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Food Picks: White vs. Dark Chicken Meat

By Steven Stiefel

Chicken Breast (8 oz.)

231 calories
43 g protein
5 g fat
0 g carbs
1.5 g saturated fats


A very low-calorie source of protein


Can be a little dry, a little boring

Dark Chicken Meat (8 oz.) (leg and thigh)

287 calories
38 g protein
14 g fats
0 g carbs
3.7 g saturated fats


Some find the moist texture more palatable than breast meat.


About 45% of the calories come from dietary fats.

Food Picks: White vs. Dark Chicken Meat

Chicken breast is likely the #1 food in most bodybuilders’ nutrition plan, but is it the best food option? How does it compare to “fatty” dark meat, which many bodybuilders shun? MMI compared 8 ounces of roasted, skinless versions of white and dark chicken meat. Here are some of the facts we considered before reaching our conclusion:

• White and dark meat contain nearly equal ratios of saturated to healthy fat. Both have good ratios, deriving about 70 percent from healthy fats.

• Dark meat has more than double the fats (both healthy and saturated) of breast meat. However, saturated fats provide raw materials to help increase crucial hormones such as testosterone.

• Dark meat derives about 50% of its calories from protein; white meat derives about 75%.

When you want more protein on a restricted-calorie diet, breast meat is the clear winner; when you want more calories from a food that’s more than 50% protein (and almost 50% fats), opt for dark meat. When you want to strike a balance, mix breast and dark meat.


Chicken breast (by a beak … er, nose)