You may have heard the term reducetarianism in the media and wondered what it’s all about. Put simply, it is the practice of eating less meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy, eggs and other animal products. It is said that following a reducetarian diet reduces your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers, decreases your carbon footprint and saves the slaughter of farmed animals.
Whilst we agree that reducing our input of meat may be a good thing (especially if you ensure that the meat that you do eat is of known provenance and has been humanely reared and slaughtered like ours), we’d like to pick up on the relative health benefits and carbon footprint of chicken versus other meat.
Why is chicken good for you?
Chicken is a lean meat that typically contains fewer calories and fat per portion than beef, lamb, pork and duck. It’s a natural source of energy that makes you feel fuller for longer and is a great source of protein for muscle growth and maintenance and to support healthy bones.
Chicken also contains essential vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B3 (niacin) that can help keep our metabolism in shape, can help our nervous system to function and can help to reduce tiredness. Chicken is also a source of vitamin B6 which, like niacin, helps to keep our metabolism, nervous system and immune system healthy and phosphorus, which helps to look after our bones and teeth as well as playing a part in our metabolism.
Chicken also contains essential amino acids that you cannot get from a plant based diet.
About the carbon footprint of chicken
Did you know that chicken is the most environmentally friendly of all of the meat proteins in terms of its carbon footprint? Cows release the equivalent of 16kg of carbon dioxide for every kilo of meat they produce, sheep produce 13kg of CO2, whereas chickens are responsible for only 4.4kg of CO2 per kilo of meat*. Not only does chicken produce the least greenhouse gas emissions of the most popular types of meat, but it produces less overall emissions during each phase of production, processing, and cooking.
Overall, chicken is an affordable, healthy and delicious protein option, so if you are cutting back on your animal based meals, we’d urge you not to skip chicken!
For more information about reducetarianism, visit https://reducetarian.org/