Chicken Consumption Correlates with Obesity

Roasted chicken with pan gravy – there is no better smell in the kitchen. Cook this meal- and less than 450 calories for dinner.

Did you know the rise of obesity in the United States is correlated with chicken consumption?

What is not to love about chicken? Do you love the smell of a chicken roasting in the kitchen? A lovely pan roasted chicken made with a gravy is one of my favorite dishes to cook and consume. But few people know what that smells like because most people eat chicken from a restaurant (or fast food place). That is a problem – getting someone else to make you something they call chicken.

Most think that a chicken breast, without skin and bones, is “healthy” food. Most will order (from a restaurant or fast food establishment) those chicken fingers, or a chicken sandwich thinking they are doing their body good by making a healthy choice. Sadly, many will say that red meat is bad, and they are avoiding it, so by eating chicken they think they are making a healthy choice.

Chicken, isn’t the problem. But eating out is a big problem. What you are served when you eat out, what they call chicken – that is a problem. Consider TGI Friday’s  Santa Fe ChickenSalad that is slathered with dressing, at 1800 calories. Or Wendy’s Chicken Cesar Salad – 780 calories for their spicy salad.

Then there is taste- did you ever taste the typical restaurant chicken breast? Chicken breast – by itself, without the bones or the skin, has little taste, unless you like cardboard, and is little more than a vehicle for sauces.  To make it worse- the chicken breast is frequently “grilled” so it is not only tasteless, but dry.

Learn to cook chicken, then  you will have flavor; a delicious combination of lovely smells and delicious tastes – but if you remove the skin, remove the bones- and then deep fry it – well, then you have that Chick-fil-A basic sandwich with 440 calories – the Waffle fries another 400 calories. Then there is the drink.  Now compare that to the chicken you see up top – a lovely bit of roasted chicken,  skin on – carved off a whole chicken that was cooked, and some green beans. All of that- less than 450 calories- and it has a lot of flavor.

37.7 pounds of chicken per person in 1965 and 85 pounds per person in 2014

74.6 pounds per person in 1965 and 53.6 pounds per person in 2014

Or to put it into a graph form about meat and chicken consumption check this graph out:

But at the same time look what has happened to obesity.

Correlation does not equal causation- but chickens are fatter now than they use to be too:

Chickens have become fatter – and so have people -and we are eating more of them. Photo: courtesy of Nature Publications

So when you go to your favorite restaurant and are thinking of ordering chicken because it is healthy – think again. If you are going to eat something, at least eat something with flavor – better yet- learn to make a great chicken at home and forget eating out. You will get a better chicken – and it will taste better too. Plus getting back into your kitchen is the best way to fight obesity for you, and for your kids.

The real correlation: we are opening five times as many restaurants and grocery stores- and more grocery stores are offering “take out.” We have lost our ability to cook. So if you want healthy – learn to cook.

This isn’t healthy

Learn to make chicken at home- it will taste better and be healthier.

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit

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