What Exactly is in Your Chicken?

How many times have you purchased what you thought was a package of juicy, plump chicken breast at the grocery store only to come home to prepare it and find that those chicken breasts nearly shrank in half leaving you scratching your head as to what happened?

“Did you cook it for too long?” “Was the heat of the grill or oven to high?”

Or have you ever eaten a piece of chicken and felt bloated and full afterwards? Leaving you uncomfortable and questioning what happened?

To be honest with you, according to the USDA, it turns out that a lot of our meat is enhanced.

About 30 percent of poultry, 15 percent of beef, and 90 percent of pork are injected with some kind of liquid solution before going on sale. The USDA says, “That this solution is usually something high in sodium to help pump up the meat’s volume and can “replace the flavor and moisture loss that results from raising leaner animals or from potential overcooking”.

To ensure the natural flavor is kept in every bit, broth, lemon concentrates and corn syrup or other forms of sugar are added.

This whole article idea honestly came from my fiance Kristie the other day at our local chain grocery store. She asked me why I always buy the chicken that ISN'T on sale, or in the green package versus the larger producers which are typically on sale. To answer her question fully I put the two packages side by side and asked her to tell me what each said.

This of course went over really well as she read the big print from both and I asked her to stop and look at the smaller fine print (DIVE INTO THE DETAILS)

This is where the answer truly lies!

The Big Buy; Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast with Rib Meat- Up to 15% Solution

Green Label; 99% Fat Free All Natural Chicken Breast- Up to 3% Solution

Now having read the front packaging and explained to her that this solution was additives, we flipped the packages over and compared the amount of sodium in each.

  1. Big Buy- 470mg per 4oz

  2. All Natural- 40mg per 4 oz

Giving us a 430mg total difference! It is no wonder why some people feel bloated after consuming chicken breast! Their bodies are retaining water as if their stomachs were a water balloon!

If you were to buy a package of boneless chicken breasts for $5.00/lb. If they’re “enhanced with 15% chicken broth” then you’re getting about $4.25 worth of chicken, and $0.75 of water and fillers.

To help minimize potential health risks, the USDA recommends that you follow the normal protocol whether you are dealing with an all natural or enhanced chicken breast; make sure thoroughly rinse prior to cooking, remember to separate, don’t cross contaminate, and make sure that when cooking the temperature reaches 165 degrees to kill the bacteria.

Listed below are some helpful tips to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck!

  1. Focus on the labeling- Not the big print but the smaller details!

  2. Check the food label! How high is the actual sodium content? True “Natural” chicken should only contain around 60-70mg of sodium at most!

  3. Seek out local farms or butcher shop’s as they are typically associated with more “Farm to table” types of retail

DISCLAIMER: Thomas Munck is not a doctor or registered dietitian. The contents of this document should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem - nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.

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