When asked if consuming chicken is better than other (red) meat in the documentary, What the Health, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, responded with, “it’s a question of whether you would rather be shot or hung.” The link between consuming chicken and our leading causes of chronic illness and death are quite staggering.
Today I will share some pretty frightening facts about chicken we learned about Saturday evening at the January edition of The Healthy Giraffe Event. Also, we made chick’n parmesan that was out of this world! Our chicken alternative had zero cholesterol and was low in sodium…a much better combination than what you will see below via chicken.
It was a spectacular Saturday evening as our group joined inside the Giraffe’s Den (my condo). With the length of time to prepare dinner and dessert we set out with this mission first. We watched two videos demonstrating how to prepare our chick’n and dessert (chocolate cake) and we then broke into two teams to begin preparation. Each team grabbed their recipes and ingredients with one heading up stairs (thank you Keith and Scarlett for use of your kitchen) to prepare dessert while the second group remained preparing the chick’n parmesan and pasta.
After cooking and baking concluded, we filled our plates with our dinner and took a seat. While we enjoyed this healthy tasty alternative we watched a few videos about the pitfalls of consuming chicken. While some may think chicken is healthy we learned quite the opposite.
Here are some of the facts about chicken and related animal issues:
- The leading source of sodium in the American diet for adults is chicken
- The number one dietary source of cholesterol in America is chicken (by the pure amounts we eat…crazy); our bodies make all we need…we need zero from food; you can drop cholesterol super quick going on a whole-foods plant based diet
- Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.9 million deaths per year.…per year!!!
- Chicken is the leading source of HCAs—heterocyclic amines—which are cancer-causing chemicals that form as meat—especially chicken—is cooked
- Pharmaceutical industry sells 80% of all antibiotics made in the U.S. to animal agriculture; then people eat the animals…so besides the fat and sodium people consume the drugs too…
- A 2009 USDA study found that 87 percent of chicken carcasses tested positive for generic E. coli, a sign of fecal contamination, after chilling and just prior to packaging
- A 2014 issue of Consumer Reports published that 97 percent of chicken breasts found in retail stores were contaminated with bacteria that could make people sick, and 38 percent of the Salmonella found was resistant to multiple antibiotics
- You can’t simply wash off the fecal matter. It gets absorbed into the muscle of the chicken. Then when you cook it carcinogens form…nice 1:2 punch…
- Eating a quarter of a chicken breast daily increases your chances of pancreatic cancer by 72%
- Triple your risk of colon cancer by consuming chicken or fish once or more a week
- A Harvard study of men with early-stage prostate cancer found those with more aggressive cancer who regularly ate chicken and turkey had up to four times the risk of prostate cancer progression.
- Chickens currently have more than 10 times the amount of fat (23.2 grams vs. 1.8 grams) than they did over a century ago. What the heck are we doing to chickens?
- Chicken consumption is most associated with weight gain vs. other meats
- The number one food source of arachidonic acid is chicken; our bodies make what we need…just like cholesterol above. The side effects of excess are terrible as you might imagine…
- There are 11 other meats lower in total fat than chicken; not that they are good…they all suck for health reasons but many people think chicken is a healthy alternative to other meats…go back to the Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s quote to open the blog
- In the U.S. the average person consumes 83 pounds of chicken each year
- Collectively Americans eat one million chickens each hour
- In the U.S. each year 48 million people get sick via a foodborne illness
- Of those 48 million people, 128,000 end up in the hospital
- 3,000 end up dying…
We had great discussion about what we learned and a few shared some incredible personal results as they had eliminated animal products from their diet. Quite remarkable stories and results but not surprising by the simple facts of how unhealthy animal products.
We moved on to Game Night where I facilitated several rounds of questions on chicken, general health, and actual Family Feud game show questions. It was a blast and it was a very tight battle to the final question.
When thinking of all this information about chicken and animal protein I always think back to one of the first podcasts I listened to with Dr. Garth Davis when he was a guest on the Rich Roll Podcast (episode 150). I’ve heard him share his perspective a few times and it has stuck with me since.
With all the research Dr. Davis conducted on animal protein, chicken, and more he pondered how in the U.S. we eat more chicken and animal products than anyone in the world and asks the rhetorical question, “how is that working out for us?” With 71.6% of American Adults either overweight or obese (39.8% obese) per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the ridiculous amount of cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses it promotes I would say it’s not working out very well for us at all.
There are so many great chicken alternatives to make or buy these days that taste fantastic and do not cause havoc on our overall health. Not to mention the terrible factory farm conditions, cruelty, and slaughter chickens face. It’s very sad…
Let me know what chicken alternatives you have found and/or tried. I’m always looking to explore new options. Going plant-based has opened up my diet in so many ways…loving every minute of it and feeling better than ever!
– Add Health to Your Life
*Blog Feature Photo from a tailgate years and years ago when I was super unhealthy. Not only did I have all the benefits described above with the chicken I also draped it with the colon cancer (among other cancers, heart disease and chronic illnesses) powerhouse of bacon.