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…
- One portion of cooked chicken breast meat (100g) provides 70% of the recommended daily protein intake for adults. Percentage daily intakes are based on the average adult diet of 8700kJ. 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.
- Cooked chicken breast is lower in saturated fat than beef or lamb.
- Cooked chicken provides essential vitamins and minerals, particularly niacin, vitamins B6 and B12 and minerals potassium, selenium, magnesium and zinc
- Raw chicken breast is a cheaper protein source compared to other raw meats for stir-frying.
- 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!
*Chicken: Substantiation of Nutrition and Health Claims, Lisa Yates Adv APD and Nicole Senior APD, November 2019
So, can chicken help you to get back on track? Definitely!