Are Chicken Thighs Bad For You?

What's for dinner? Likely, chicken. According to SF Gate, Americans consume an average of 93 pounds of chicken per year. We're amazed by it's versatility, and at times, a little overwhelmed. Pinterest alone features over 900 recipes containing this popular protein.

While chicken may have the reputation for being one of the healthier dinner proteins, that doesn't mean every part of the bird should be treated as such. Take the thighs for example. There appears to be a bit of a gray area over how healthy they actually are. This is likely because they contain a higher amount of fat than other parts of the chicken. So, are chicken thighs good for us? 

According to LiveStrong, a 3-ounce skinless serving of roasted chicken thigh contains 180 calories, 22 grams of protein, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, and 10 grams of fat. Conversely, the same size serving of skinless roasted chicken breast meat has 140 calories, 26 grams of protein, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, and 5 grams of fat.

The skin of the thigh is the part to leave out of your dish

The chicken thigh contains twice the amount of fat as the breast. In fact, its fat content is even higher than a 3-ounce serving of grilled beef tenderloin, notes Verywell Fit. But perhaps what is giving the chicken thigh a shaky health reputation is not so much the amount of fat it has, but the type of fat it contains. According to SF Gate, the chicken thigh contains two types of fat. The healthy fat, monounsaturated fat, is found in the chicken thigh's meat. It is the skin of the thigh where the bad stuff lies. Chicken thigh skin is home to saturated fat — the type of fat you want to enjoy at a minimum. The skin may be a delicious part of your glazed honey and lemon chicken dinner, but keeping the skin intact causes you to ingest unhealthy fats and can double the amount of calories in your portion. 

So, are chicken thighs bad for you? Not really. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claims that both the breast and the thigh of the chicken are lean sources of protein and are both healthy options. The thighs may even be more juicy and tender than the breast. But in order to keep your healthy chicken dinners as healthy as possible, you may want to keep the chicken skin off your plate.