Here’s why chicken should stay off your plate

Yvonne O'Halloran

Though chicken has long been thought as a healthier alternative to red meat, it contains about the same amount of fat and cholesterol as beef and removing the skin only helps marginally. Did you know that chicken is the largest source of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines in the American Diet? They are formed from the reaction of amine acids and creatine when meats are cooked using high temperature methods such as frying, grilling, broiling or barbecuing. Here are a few other reasons why you should keep chicken off your plate.

Urinary Tract Infections: Genetic fingerprinting has shown that bacteria found in chicken products at grocery stores are the cause for about 80% of human urinary tract infections. E-coli is a bacterium found in chicken feces and a 2018 study found that a strain called E-coli ST131 found in retail chicken products can be passed to people. This strain is capable of travelling from the bladder to the blood and can kill thousands of people each year.

Pathogens: The CDC estimates that every year 1 million people get sick from eating poultry. Chicken contains pathogens, carcinogens, cholesterol and even feces. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) obtained a USDA training video on poultry slaughter procedures through the Freedom of Information Act back in 2013 and it revealed that chicken carcasses were soaked in a cold water chicken “fecal soup” for up to one hour before being packaged and sent to the grocery stores for consumers. Furthermore, cooking the chicken does not remove the feces which may contain round worms, hair worms, tape worms and digestive juices of the animal.

Carcinogens: Carcinogens occur naturally in chickens. PhIP is a federally recognised carcinogen thats been linked to breast, prostate and other cancers. It forms naturally from substances in tissues when those tissues are exposed to high heat. The PCRM conducted a laboratory test on 100 grilled chicken samples in various restaurants in California and found that all 100 samples were found to contain PhIP.

Cholesterol: As mentioned earlier, chicken is often viewed as the healthier & cleaner alternative to other meats. 4oz of beef and 4 oz of chicken both contain approximately 100 mg of cholesterol which can contribute to heart disease and clog your arteries. Chicken also has about 50% fat,  30% of that is saturated fat which stimulates the production of cholesterol in the body.

Reference: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

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