Dark Meat vs White Meat: What’s the Difference?

Is dark meat bad for you? What’s the difference between turkey and chicken meats? Which one has more calories?

Chicken Drumsticks – Dark Meat

What is Dark Meat?

Dark meats simply have more myoglobin proteins, the magic stuff that ships oxygen to the muscle cells. Muscles used more frequently, get to be dark. Chickens and Turkeys generally have dark colored drumsticks and thighs because of walking around a lot.

What is White Meat?

This is poultry tissue that is used for quick bursts of activity (such as chickens have short bursts of flight).

Breast meat is white.

Dark Meat is NOT All Bad For You

Take a look at the nutrition.

  • Most dark meats tend to contain more zinc, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, vitamins B6 and B12, amino acids, iron than white meat.
  • Dark beef meat contains about 11 times more zinc than tuna, and about 3 times as much iron than raw spinach.
  • Chicken and Turkey dark meat contain vitamins A, K, B6, B12, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, minerals as selenium, phosphorus and zinc.

Are you aware of the hidden salt that is in some chicken meat?

Poultry Breast – White / Light Meat

It is the higher levels of saturated fat that have given dark meat a bad name.

However, in the case of poultry, this can be removed by simply removing the skin (from drumsticks).

Calories in Dark Meat vs White Meat

Calories Carb
Total Fat
Sat. Fat
Chicken – Dark Meat
Roasted (1 Cup Diced)
249 0 32.6 12.3 3.4
Chicken – Light (White) Meat
Roasted (1 Cup Diced)
214 0 38 5.7 1.5
Turkey – Dark Meat
Roasted (1 Cup Diced)
262 0 40 10.1 3.4
Turkey – Light (White) Meat
Roasted (1 Cup Diced)
220 0 41.9 4.5 1.4


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  1. Dave

    Is there such a thing a side from preference where someone can not eat chicken or Turkey dark meat