Why You Should Always Examine Your Chicken Breasts Before Buying Them

close-up view of chicken breasts on a white background

There’s nothing worse than learning that the food that you may have thought was healthy for you is actually anything but! Case in point: boneless, skinless chicken breast. Theoretically speaking, the white meat shouldn’t be harmful to you, but new findings have shown that its health benefits can vary greatly from piece to piece.

Interestingly, unhealthy versions of this culinary staple are easy enough to decipher on your own. The suspect pieces look normal enough at first glance, but when examined further, you will be able to see white lines on the surface of the meat. The levels of severity are illustrated below:

According to a study published in Poultry Science, packaged chicken breasts have been popping up with white stripes in recent years because, simply put, chickens are being grown larger these days.

The unsightly white lines, or ‘white striation’ as they are called, are associated with birds that have high levels of fat content. In other words, these are chickens that are considered to be overweight or obese. We bet you didn’t know that even hens need to diet sometimes!

But, all jokes aside, this phenomenon could be contributing to our own weight problems. Many opt for eating boneless skinless chicken breast because it is one of the healthiest meats around. Nevertheless, as our demand has grown for this food, consumers have put pressure on the companies that produce the poultry.

As orders for chicken breasts continue to soar, these companies have had to compete with one another. Their response has been quite the controversial one—grow larger chickens and sell them at low prices.

And it’s no secret that many out there have been busted for overfeeding their chickens, housing them in substandard conditions, or even adding hormones to their diets in order to bulk them up. Poor little guys!

Now that we know why this odd occurrence is happening, let’s get back to what the white lines mean for diners’ health. When questions started popping up about the striping, a study was performed to see just how bad this extra fat content could be for the people consuming the chicken breasts.

The scientists’ findings showed that the worst examples of breasts with white striation on the market contained over 200 PERCENT MORE fat content than a breast with little to no striping. On top of that, researchers discovered that the protein content—the reason why so many of us eat chicken in the first place—is decreased in moderate to severe cases.

So, just to recap: all of this information means that “healthy meal” you may have been relying on for low fat content and high protein could be part of what’s slowing down your weight loss or body building. I don’t know about you, but I find this to be more than a little infuriating!

Luckily, consumers should be able to differentiate the bad from the good by simply taking a good look at the breasts themselves. A small amount of striping won’t make much of a difference, but if the pattern is really obvious, it’s best to look for a better option.

To learn even more facts about this crazy phenomenon, be sure to click on Cosmopolitan’s video below. We hope that this will make you pay more attention to the food you are putting into your body!

What do you think of these scientific findings? Have you ever noticed white striping on your chicken breasts? Do you think that companies should be allowed to sell meat that is afflicted with this fatty feature? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!