By Vincent Orlando
Warning: Some chicken breasts may have less protein than you think! Here's how to pick a winning piece.
Chicken is arguably one of the most popular protein sources in America. In fact, each of us eats 90 pounds of the stuff every year, according to The National Chicken Council. That’s 125 percent more than we consumed back in 1970. To keep up with the increasing demand chickens have been genetically modified to grow larger and faster than ever before.
As a result, many birds are developing a muscles disorder that affects their breasts called "white striping." According to a University of Arkansas and Texas A&M study of 285 birds, the condition is found in a staggering 96 percent of chickens. That means you’ve likely seen affected meat before, which can be identified by the signature white striations. Not only does white stripping cause excess shrinkage during the cooking process (which means you get less bang for your buck), it can also alter the nutritional makeup of the meat.
Chicken breasts from a healthy animal are one of the best sources of protein around. One 3-ounce piece of cooked meat contains about half of the recommended daily intake for just 3 grams of fat. Unfortunately, chicken breasts affected by white striping can contain up to 224 percent more fat and contain far less protein, according to a Italian Journal of Animal Science study. Talk about double trouble for your waistline! The good news is, white striping doesn’t pose any health threats, and it's easily avoidable. Just keep an eye out for those signature white lines!
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