Put on a few extra kgs over the festive season? Well, you’re not alone there!
This week (15 -21 February) is Australia’s Healthy Weight Week (healthyweightweek.com.au) – an initiative of the Dietitians Association of Australia, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. It’s a great concept and I’d encourage you to get involved.
It’s also a timely prompt to think about how chicken can contribute to achieving your healthy weight goals – and most importantly, staying there.
According to Lauren McGuckin, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia, “Higher protein diets can play a role in helping some people lose weight and maintain weight loss. Lean chicken can contribute significantly to a higher protein diet and healthy eating.”
This comment hints at an interesting proposition for some – that you may not actually need to ‘go on a diet’ to actively lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Well the concept isn’t as ‘far fetched’ as it might sound to some. In fact, results of research undertaken by the ACMF a couple of years back (ACMF Diet and Chicken Survey. Galaxy Research 2010) showed that seven out of ten adults had made a conscious effort to lose weight in the previous two years, but only 7% of those ‘dieters’ actually succeed in reaching their long-term weight loss goal. The main reasons identified for this were:
- 65% of dieters only cut down on high calorie food when attempting to lose weight.
- 55% of dieters simply eat less of the food they are already eating when attempting to lose weight.
- 50% of all dieters will fail because they say they love food too much.
- 43% of dieters will fail to lose weight in the long-term because of a lack of willpower.
- 33% of people fail to achieve their weight target because they think dieting is too boring or there is not enough variety in diet options.
- 30% of dieters will crumble because they always feel hungry.
- 16% of dieters said that they didn’t achieve their goal because counting calories is too hard.
- Women dieters in particular find it hard to stick to eating ‘diet foods’, especially if they are the only one doing so in the family group.
- Men in particular are susceptible to falling off the diet bandwagon because they feel hungry.
If any of these sound familiar, then perhaps you need to think afresh about the beneficial role chicken could play in your diet.
Lets see how chicken’s main attributes stack up…
- Chicken meat has the equivalent protein content of beef, lamb and pork. One 100g serve of chicken breast provides more than 50% of the recommended dietary intake of protein*. Protein consumption is generally accepted to increase satiety to a greater extent than carbohydrate or fat and may facilitate a reduction in energy consumption. This helps to overcome the ‘feeling hungry’ reason for failure to achieve weight loss goals described at 6 and 9 above.
- Lean chicken cuts are low in fat and, importantly, over 55% of the total fat content is unsaturated fat.*
- Chicken is a valuable source of minerals and also contains essential vitamins and all essential amino acids.
- Lean chicken remains by far the most affordable lean meat on the Australian market.
- Lean chicken is extremely versatile and easy to cook with…there are plenty of ways to prepare and enjoy it, so lack of variety in the diet (see point 5 above) does not need to come into play.
- Consumer surveys tell us that chicken is a food which is popular with the whole family, so it’s easy to include it in meals that the whole family will enjoy (so much for point 89 above).
- Forget about ‘excuses’ 3, 4, 5 above – chicken tastes good too!
*ACMF Nutrition Report – Food Health and Nutrition: Where Does Chicken Fit? May 2008 (see http://www.chicken.org.au/page.php?id=224 )
So, can chicken help you to get back on track? Definitely!