Chicken and turkey are both poultry products and rich sources of protein. They are also the most consumed lean meat the world over. Breast meat is loved by fitness enthusiasts because of the high-protein and low-calorie content. There are no major differences between the two, and it will all depend on your diet goals although turkey has a slightly different and distinct flavor than the chicken. Without further ado, here are the facts that might help you decide the better meat between turkey breast and chicken breast.
Protein Content and Amino Acids
Skinless chicken breast contains 31 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100 grams) serving while turkey breast contains 30 grams of protein of the same serving. The Institute of Medicine notes that men require about 56 grams of protein daily, women 46 grams of protein daily, and pregnant women at least 70 grams of protein every day.
Both chicken and turkey are good sources of protein although chicken breast is a winner here. When it comes to amino acids, both types of lean meat contain all the essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and they come in different forms. Of importance are BCAAs, the branched chain amino acids, namely isoleucine, leucine, and valine. When compared turkey seems to take the lead. Here’s the breakdown:
- Turkey breast – 1,420 mg of isoleucine, 2,176 mg of leucine, and 1,451 mg of valine.
- Chicken breast – 1,230 mg of isoleucine, 2,073 mg of leucine, and 1,297 mg of valine
Calorie intake is a big factor whether you are a bodybuilder or you want to lose weight. It’s, therefore, important to pay attention to the calories content of the food you eat. A 3.5-ounce (100 grams) of grilled chicken breast contains 165 calories while the same portion of turkey breast contains 147 calories. As you can see the difference is minimal. Nutritionists and dieticians suggest that you roast or grill your chicken or turkey without the skin instead of frying so that you can keep the calorie content as low as possible.
Carbohydrates and Fats
Both types of meat have zero carbohydrates since they are mostly protein foods. However, there is a minimum difference in fat content, where a 3.5 ounce of turkey breast has 2 grams of fat while chicken breast has 4 grams of fat. This difference may seem insignificant but in the long, it can affect your health. Other macro-nutrients like sugar and fiber are not contained in either meat type.
The cholesterol level registers a small difference with turkey breast taking the trophy at 80 mg of cholesterol per 3.5-ounce serving. Chicken breast, on the other hand, is slightly higher at 85 mg of cholesterol per the same portion.
Taste, Texture, Flavor, and Cost
Turkey breast also seems to be winning on this one. It has a distinct flavor compared to chicken breast, which tastes slightly blander. The texture of turkey is firmer than that of chicken, although if done right, turkey meat can just be as soft as chicken meat. The cost varies from one store to another and how the turkey or chicken was bred. And it’s always advisable to go organic when buying chicken breast or turkey breast.
Vitamins and Minerals
When you pit chicken breast against turkey breast based on minerals and vitamins, it becomes quite tricky since they both supply important nutrients, although not in equal numbers. Take turkey breast for example. It’s an excellent source of vitamin B6, iron, phosphorous, zinc, niacin, riboflavin, and selenium. Chicken breast, on the other hand, is also an excellent supplier of phosphorous, vitamin B6, niacin and selenium. While turkey breast has slightly higher levels of magnesium and phosphorous, chicken breast supplies more potassium and iron. However, these variations are minimal and you’d have to take really large amounts to make a difference.
The Bottom Line
From the facts above, it’s clear that both turkey breast and chicken breast contain high levels of high-quality protein, although chicken contains a slightly higher amount. When it comes to choosing which is best, it all boils down to your nutrition and fitness goals. If it’s bodybuilding, you’d want to go with chicken because of the high protein content. The same also goes for weight loss. While turkey has lower fat content, which means it’s leaner, more protein is always advisable. But then again turkey breast has low calories and cholesterol, which both contribute to weight loss. In essence, both types of meat form part of healthy eating since they are highly nutritious and contain essential amino acids and other micro-and macro-nutrients. Hence, it’s safe to say that you can eat them interchangeably and it will all depend on availability, preferences, and taste.
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