Submitted by Robert D. Lucas, PH.D., CFS, Food Biotechnologist
Dr. Robert D. Lucas
2nd September, 2018
There was an article by Dr Frances Chandler under the caption of “Blowing Hot and Cold” which appeared in the Nation newspaper of the 13th.July 2016. The article dealt with the nutritive value of chicken wings. In paragraph four (4), Chandler cites the Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) findings that wings consisted of a high proportion of “fatty skin (31%) and bones with very little Lean meat (7%) and probably one of the least nutritious parts of the chicken….”
In muscle biochemistry, animal appendages that are engaged in physical activity such as flying as is the case with wings, under normal conditions (in the wild e.g: the common yard fowl) have very little fat and a very high percentage of the meat pigment myoglobin, than breast meat for example. In the former case energy for physical activity is derived from aerobic metabolic processes. When kept under the deep-litter system as broilers are, there is little physical activity; as a result, there is an accumulation of fat in the wings and a reduction of myoglobin content.
Chandler seems not to understand that fats are essential ingredients that are required for the nutritive well-being of humans. Firstly, fats are needed for proper utilization of fat soluble vitamins (A and D). Then, there are the essential fatty acids that are not synthesized in the body but are required for the prevention of adverse effects on the normal functioning of humans. There is also the gastronomic effect of fat. The aroma of cooked meat is primarily associated with the volatile derivatives of meat fats such as aldehydes and ketones. Additionally, fats are responsible for the succulency of meats. It is counter-intuitive to assert that wings are probably the least nutritive parts of chicken, since the genome (chromosome number) of cells in wing meat is the same as that in breast meat. It therefore follows that if wings are not nutritive, breast meat must also be the same.
In an article to the Nation newspaper of the 19th.March 2009 entitled “Truth about wings” I presented the following data. “The data which are now presented are based on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-SR-21 for 2009 Nutrition Data base (National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference).
1).Chicken, broilers or fryer wing, meat and skin, raw. 2).Chicken, broiler or fryer, breast, skin and meat, raw. All cuts are boneless.
1).Serving size for wings is 29 grams. Calories per serving: 64. Calories from fat: 42: Percentage Daily value (DV). Total fat 5grams (7% DV) Saturated fat: 1gram (6%DV). Cholesterol: 22 milligrams (7% DV).Sodium: 21 milligrams (11%DV).
2).Serving size for breast is 29 grams. Calories per serving: 49.5. Calories from fat 24.1. Total fat: 2.64 grams.(3.9% DV).Saturated fat: 0.66gram(3.9%DV). Cholesterol 18.5 milligrams (6.3%DV). Sodium: 18.2 milligrams (0.66% DV). Protein 5.9 grams.
As can be seen, there is little difference in the nutritive values of the two products; especially when daily values are compared.
Chandler is guilty of speculation when she uses the word “probably” in connection with the nutritive value of the wings. She is also guilty of linking the fat in wings with the proliferation of chronic non-communicable diseases in Barbados. She also displays a sloppy attitude towards the dissemination of scientific data in an objective and dispassionate manner she also overlooks the notion of consumer preference as she seeks to save the consumers from themselves and dictates what they should and should not eat. We live in a democracy and people have the right to choose whatever they want to consume. To prevent the proliferation of chronic non-communicable diseases in Barbados, people should consume less food and exercise more.
Robert D. Lucas, PH.D., CFS