White meat – from chicken, ducks, turkey and geese – has become the meat of choice for many people living in the West. The average person will eat at least 1,226 birds in a lifetime. Of all types of meat, chicken is especially popular. It accounts for one third of all meat consumed in the UK. Recent food scares including bird flu and Campylobacter have knocked sales a bit, but the birds’ ‘healthy’ image remains largely untarnished...
“I don't eat a lot of meat...”
In reality, even small amounts of white meat can be detrimental to health. Just one serving of meat per week could significantly increase your risk of diabetes. It's enough to raise your cholesterol levels, too. Those who eat white meat infrequently – less than once a week – may face a higher risk of bowel cancer than non meat-eaters.
Cancer-promoting compounds are produced every time that meat is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill off food poisoning bacteria. Even low doses of these compounds have been shown to mutate human DNA, which could lead to cancer.
Eating just small amounts of meat also has a huge impact on the environment. It is a shocking fact that people who eat meat produce 988 kilograms (roughly one tonne) more global warming gases each year! Just by skipping one meal of chicken per week and substituting vegetarian foods, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads.
White Meat Myths:
White meat is perceived to be...
something to be eaten in quantity by top athletes
essential for building muscle
essential for children’s growth
Not so. Modern farming’s focus on high-energy feed, little exercise and breeding for rapid weight gain means that even organic meat is not even close to being low-fat – even after removing the skin and scraping away the subcutaneous fat. A medium-sized chicken contains almost a pint of fat! And contrary to popular opinion, animal protein is not essential for building muscle or for children’s growth.
As for being a 'superfood', white meat contains no fibre, complex carbohydrates, nor vitamin C. When it takes the place of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses in the diet, the result is less vitamins, fibre, and unwanted dietary fat and cholesterol.