The Characteristics of Poultry Meat

If you want to follow a healthy diet, all macronutrients are important. But what's so special about poultry meat?
The Characteristics of Poultry Meat

Last update: 03 March, 2020

There’s a saying, “Flying birds go in the pan”. People have been eating birds as long as people and birds have both existed. Birds in the wild are generally dry, so most recommend eating them with a sauce. Here, we’ll explain everything you need to know about poultry meat.

Definition and classification of poultry meat

The edible part of poultry consists of the muscles, of course when the bird has been killed hygienically. They’re the same parts that people eat from farm animals, hunted animals, and marine life.

Depending on what you want, there are different ways to differentiate among them:

  • If you’re talking about the main meat, as in, the part of the animal without organs, then you can differentiate among three categories: Grade A, B, or C.
  • Depending on how the butcher divides into anatomical regions, there are different categories as well. The back and the sirloin are two of these.
  • Based on color, you can divide among white meat, red meat, and dark meat. This last type is more common in hunted animals.
  • When it comes to conserving the meat, there are also different ways to do it based on whether you buy fresh, refrigerated, or frozen.

Nutrition value of poultry meat

The main component of meat is water; in more concrete terms, poultry meat consists of more than 50 percent water. The main characteristic that makes this meat healthy is its high-value protein content.

When it comes to its fat content, this varies widely and is based on factors such as the species, gender, age, its diet, and what part of the animal’s body the meat is from. The fattiest meats are lamb and pork; the least-fatty is that of turkey, rabbit, and chicken.

When it comes to its vitamin and mineral content, poultry meat stands out because of its high content of iron. It’s more prevalent than in food of vegetable origin.

A plate with grilled chicken and vegetables.

Poultry meat: different kinds


Chicken meat is very popular around the world and is the kind of meat that’s most-consumed worldwide. Its industrial production is what’s responsible for its low price.

When it comes to nutritional value, it stands out: 100 grams of chicken contains 32 grams of protein and only 5 grams of fat. Because of this, it’s one of the most recommended lean meats on the market. 


Laying hens give around 150 to 200 eggs a year each. Hens historically constituted both breakfast and dinner in the interior regions of Spain, as when the hen stops laying eggs, she’s destined for human consumption. The animals are easy to raise since they’re omnivores and can eat the leftovers of human food.

The nutritional value of this animal is similar to that of chicken. However, it contains more fat. This characteristic makes it taste better, so people often use it especially to flavor broth rather than eating the meat.


Turkey meat is practically the same in protein as chicken. A serving of 100 grams of turkey meat gives your 24 grams of protein and only a few of fat. In addition to this, it’s a great source of minerals and vitamins.

It’s a good alternative to chicken, especially for athletes who want to vary their diet and achieve optimal health

A cooked turkey on a platter.


Duck meat – the main picture in this article – is darker than chicken or turkey. Both domesticated or hunted ducks can provide this type of meat.

This type of meat also gives an elevated content of proteins, as a serving of 100 grams provides about 25 grams of it. Just like the hen, the fat content is higher than that of other birds, but you can reduce it significantly by removing the skin. 


Finally, ostrich meat. It’s not quite as popular as the others and counts as red meat because of the flavor and texture of hunted birds.

Two cuts of ostrich meat.

Ostrich has an even lower fat content than chicken and turkey, which is why, together with its high dose of protein, it is currently considered one of the most nutritionally complete meats.

In general, nutritionists recommend eating lean meats more frequently than red meats. Poultry meat, then, is a great option!

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  • Errecart, V., Lucero, M., & Sosa, M. A. (2015). Análisis del mercado mundial de carnes. Facultad de Economía y Negocios. Universidad Nacional de San Martín.
  • Lupiañez-Barbero, A., Blanco, C. G., & de Leiva Hidalgo, A. (2018). Tablas y bases de datos de composición de alimentos españoles: necesidad de un referente para los profesionales de la salud. Endocrinología, Diabetes y Nutrición, 65(6), 361-373

The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.