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Is White Meat Turkey Healthier?

Know Your Macros: White vs. Dark Meat Turkey

Is white meat turkey healthier? That depends on how you look at it. Let's first look at the macros: compared to dark meat, it's essentially identical in protein, and both have zero carbohydrates. White meat is lower in fat, with less than one gram per serving in the skinless variety, while dark meat has three to four more grams of fat per serving. It's a small difference but more noticeable if you're watching your fat intake or limiting your calories (as you'll see below). Slight differences, but they can add up if you're eating a lot of turkey!

TYPE OF MEAT CALORIES FAT (G) CARBS (G) PROTEIN (G)
White meat, no skin 135 <1 0 30
White meat, with skin 153 3 0 29
Dark meat, no skin 162 4 0 29
Dark meat, with skin 193 7 0 29

In terms of micronutrients, dark meat has a bit of an edge. It's got two and a half times as many omega-3s and three times as many omega-6s. It has more calcium, iron, folate, and riboflavin, but light meat has more niacin, magnesium, and vitamin B6.

So which is healthier? It really depends on your goals and your own diet. If you prefer the taste of dark meat, go for it! It's rich in nutrients and mood-boosting omega-3s that'll help you feel good. Cutting calories and watching fat? Opt for white meat. You'll get a little more muscle-relieving, calming magnesium. Either way you look at it, it's a great (and delicious) source of protein.

*Nutrition facts reflect a standard 3.5-ounce serving.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry
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