Dairy products are increasingly popular as an alternative to chicken breast in the West, but which is the most healthy?
The BBC has asked the experts to answer.
Poultry meat A number of people in the US are eating more chicken breast per person per day, but a major concern is the high incidence of cancer.
According to the World Health Organisation, “most people who are overweight are also at high risk of cancer, and some are at risk of breast cancer as well.”
In other words, a lot of people are getting cancer in the form of breast.
A number have said that eating less chicken may help.
But there’s a catch: while chicken is good for you, it may not be as healthy as other meats.
So which is best?
According to US food magazine Eatwell, the key to deciding which chicken is best is to consider the animal’s “nutritional value”.
This is calculated by considering its protein, fat, carbohydrates, fibre and vitamins.
It doesn’t include other nutrients, such as vitamins A and D. This is the key.
The World Health Organization recommends that the protein content of a chicken is at least 30 per cent of the weight of the animal.
But chicken can contain much more protein than this.
“A chicken that has a protein content over 80 per cent will be the most nutritious chicken,” Dr Susanne Neumann, a clinical professor of nutrition at the University of California, San Diego, told the BBC.
However, if you have a protein of 30 per, say, 25 per cent, the chicken is probably not the best choice for you.”
Duck meat If you’re a chicken fan, you’ll probably like the taste of duck meat.
But it can also contain a lot more saturated fat than chicken.
Dr Neumann says the saturated fat in duck meat can cause heart disease, stroke and cancer.
She advises people to eat less than 1 per cent saturated fat, which is less than the amount in some margarine.
So if you eat a lot, or a lot but don’t eat too much, it’s probably a good idea to skip this.
Goat meat If goat meat is your thing, you’re probably familiar with the fact that it’s loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol.
But Dr Neuman says there are a number of reasons for that, including the fact it’s often fed to dairy cows to reduce their stress levels.
But you should still avoid eating it if you can, she said.
Pork chops If you’ve never heard of pork chops, they’re a popular alternative to poultry in the UK, but the BBC found there was a big gap between how much pork is consumed and the nutritional value of the meat.
Dr Sarah Wollaston, a veterinary professor at the Veterinary Medical College of NSW, said pork chops are a bit different to other meat.
“They’re quite high in fat, and there are plenty of studies to show that they’re associated with increased risk of heart disease and cancer, particularly if you consume them in excess,” she said, adding that you should always avoid eating them if you’re overweight.
Lamb and beef lamb meat is traditionally a staple food in Asia, but there’s been a recent surge in popularity in the United States.
A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that a small increase in consumption of lamb was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of death from heart disease.
So, while you shouldn’t necessarily consider lamb to be healthy, it could be an option if you are concerned about your heart health.
Dr Wollaster said lamb is high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Chicken thighs Some people say chicken thighs are healthier than chicken breasts because they contain more protein.
But the US Food and Drug Administration has advised that “skin and skin fat content should be used in conjunction with fat content in poultry products to determine if a dietary modification will result in an adverse effect”.
So if the thigh is too fatty, it should be replaced with other meats such as turkey, ham or beef.
Beef steak The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that a chicken thigh has about 30 per 100 grams of fat, whereas beef steak has 40 per 100g.
Dr Jean-Marc Vallee, a professor of nutritional sciences at the National University of Singapore, told Reuters that the fat content of chicken is not important.
“Chicken is an important component of chicken, and it’s important that people are aware of its health benefits,” he said.
“If you eat too many chicken, it will increase your risk of disease.”
Duck and turkey The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a 1 per 100 gram intake of chicken should be enough to protect against heart disease in young children.
But a recent study in New Zealand