Here's Exactly How Much Protein Is in Chicken Breast, Thighs, Legs, and Wings
Chicken is arguably one of the most popular protein sources in America. In fact, each of us eats over 90 pounds of the stuff every year, according to The National Chicken Council. That's 125 percent more than we consumed back in 1970. So, as chicken becomes increasingly prominent as America's protein source, it's necessary for consumers to understand how much protein is in each part of the chicken, as well as how much is too much because there is such a thing as too much protein.
How much protein is in chicken breast
The first thing that's crucial to understand is that not all chicken is the same. There are different amounts of protein depending on the part of the chicken you decide to eat. The typical serving of chicken is 4-5 ounces, which means different amounts of protein depending on if you're eating chicken breast or chicken wings. To calculate the proper amount of protein per serving, we used the USDA FoodData Central.
Four ounces of chicken breast equates to 27 grams of protein, which is the most bang for your buck when it comes to a serving of chicken. Eating chicken breast is definitely the best way to have the most protein-packed meal when it comes to chicken.
How much protein is in drumsticks, chicken thighs, and chicken wings
In 4 ounces of chicken thigh meat (cooked with the bone, which was then removed), you're getting 19.64 grams of protein, which is closest in grams to the chicken breast. The amount continues to decrease when you eat 4 ounces of drumstick meat, with 17.29 grams of protein. One serving of chicken wings contains the least amount with around 13.56 grams of protein for 4 ounces.
However, if you're buying the dark meat boneless, the protein content actually changes: 4 ounces of boneless drumstick meat is 27.2 grams of protein, and boneless chicken thigh meat has 25.38 grams of protein.
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What your daily protein intake should be
Yes, there is such a thing as too much protein. The suggested amount of protein is unique for each individual. According to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), it equates to 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. While every human body (and level of activity) varies, the average amount of protein for a sedentary person would be 56 grams a day for men, and 46 grams a day for women.
Based on our calculations, here's how many 4 oz. servings of chicken you can have a day (on average). Before deciding on how much chicken you can eat, keep in mind other protein sources you'll be consuming during the day—like cheese or yogurt.
Average daily amount of chicken for men
- 2 servings of chicken breast (~8.3 oz.)
- 3 servings of chicken thighs (~11.4 oz.)
- 3 servings of chicken drumsticks (~12.9 oz.)
- 4 servings of chicken wings (~16.5 oz.)
Average daily amount of chicken for women
- 1.5 servings of chicken breast (~6.8 oz.)
- 2 servings of chicken thighs (~9.4 oz.)
- 2 servings of chicken drumsticks (~10.6 oz.)
- 3 servings of chicken wings (~13.6 oz.)
To figure out your specific number of grams per kilogram of body weight, you can use the USDA calculator to ensure that you're eating the correct portion of protein each day. This could impact whether you go for a chicken breast or chicken wings next time you're thinking about what to have for dinner.