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Chicken For Dinner: It's Enough to Make You Sick

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Revised & Updated, 2016

First published in 1998, "Chicken For Dinner: It's Enough to Make You Sick" is newly available from United Poultry Concerns with updated content and references. Does it surprise you to know that the information presented in 1998 from the 1980s and 1990s followed by countless articles, scientific reports, blog posts, and whatnot since then, has hardly changed a bit?

The decision to update "Chicken For Dinner" coincides with the publication, on January 7, 2016, of the Eighth Edition of Dietary Guidelines For Americans 2015-2020, a document published every 5 years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines is a hodgepodge of claims and "recommendations" that seems purposely designed to confuse people while ensuring that the production and consumption of animals, eggs, and dairy will not be disrupted in the quest for health.


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Chicken For Dinner: It's Enough to Make You Sick

By Karen Davis, Ph.D., President of United Poultry Concerns

Fat and Cholesterol in Meat

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"Dietary cholesterol is found only in animal foods such as egg yolk, dairy products, shellfish, meats, and poultry." [1]
"Cholesterol in eggs, poultry, cheese, and meat contributes to heart attacks and other health risks."
-- Neal D. Barnard, M.D., President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. [2]
Decades of science have conclusively linked dietary cholesterol to cardiovascular disease , which kills nearly 2,200 Americans daily.
Plant-based, cholesterol-free diets are proven to fight heart disease. [3]
"The color of meat is irrelevant."
-- Biochemist Shi Huang, Burnham Institute for Medical Research. [4]

Many people have switched from red meat to chicken, believing chicken to be a healthier choice. However, chicken is not a healthy food choice. For one thing, chicken is not low in fat. Skinless chicken breast meat derives 23% of calories from fat and skinless turkey breast meat derives 18% of calories from fat. By comparison, lentils derive 3% of calories from fat, potatoes 1% and spaghetti noodles 4%. Like all meat, chicken is permeated with artery-clogging saturated fat -- you can't cut it away.

The cholesterol content of chicken or turkey is comparable to that of beef or pork, about 25 milligrams per ounce. [5] These levels are similar because "the cell membranes in all muscles, regardless of species, have cholesterol inside the membrane." [6]

Cholesterol occurs mainly in the lean portions of meat. The saturated fats that permeate these portions raise cholesterol levels by stimulating the liver to make more cholesterol. Thus, even "lean" meats including poultry have significant amounts of saturated fat in addition to cholesterol. [7] By contrast, plants have no cholesterol.

Enraged chicken drawing
Nigel Burroughs, Nature's Chicken
(Image by Nigel Burroughs)
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Fat and Cholesterol in Eggs

According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), 60% of eggs' calories are from fat, and eggs are the leading source of cholesterol in America. Eggs can increase the risk of diabetes 68%, heart disease 19%, prostate cancer 81% and colon cancer by nearly five times. Contrary to egg industry claims that eggs are health foods, PCRM cites studies in the journal Atherosclerosis and the Canadian Journal of Cardiology showing that eggs contribute significantly to heart disease. [8]

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Food Poisoning

Food poisoning kills 3,000 Americans each year and makes 48 million sick. [9] The number of food poisoned people is actually much higher, since many don't report their illnesses. Of all sources of foodborne illness, "Poultry is the most common cause of food poisoning in the home," states Michael Greger, M.D. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show more deaths attributable to poultry consumption than to any other food product. [10]

Consumer Reports publishes its test findings on raw chicken every few years. In 1998, CR found harmful bacteria, chiefly Salmonella and Campylobacter, on 71% of store-bought chicken, including "free-range" and "premium" brands. They warned that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's seal of approval "is no guarantee of cleanliness." [11]

In 2007, Consumer Reports announced tests on 525 chickens purchased from U.S. supermarkets and specialty stores in 23 states. 84% were contaminated with Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria. Moreover, 84% of the Salmonella and 67% of the Campylobacter bacteria showed resistance to antibiotics including "multiple classes of drugs." [12]

In Dangerous contaminated chicken published in 2014, Consumer Reports confirmed that 97% of 300 chicken breasts purchased by their investigators in stores across the country -- including organic brands -- contained dangerous bacteria. More than half were contaminated with feces and nearly half tested positive for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. [13]

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Karen Davis, PhD is the author of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry and the president of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of (more...)
 

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