What's the Best Fried Chicken – Light or Dark? Turns Out, It's Both – Eat What You Like

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It’s summer, and all across America, grills are daily being fired up. Americans love some burgers and dogs on the grill, but that doesn’t negate our love for another great American staple — fried chicken. It’s so deeply ingrained into Americana as to be inseparable; I even went to Army basic training with a guy from the South who talked so endlessly about his mother’s fried chicken that we ended up calling him “Fried Chicken.” But there is always the brisk discussion when serving up the fried birds — light meat or dark?

Turns out (unsurprisingly) that there are good arguments to be made for both, nutrition and flavor.

Four ounces of boneless skinless chicken breast have about 120 calories, Michelle Rauch, a registered dietitian and nutritionist based in New Jersey, told Fox News Digital in an email.

Conversely, “a 4-ounce chicken thigh (skinless) contains approximately 150 calories,” she said. 

So if you’re counting calories and that’s your primary deciding factor, the chicken breast may be your better choice.

Skinless? Well, as a famous American chicken celebrity might say, hold on just one cotton-pickin’ minute here — the crispy, flavorful fried skin is the best part of fried chicken! But since both breasts (light meat) and thighs/drumsticks (dark meat) have skin, I think we can presume that it’s a wash, skin-on or skinless. And there are more important considerations than calories, too — like flavor.

Four ounces of skinless chicken breasts have less than a gram of fat, but a chicken thigh of the same size has nine grams of fat, including 2.5 grams of saturated fat.

Yet that is not the entire story, Dennis Littley, a fine dining chef in Wyoming and owner of AskChefDennis.com, told Fox News Digital. 

Although chicken thighs have more fat than breasts, “this extra fat brings a lot of advantages, especially when it comes to flavor,” he said. 

There are nutritional considerations, as well; turns out thighs have more of certain trace minerals than others, and ditto for breasts.

While chicken breasts are lower in calories and fat than chicken thighs, Rauch said chicken thighs have their advantages, too.

“A chicken thigh has almost twice the amount of iron and more than twice the amount of zinc of the same size chicken breast,” she said. 

The conclusion of all this appears to be “eat what you like.”

See Related: SHOCKER: Humans Can Learn to Speak ‘Chicken.’ Foghorn Leghorn Unavailable for Comment. 

Schadenfreude – Real Meat Turns Out to Be Healthier Than Fake

In our 32 years of marriage, my wife and I have made many happy discoveries as to just why we are so compatible, and one of those we learned early on was that she preferred white meat while I prefer dark meat, making the division of our fried chicken easy. When our kids became big enough to 1) eat fried chicken and b) express a preference, the four of them split along fairly even lines as well. And we’re all Americans, dammit, so eating whatever we please is built right into our DNA.

So, in between the outdoor grilled burgers and dogs, make sure to enjoy some fried chicken, if it suits your fancy, and fret not over whether light or dark meat is better for you. It’s a wash. Eat what you like, as Americans do, and enjoy it. I will. Now I have a craving for some hot chicken wings. 

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