Almost every generation believes a different myth about their health. We used to believe that smoking wasn’t unhealthy. We used to believe that margarine is better than butter. We used to think “zero calorie” beverages could help you lose weight.
Whether the public is influenced by clever marketing campaigns, or science just hasn’t caught up yet — there have been so many misconceptions that shaped people’s habits and choices for years. Including today… and including you!
So let’s dispel a common contemporary health myth: “Eating chicken skin is unhealthy.”
Fact or Fiction: Is Chicken Skin Too Fatty?
At the root of this popular misconception is that chicken skin is fatty and therefore should be removed to help reduce your dietary fat intake. But it’s important to look closer at the real facts and pick apart why chicken skin isn’t actually unhealthy at all.
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The truth is, your body needs fat to be healthy. However, it’s important to remember that there are different types of fat. For years, the public pointed fingers at saturated fat, blaming it for cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and obesity. But recent advances prove that this isn’t actually the case.
A scientific review was published in 2010, pooling over 20 different research studies on the link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. The conclusion? There is no evidence that such a link actually exists (1). On the flip side, trans fats have been proven to cause higher risk of heart disease, heart attack and diabetes (2). Not to mention, your body needs both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (3, 4).
The bottom line? You don’t need to be afraid of fat- furthermore, you really do need healthy fats in your diet for proper cell function and to protect your heart from cardiovascular disease. Chicken skin doesn’t contain any trans fats (5). Belive it or not, chicken skin it contains saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats, all of which are good (6)!
Fact or Fiction: Does Removing Chicken Skin Cut Calories?
First of all, while calorie counting might help some people to maintain a general idea of how much food they’re really eating every day, we truly believe that calorie-based diets are not a healthy or long-term way to manage weight. To really understand what your body needs, you need to think about vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients like protein, not just “how many minutes of cardio do I need to do to earn this brownie?”.
Counting calories can often make you miss the big picture. Technically, you could drink a diet soda every day because it contains “zero calories”, but its nutritional value (and safety!) go well beyond its sugar content.
Cooking Chicken With the Skin
If you’ve already gotten into the habit of buying skinned chicken meat or removing it yourself before cooking, there’s one great reason to change: flavor!
It is much easier for herbs and spices to stick to your meat when cooking with the skin on, plus that gives you so many opportunities to add several specific nutritional and health benefits to your meal.
For example, this list barely scratches the surface:
- Turmeric is anti-inflammatory (combine with black pepper for easy absorption)
- Basil is an anti-inflammatory and helps prevent diabetes (9)
- Cayenne pepper aids digestion (10)
- Garlic boosts your immune system (11)
- Ginger helps prevent cancer cell growth (12)
- Parsley is a good source of iron (13)
- Rosemary contains antioxidants (14)
- Thyme is a good source of vitamin C (15)
Since chicken skin contains only good fats, won’t be a caloric burden, and provides a vehicle for innumerable extra nutritional add-ons (and deliciousness), why not dare to enjoy it today? Find a great collection of healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at The Hearty Soul.
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