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Is chicken good for cholesterol? Decipher the facts

Written by hana

Chicken is one of the most commonly eaten proteins. According to a survey, 9 out of 10 people reported eating chicken at least six times in two weeks.

It also shows that the consumption of chicken is steadily increasing more than any other type of meat, which begs the question: Is chicken healthy? When you choose the right piece of chicken, it can be a low-fat, low-calorie addition to any diet or meal.

Carefully selected and cooked chicken provides a good dose of protein without an unhealthy amount of cholesterol. Moreover, chicken is an inexpensive, nutritious, and non-fat animal protein that aids in weight control.

Does eating chicken affect cholesterol levels?

It is important to remember that eating patterns and whole components of diets are of greater importance than individual nutrients. Therefore, the effect of chicken on blood cholesterol depends on whether you follow a high-fat diet or a well-balanced diet.

For example, the positives of eating lean meats like chicken can be negated if your diet contains too much saturated fat from another source.

Since it’s easier to get higher amounts of saturated fat from red meat, switching to chicken can help manage your cholesterol. A study shows that adding defatted chicken alongside fish can reduce ‘harm’. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol.

In addition, a lean meat diet with a good balance of whole grains, dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates can lower LDL cholesterol by 5-9%.

Chicken can be a great cholesterol-friendly food if you serve it right. Chicken contains less saturated fat and cholesterol than pork, beef and lamb.

For example, you only get about 90-100 mg of cholesterol from eating a small, skinless, roast chicken. It is an appropriate amount to consume because doctors do not recommend more than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day. And if you are physically active, chicken is a good source of energy to fuel your body.

If you tend to be more health conscious, buy organic chicken because some research shows that organic chicken is lower in fat and cholesterol. Plus, poultry raised organically is leaner, so it’s easier to stick to a healthy portion.

On the other hand, you can skip organ meats like chicken livers because they are high in cholesterol. For example, 28 grams of cooked chicken liver contains 160 mg of cholesterol, more than 50% of the daily limit.

Healthiest piece of chicken for cholesterol

It turns out that chicken or other white meat isn’t necessarily healthier or higher quality when you choose the wrong cut. When choosing chicken nuggets for a cholesterol-friendly diet, there are several options to choose from. But not all cuts are made the same in terms of nutrition, cost, or flavor.

When you’re trying to control or prevent high cholesterol, these are the best options:

Chicken breast

Chicken breast is relatively low in calories, but it is the lowest in fat and highest in protein. It does not contain carbohydrates and can help control weight and gain muscle. On average, a small chicken breast provides 55% of the recommended protein in a 2,000-calorie diet.

According to the USDA, an average 100-gram serving of boneless, raw, skinless chicken breast contains the following:

  • Calories: 120
  • Protein: 22.5 grams
  • Cholesterol: 73 mg
  • Fat: 2.62 grams

The exact nutritional profile and calorie count can fluctuate depending on the size, cooking method, and whether the bird was pasture-raised, free-range, cage-free, or in a cage. However, the breast cuts contain the least amount of cholesterol.

Chicken thighs

The main factor that differentiates chicken thighs from chicken breast is the slightly higher calorie and fat content. However, these juicier cuts provide about 50% more iron and zinc than chicken breast.

Research indicates that zinc is an essential micronutrient that is effective in lowering levels of LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

Zinc deficiency affects about a third of the world’s population, and it is essential to eat dietary sources of zinc, such as chicken.

According to the USDA, an average 100-gram serving of raw chicken thigh contains approximately:

  • Calories: 121
  • Protein: 19.7 grams
  • Cholesterol: 94 mg
  • Fat: 4.12 grams

A medium-sized chicken thigh (the skin is eaten) contains about 60 mg of cholesterol. Removing the skin can help lower its cholesterol. For example, the same medium-sized chicken thigh without skin only contains about 49-51 mg of cholesterol.

chicken wings

Chicken wings are healthy if they are not fried. Grilled chicken wings can be a cholesterol-friendly snack. By removing the skin and baking, you significantly reduce the cholesterol and fat content of your chicken wings.

Taking its nutritional value into consideration, 100 grams of chicken wings contains 30.5 grams of protein, 203 calories, and 8.1 grams of fat.

chicken thighs

Boneless chicken tenders are nutritionally equal to chicken breast and are suitable for preparing protein, vitamin and nutritious fitness meals. However, it is likely to be fattier when fried.

The cholesterol in chicken tender varies depending on the type of bread crumbs used for the crust, the fat content of the chicken breast, and the cooking method used.

You can make chicken nuggets with a mixture of wholegrain breadcrumbs, nuts and sesame seeds to enhance their nutrition and impact on HDL cholesterol.

chicken tenders contain 2.5 to 2.9 grams of saturated fat; You should eat them in moderation. Excessive consumption of saturated fats can lead to an increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, eating a moderate amount of chicken nuggets as part of a balanced diet will not affect cholesterol levels significantly.

Each 100 grams of chicken tenders contains:

  • 17.3 to 20.3 grams of carbohydrates
  • 18.1 to 19.2 grams of protein
  • 14 to 16.6 grams of fat
  • 0.7 to 1.2 grams of dietary fiber (depending on the crust)

HealthifyMe note

Personal preferences matter most when choosing chicken breasts, thighs, drumsticks, and wings. But suppose you’re looking to cut calories, fat, and cholesterol. In this case, boneless, skinless chicken breast is a lean, nutritious cut that packs an impressive amount of protein. However, cooking chicken the wrong way, no matter which cut you choose, may cause more harm than good.

Effect of cooking on cholesterol in chicken

How chicken is prepared greatly affects how healthy it is and how much cholesterol it provides. For example, fried and breaded chicken has higher cholesterol than broiled or grilled chicken.

One study also states that the cooking and reheating method is not recommended for chicken thigh meat because it forms cholesterol oxidation products.

Here, the level of cholesterol in chicken (a 100-gram serving) varies according to the method of preparation:

  • Grilled chicken, meat only: 75 mg
  • Grilled chicken, meat and skin: 76 mg
  • Fried chicken, meat only: 89-94 mg
  • Fried chicken, meat and skin, in flour: 90 mg
  • Grilled chicken, without skin: 104 mg

The ingredients you add also change the cholesterol level in the chicken. For example, every tablespoon of butter you add to chicken adds 31 mg of cholesterol. But baking chicken and roasting it with herbs, spices and seasonings will not add more cholesterol to your meal.

The professional way to lower blood cholesterol

HealthifyMe is a fast, effective and simple way to track and monitor your health and vital signs, including cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The newest flagship product, HealthifyPRO 2.0, is designed for people who want to reduce or track their calorie intake or anyone interested in health and nutrition.

With just a few taps, the app provides a detailed macronutrient summary, charts your weight, and unlocks your metabolism dashboard covering 85+ health parameters.

HealthifyPro is the elite choice for improving overall health with personalized nutrition and fitness strategies and smart alerts. It seamlessly syncs your health data to your favorite Android or iOS device.

Once you’ve determined a plan and chosen a health coach, set a goal for your cholesterol and work with your registered dietitian to achieve results. The continuous glucose monitoring that comes with the Pro plan alerts you when glucose levels go too high or too low after you eat a food item. At the same time, it notifies your health coach, who gives tips and advice on getting your levels back to normal.

Here are some pro tips to lower cholesterol:

  • Read nutrition labels to understand what good nutrients you’re eating and avoid trans fats.
  • Choose meats that are lower in saturated fats, such as chicken or oily fish.
  • Eat more soluble fiber, such as whole grain bread, beans, oats, quinoa, and more.
  • Increase your intake of unsaturated fats by snacking on fruits, vegetables, and nuts, which are the best kind of fat.
  • Choose healthy ways to prepare your food, such as removing the fat and removing the skin, boiling, grilling, baking, poaching, or broiling to naturally lower cholesterol.
  • Use heart-healthy oils instead of butter and margarine.
  • Regular exercise and adequate sleep provide overall health-improving benefits.


Chicken is naturally lower in cholesterol and less fat than most meats. Chicken breast has the least cholesterol, followed by the thighs, wings and legs. However, its cholesterol-raising effects depend on the part of the chicken you use and the method of preparation.

Chicken tends to contain less cholesterol, but finding ways to consume it healthily can be a challenge for many people. The easiest way to receive real-time nutritional guidance from nutrition experts is to download the HealthifyMe app.

HealthifyPRO 2.0 coaches will help you provide detailed nutritional advice that goes beyond calorie tracking. You can tailor your chicken recipes and other meals according to your cholesterol, blood glucose levels, and other health parameters with the help of qualified nutritionists. Then, through a one-on-one consultation with a health coach, determine if you are taking the right steps to lower your cholesterol levels.

Download the Healthifyme app

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