Chicken is an excellent choice for people with diabetes due to its lean protein content. This protein helps control blood sugar levels when paired with low-glycemic index carbohydrates.
Additionally, chicken is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, making it a heart-healthy option. To make the most of its health benefits, cook chicken by baking, grilling, or roasting with healthy oils rather than breading and frying.
For people with diabetes, it is crucial to select skinless chicken and to be mindful about the portion sizes as overeating can cause blood sugar levels to rise. However, when consumed in recommended quantities, chicken can be both nutritious and delicious and part of a balanced diet.
Nutritional Profile of Chicken
Chicken is available in different cuts. The drumstick, wing, thigh and breast are the popular cuts.
People with diabetes or those trying to lose weight can use whole chicken to prepare the stock or broth for soups. However, the nutritional value varies as per the cut you select.
According to USDA, 100 grams of ground, raw chicken contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 143 calories
- Protein: 17.4 g
- Fat: 8.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 0.04 g
- Magnesium: 21 mg
- Potassium: 522 mg
- Sodium: 60 mg
- Selenium: 10.2 mcg
- Niacin: 5.58 mg
- Zinc: 1.47 mg
- Cholesterol: 86 mg
Chicken delivers vital minerals such as potassium, selenium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. In addition, chicken provides a handful of vitamin Bs, notably niacin and B6.
When planning a diabetes meal plan, it is essential to note that canned chicken with or without broth often contains more calories and sodium. While the fat content remains, almost the same, canned varieties might have more fortified protein.
According to USDA, 100 grams of canned chicken with no broth contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 185 calories
- Protein: 25.3 g
- Fat: 8.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 0.9 g
- Magnesium: 19 mg
- Potassium: 153 mg
- Sodium: 482 mg
- Selenium: 18.4 mcg
- Niacin: 2.4 mg
- Zinc: 2.5 mg
- Cholesterol: 50 mg
Is Chicken Good for Diabetics Patients?
Chicken is safe and healthy to eat for people who have diabetes. According to a study, there was no link between poultry consumption and diabetes risk.
On the other hand, red meat and fish intake were positively associated with diabetes risk. However, the manner of preparation and portion size plays a crucial role when adding chicken to a diabetes diet.
Unlike red meat, the fat content in chicken is exceptionally low. Hence, chicken is an excellent alternative for type 2 diabetic individuals accustomed to a meat diet. Furthermore, chicken soup and broth are minimal-GI meals.
While baked or grilled chicken is a good choice for a diabetes-friendly diet, fried chicken is an exception. Chicken coated in flour or bread contain simple carbohydrates.
Adding breadcrumbs and deep frying add a lot of carbs, harmful trans and saturated fats, and calories. It can contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance, exacerbating type 2 diabetes. As a result, it is better to avoid such meals.
How to Include Chicken as a Part of Your Diabetes Meal Plan?
Opt for skinless, boneless cuts when choosing chicken for a diabetes-friendly meal. These are lower in fat than their skin-on, bone-in counterparts and will help you keep your fat intake in check.
To reduce the carbohydrate content even more, select chicken breasts over other cuts, such as thighs and drumsticks.
When cooking chicken for diabetes, grilling, broiling, and baking are the healthiest methods. These techniques will help keep the fat content of the meal low.
Eating chicken can be a great way to get the lean protein you need while keeping your blood sugar levels in check. Just be mindful of your preparation method and the side dishes you choose to accompany the meal. Then, with a few simple tips, you can enjoy chicken as part of a healthy and diabetes-friendly diet.
It is important to remember that all foods, including chicken, should be eaten in moderation. People with diabetes should speak to a nutritionist before making any changes to their diet. A HealthifyMe nutritionist can help you include chicken in your diet in a healthy way.
Health Benefits of Eating Chicken for People With Diabetes
The benefits of eating chicken are:
Rich in Nutrients
Chicken is an excellent source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, selenium, and B vitamins like niacin, B12, and B6. It is also a decent source of iron, magnesium, and zinc.
High in Protein
Chicken is an excellent lean protein, providing about 25 grams per 3-ounce serving. It is also a potent source of amino acids, such as Lysine and Arginine.
Another benefit of taking protein and amino acid-rich foods like chicken is that it helps to limit free radical damage in diabetic patients.
Low in Calories and Fat
Chicken is a lean protein, so it is relatively low in calories and fat. For example, a 3-ounce serving of skinless cooked chicken breast provides about 140 calories and 3 grams of fat.
Keeps You Feeling Full
Eating protein-rich chicken will help you avoid snacking in between meals. As a result, you will not reach for high-carb or sugary snacks. It can minimise the chances of spikes in blood sugar levels and go well on a low–carb plan.
Easy to Prepare
Chicken is incredibly versatile, and you can prepare it in various ways. It can be grilled, baked, roasted, or sautéed, making it an excellent option for busy weeknights.
The HealthifyMe Note
Chicken meat is an excellent protein source with low calories. It is suitable for overweight or obese diabetics trying to lose or maintain weight. Additionally, chicken is rich in niacin, vitamin B6, selenium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Side Effects of Eating Chicken
You should know some side effects before including chicken in your diet.
Chicken is a common source of foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella. It is imperative to cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F. It is important to cook and handle all meat properly to avoid food poisoning.
Some people may be allergic to chicken, which can cause symptoms such as swelling, hives, itching, and difficulty breathing.
Chicken is often treated with antibiotics, leading to antibiotic-resistant bacterial formation. To avoid this, choose organic, antibiotic-free chicken whenever possible.
High in Sodium
Many canned chicken products are high in sodium. Instead, choose fresh, unprocessed or low-sodium canned chicken to reduce sodium intake.
Can Cause UTIs
People with diabetes show a greater risk of developing urinary tract infections. Since chicken is high in protein, it can increase the chances. A study points out that the strain of Escherichia coli in poultry meat could cause serious urinary tract infections.
Chicken is relatively low in saturated fat and a good source of easily-digestible protein. Therefore, it is an excellent lean meat option for people with diabetes.
In addition, eating a balanced diet that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will help to maintain healthy glucose levels.
Some people with diabetes are still unsure whether they should include chicken. The answer may lie in how often the person eats chicken. While there is no need for daily chicken consumption, you can still have three or more servings of poultry each week. Ultimately, it is up to you to speak with your nutritionist to determine whether or not eating chickens is right for you.
The Research Sources
1. Data by the US Department of Agriculture. Data Type: SR Legacy | Food Category: Poultry Products | FDC ID: 171116
2. Data by the US Department of Agriculture. Data Type: SR Legacy | Food Category: Poultry Products | FDC ID: 171110
3. Du, H., Guo, Y., Bennett, D. A., Bragg, F., Bian, Z., Chadni, M., Yu, C., Chen, Y., Tan, Y., Millwood, I. Y., Gan, W., Yang, L., Yao, P., Luo, G., Li, J., Qin, Y., Lv, J., Lin, X., Key, T., Chen, J., … China Kadoorie Biobank collaborative group (2020). Red meat, poultry and fish consumption and risk of diabetes: a nine-year prospective cohort study of the China Kadoorie Biobank. Diabetologia, 63(4), 767–779.
4. Sobczak, A. I. S., & Stewart, A. J. (2019). Coagulatory Defects in Type-1 and Type-2 Diabetes. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(24), 6345.
5. NutritionFacts.org: The Link Between Chicken Consumption and Urinary Tract Infections