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should we avoid chicken skin because of arachidonic acid?

Answered on March 19, 2015
Created December 06, 2011 at 5:41 PM

In a post from Dr. Weil, "Rethinking saturated fat" which is generally Paleo-positive, he still says: "I recommended skinless chicken and turkey because poultry fat (concentrated just beneath the skin) contains arachidonic acid, which promotes inflammation."

Here's the whole post: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400919/Rethinking-Saturated-Fat.html

What's the deal, should we be worried? Should we all start buying those skinless tasteless boredom-on-a-plate breasts again?

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:04 PM

+1 for somehow ending up in your belly. I can relate. ;)

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:03 PM

Right on for chicken feet! Perfect addition to a bone broth.

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5 Answers

7
4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 06, 2011
at 07:45 PM

I agree with the recommendation to avoid poultry skin but not for the reason Dr. Weil says. I would avoid it because of the linoleic acid, not the arachidonic acid. It's kind of a nit-picky point but I'm writing because a lot of people (including Dr. Weil) missed a turnaround in the thinking on dietary arachidonic acid.

Western diets contain an excess of linoleic acid (a short chain omega 6 fatty acid), not arachidonic acid (a long chain derivative). Western diets may actually contain LESS arachidonic acid than they used to. WHY?

It turns out that excess consumption of linoleic acid (both in humans and in the animals that humans eat) results in LOWER levels of long chain polyunsaturated fat in the tissue (including both arachidonic acid and EPA/DHA). The relatively recent results (pasted below) changed the expert view (at least causing many to question what was becoming a consensus view) on long chain polyunsaturated fat derived eicosanoids, specifically arachidonic acid and its derivatives, and I guess Dr. Weil just isn't up to date. Linoleic acid is the bad guy; although the science is still murky, dietary arachidonic acid might actually be good in slightly higher amounts than we get today (i.e., in amounts that we would get by eating animals that aren't fed corn and soy).

See:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3132704/

and

http://www.ajcn.org/content/91/1/23.short

3
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on December 06, 2011
at 08:51 PM

I always mean to not eat it but then it somehow ends up in my belly anyway. I'm not worried about it. If that's the worst thing I eat in a day it's been a very good day and I'm happy and grateful for it.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:04 PM

+1 for somehow ending up in your belly. I can relate. ;)

3
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on December 06, 2011
at 07:11 PM

I don't worry about it. If you buy a pastured chicken I think you should eat the whole chicken beak to tail and if you are lucky enough to get the chicken feet also they are good for adding to your bone stock making for the collagen.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:03 PM

Right on for chicken feet! Perfect addition to a bone broth.

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 06, 2011
at 07:52 PM

I think my taste buds know what they're doing on this one, unlike the time they were totally faked out by Pringles. :-))

A lot of supermarket chicken has an "off" flavor that's not about spoilage but about what the chicken was fed. I've noticed there's less of a problem with Cornish game hens since they're so young. My taste buds reject the "off" skin and I listen. If the skin smells and tastes fabulous without spices and marinades, then I eat it but I only eat poultry for about 1 week per month. I follow the eat-the-whole-bird philosophy, so it starts by devouring the crispy skin and ends with bone broth stew.

Honestly, I refuse to eat skinless poultry because if it's so skewed by the grower that the skin isn't wholesome then why would I eat the meat? It's either good food or it isn't.

0
E40b18895b4c9a3be952686b80cba3b1

on March 19, 2015
at 08:59 PM

We remove the skin when making soup and broil it in the toaster oven w a little Celtic sea salt. Amazingly delicious and most of the fat melts off.

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