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What Is Low-Carb Chicken?

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  • Written By: Jillian O Keeffe
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Chicken is a meat with no carbohydrates in its natural form. When chicken is processed to contain carbohydrates, such as in breading or batter, then the carbohydrate content rises. Low-carb chicken dishes are those which have zero or no carbohydrates added, and this can form part of an overall low-carb diet.

In food, people can take energy from three different groups of molecules. These are fat, carbohydrate and protein. When the body breaks down 1 gram of fat, it gains 9 calories. 1 gram of protein gives 4 calories of energy, and 1 gram of carbohydrate yields 3.75 calories.

People who are overweight, or who are dissatisfied with their current diet, can choose alternative ways of eating, and one of these is low-carb. This diet promotes protein and fat over carbohydrates as energy sources. High carbohydrate intake that causes a person to eat too many calories is associated with obesity, and a high intake of simple carbohydrates, which are sugars, is associated with diabetes.

If a person wishes to follow a low-carb diet, he or she must look carefully at the carbohydrate content of food. As chicken is naturally high in protein, and contains no carbohydrates, it can be a key part of many low-carb diet plans. A skinless breast of chicken, for example, contains about 20 percent protein, 3 percent fat and no carbohydrates.

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When chicken is prepared using other foods, it may become higher in carbohydrates. Examples include breading and batter, because flour is a high carbohydrate food. Dishes such as chicken burgers do not fall into the category of low-carb chicken, due to the bun. Chicken pot pies gain carbohydrates from pastry and vegetables, as do partially rice-based dishes like chicken gumbo.

Foods that are high in simple carbohydrates tend to be those that are sugary. Examples include some commercial sauces, and glazes like honey. Complex carbohydrates are a group of carbohydrates that are not as closely associated with illnesses like diabetes, as the molecules do not turn into blood sugar as quickly as sugary carbohydrates. Potatoes, bread and rice are examples of common additions to meals, which should not appear in a low-carb chicken dish.

Vegetables like beans, lentils and peas are also higher in carbohydrates than other plant based foods, and these may also be excluded from a low-carb chicken dish, depending on the diet plan. Root vegetables like carrots or parsnips also tend to be relatively high in carbohydrates. Fruits also contain carbohydrates, with bananas at the top of the list. All, or most of these foods, may not fit with a low-carb chicken dish, but fruit and vegetables are widely recognized as being important to an overall healthy diet. Alternative ingredients that are very low in carbs include cream, bacon and low-energy vegetables like celery or cucumber.

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