Medical Q&As

Poultry - high in cholesterol?

Is it true that poultry, such as chicken, is high in cholesterol?

Chicken is not cholesterol free but the level of cholesterol in chicken is less than the amount contained in red meat. Whenever a person is advised to reduce their consumption of red meat they are usually advised to choose chicken, turkey or fish as an alternative source of protein. It is important when reducing the level of cholesterol in the diet to maintain a sense of balance in the diet and ensure that the person is getting sufficient amounts of protein. Much of the saturated fat in chicken and turkey is contained in the skin therefore it is recommended that you should eat the meat without the skin. Duck and goose contain higher amounts of saturated fat and are therefore not generally recommended as a substitute for red meat. Cooking methods also have an impact on the level of fat being consumed. It is best not to fry poultry because this involves adding fat in order to cook the food. Boiling, roasting or cooking in a microwave oven are healthier cooking methods. If you are roasting a whole bird it is a good idea to use an oven rack and allow the fat to drain into the roasting dish. Finally, avoid self-basting turkeys and chickens because commercial basting fats tend to be highly saturated.