compared to other cuts. The USDA states that a 3.5 ounces serving of chicken wings with skin on provides 290 calories and 19.5 grams of fat. If the skin is removed from chicken wings, the same serving provides 203 calories and 8.1 grams of fat. Wings with skin on has 27 grams of protein, while removing the skin increases the protein levels to 30 grams. Chicken wings also contain 81 milligrams of sodium and 1.3 milligrams of iron. 


Not one of the most well-known chicken cuts, the back cut refers to the bony part of the chicken behind the breasts. Since this cut is often used in Indian chicken dishes and curry cuts, it is essential to understand how much nutritional value this cut adds. The USDA says that a 3.5 ounces serving of chicken back cut with skin removed provides 167 calories, 17 grams protein, 8.9 grams fat, 57 milligrams of sodium and 145.6 milligrams of potassium. 


Also referred to simply as chicken tenders, this cut is very popular as it is used to make plenty of deep-fried chicken snacks as well as burger patties. The USDA says that 3.5 ounces of chicken tenders can provide you with 98 calories, 19.6 grams of protein, 0.89 grams of fat, 304 milligrams of sodium and 1.1 milligrams of vitamin C. This suggests that chicken tenders have even less protein than chicken wings. 

Chicken With Skin On 

One of the most important things to note is that chicken skin adds a lot of calories and fats to the various cuts of chicken. Most chicken suppliers sell prime cuts of chicken like thighs, wings, drumsticks and even breasts with the skin on because having the skin adds more flavour to the cooked chicken. Traditionally, chicken cuts with skin on also offer opportunities to introduce delicious spice rubs, infused butters and other seasonings to roast or baked chicken dishes. However, studies show that if your goal behind eating chicken is to get nutrition, then removing the chicken skins is the best thing to do.