Is Chicken Considered Red Meat?

Is chicken considered red meat? For most people, it is as surprising to think as the sun rising from the west. Chicken is white meat, right? However, a large group of people insists on classifying chicken as red meat and it has its reasons.

So, is chicken read meat and we have been wrong all along? Categorizing chicken as red or white meat is not simple. There are many factors at play here.

Is Chicken Considered Red Meat or White Meat?

Some parts of the chicken are white while others are red. Therefore, it is a combination of both white and red meat technically.

Chicken breasts fall into the category of white meat because they have white muscle fibers. They help chickens to make sudden movements or fly in short bursts. However, chickens seldom use these parts, and thus they become white.

On the other hand, chicken’s thighs and legs are red because they contain plenty of myoglobin. As a result, they have a lot of endurance. They also get their red color from myoglobin. As chickens use these parts almost their entire life, they have to be strong.

Are you still confused and cannot wrap your head around it? Don’t worry because you are not alone. It is a hotly debated topic and needs a lot of explanation. First, we will start with differentiating between red and white meat and then we will particularly talk about chicken.

What is Red Meat?

When you think of red meat, the first thing that flashes into your mind is a rack of ribs, roasted lamb leg, or a juicy steak.

The most common indication that raw meat is red is, of course, its red color. Similarly, it turns from red to darker red-brown after being cooked. Some of the animals traditionally included in red meat are veal, pork, beef, goat, lamb, and venison.

The high levels of myoglobin give red meat its red color. It is a type of protein that enables muscles to hold oxygen. Every kind of meat that has a certain amount of myoglobin is red meat.

White meat is light in color and thus white because it has low levels of myoglobin. It is also not as pigmented as red meat.

Just as some classify chicken as red meat, many consider pork as white meat because it lacks red color. However, it is surely red meat because it has more myoglobin than fish, chicken, and other traditional white meats.

Red meat is also more nutritious than white meat because it has more minerals such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

So, why do you consider it bad for your health? It has high levels of cholesterol and saturated fats that can result in heart problems and obesity. However, you can avoid fatty parts of the meat and eat only leaner meat.

You should never eat processed red meat. It is full of hormones and has little to no nutritional value. You must consume only organic red meat. It is not as fatty as processed meat and has more nutrients and minerals as well.

Is Chicken Red Meat?

Chicken is the most popular type of meat across the globe without any doubt. Every other cuisine has it as an ingredient. Similarly, it is more affordable than other meats in existence.

Chicken is also very easy to cook and it complements other ingredients quite nicely. It is also easily available compared to other types of meats.

Chicken meat is mostly protein and made entirely of fiber. These fibers include red fibers and white fibers as mentioned above.

Chickens use white fibers for short and sudden movements such as flying in short bursts. They convert carbohydrates into energy using these fibers.

White chicken meat only has 10% red fibers making it white. It contains less fat and is mild in flavor as well. It is also more vulnerable to overcooking than red meat.

Red fibers enable the chicken to perform movements like standing and walking. These movements are hectic and prolonged and thus legs and things require more endurance provided by red fibers. Fats produce energy in these fibers. That is why the legs and thighs are juicier and fattier than the rest of the chicken.

These parts of the chicken are red because they have plenty of myoglobin or 50% of red fibers. The more myoglobin a part of the animal has, the redder it will be.

Chickens have both types of fibers in their meat. However, white fibers are predominant in the breast and wings while red fibers dominate in the thighs and drumsticks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is chicken a red meat?

Chicken is a combination of both red and white meat. Some parts of the chicken are white while others are red. White parts include wings and breasts because they have more white fibers and fewer red fibers. Thighs and drumsticks on the other hand have more red fibers and myoglobin, making them red.

What is classified as red meat?

Any meat that has a lot of myoglobin and thus red color is classified as meat. Some of the most common red meat examples are lamb, beef, pork, venison, and goat.

Why is chicken not considered meat?

Some people don’t consider chicken as meat altogether. According to them, the term meat should be used for mammals only. They classify chicken or poultry differently because they lay eggs instead of giving birth to babies.

What is the unhealthiest meat?

The following are the unhealthiest meats and should be avoided at all costs.

  • Hams
  • Hot dogs
  • Sausages
  • Beef jerky
  • Corned beef
  • Canned meat
  • All kinds of highly processed meats

What should I eat to replace red meat?

Some of the foods you can eat to replace red meat are poultry, fish, nuts, and beans. Similarly, avoid foods like bacon, cheese, red meat, processed meat, and cold cuts if you want to eat healthily.

Final Thoughts

So, is chicken considered red meat? You can classify some parts of the chicken such as thighs and drumsticks as red meat. They are also fattier and juicier. They have high levels of myoglobin making them red. However, wings and breasts are white meat because they only have 10% red fibers. They are mild in taste and tend to overcook easily as well.

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