Chicken is generally considered to be a good source of lean protein and has been recommended by medical professionals as a healthier, lower-fat alternative to beef. However, chicken is not the health food it used to be. Some estimates say that the chicken we eat today contains up to 266% more fat than the chicken we ate in the 1970s. Today's chicken also has one-third less protein content.
As a way to keep pace with the demand for chicken while keeping costs down, commercial chickens are generally bred in a manner that encourages them to grow more quickly through increased food consumption. This has led to chickens that contain more fat and less protein than their counterparts from just a few decades ago.
More about chicken consumption:
- Chicken is the most commonly eaten form of protein in the US. Americans eat more chicken than consumers in any other country – an average of 83 pounds (37.65 kg) per person each year.
- Twenty-seven times more chicken was produced in the US in 2014 than in 1950.
- Nearly half of all chicken is processed into other products, rather than being sold whole or cut up into pieces. In 1962, less than 2% of chicken was processed.