Fried turkey not necessarily unhealthy

LSU AgCenter News

December 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Fried turkey is not as unhealthy as it sounds - if you don't eat the skin of the bird, according to Beth Reames, a nutritionist with the LSU AgCenter.

In fact, experts recommend not eating the skin no matter how a turkey is prepared.


“Frying a turkey in oil does not necessarily increase the amount of fat in the turkey,” Reames says. “Frying correctly helps to prevent a greasy turkey.


“The high heat of the oil sears the skin quickly, preventing the oil from being absorbed and keeping the juices inside.”


Because skin is a major source of fat in the turkey, nutrition and health experts recommend removing poultry skin before eating.


“Even cooking your turkey in a turkey fryer or roaster that doesn’t use oil won’t conserve calories and fat if you eat the skin,” Reames says.


Calorie and fat content differ in turkeys depending on the type of bird and meat, she says.


Light meat has less fat and fewer calories than dark meat and skin.


Turkey is low in fat and high in protein. It is an inexpensive source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins, Reames says.


The USDA’s MyPyramid nutrition calculator recommends 5 1/2 ounces from the meat and beans group daily based on a 2,000-calorie diet.  A 3-ounce portion of meat and poultry is often compared to the size of a deck of cards.


For more information on food safety and preparation, visit www.lsuagcenter.com.




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