Fried Chicken > How healthy is kentucky fried chicken

How Healthy is Kentucky Fried Chicken?

Kentucky Fried Chicken, more commonly known as KFC, built its business on the Colonel’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices used to coat its flagship fried chicken. This signature fried chicken put KFC on the map, but how does it measure up healthwise?

How Healthy is Kentucky Fried Chicken?

Kentucky Fried Chicken is not considered a healthy fast food option. While KFC has made some positive changes over the years, such as eliminating trans fats, their food is still high in calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats.

The main issue with KFC is that their signature product is fried chicken. Frying chicken adds a significant amount of calories from the oil, with an original recipe breast containing 260 calories and 15 grams of fat. Frying also destroys any potential health benefits of chicken skin, instead loading it with saturated fat.

Another downside of fried foods in general is that ingredients like chicken absorb oil, increasing fat content.In addition to frying, KFC is liberal with its use of salt for flavor. A single KFC breast packs over 1000mg of sodium, half the recommended daily intake. Eating high sodium foods regularly is associated with high blood pressure.

Related post: How to fry chicken skins for crispy?

The healthiest option on the KFC menu is grilled chicken, which eliminates the extra calories and fat that come from frying. However, even the grilled chicken contains high amounts of sodium. Lower calorie side dishes like green beans and corn are available, but popular options like mashed potatoes and gravy add more fat and calories.

While occasional fried chicken from KFC in reasonable portions will not detrimentally impact health for most people, regular consumption is linked to weight gain and other problems. Those looking for truly healthy fast food would be better served choosing grilled chicken sandwiches or salads when dining out.

The Good

    • Lean white meat chicken – The original KFC chicken uses breast, back, wing and thigh cuts which are lower in fat and calories compared to dark meat. Going with white meat makes KFC a bit healthier than other fried chicken places.
    • Trans fat free – In 2006, KFC reformulated their chicken frying process to eliminate the artery-clogging trans fats from partially hydrogenated oil. This was a positive step towards healthier menu options.
    • Lower calorie sides – Recent years have seen more low-calorie sides like corn on the cob, green beans and tossed salads added to the KFC lineup. Pairing these with the chicken gives a more balanced meal.

The Bad

    • Fried in oil – While trans fat free, KFC still deep fry their chicken in a blend of oils. This adds a lot of extra calories and fat compared to grilled or baked chicken options.
    • Sodium content – KFC packs on the salt with an original recipe chicken breast clocking in at 1030mg sodium. Eating this high sodium food regularly increases risk of high blood pressure.
    • Fried chicken skin – One of the unhealthiest parts of fried chicken is the skin which is loaded with saturated fat and calories. KFC typically leaves the skin on their fried chicken pieces.

Healthier Ways to Eat KFC

    • Choose grilled chicken – Skip the fried variety and order off the grilled chicken menu for a fresh take on the Colonel’s chicken.
    • Go for the sandwiches – Chicken sandwiches eliminate the skin and limit the amount of meat lowering calories.
    • Skip the biscuits – Buttery biscuits and fried chicken go hand in hand, but saving those calories leaves room for healthier sides.
    • Pick your sides wisely – Opt for lower calorie green beans, corn on the cob, mac and cheese and skip the mashed potatoes.
    • Watch your portion – Stick to a single breast or thigh and a small side for a filling 375 calorie meal.

The Bottom Line

Moderation and wise menu selections at KFC can result in a healthier fried chicken experience. While not the epitome of healthy eating, KFC chicken in sensible portions works as an occasional treat in an otherwise balanced diet. With healthier preparations and sensible sides, you can feel a bit better about giving into your fried chicken cravings.

How unhealthy is Kentucky Fried Chicken?

Kentucky Fried Chicken is quite unhealthy compared to other fast food options. Their signature fried chicken contains high levels of saturated fat, sodium, and calories. A single KFC breast contains 15g of fat, 1030mg sodium, and 260 calories.

Frying adds extra fat and eliminates any benefits of chicken skin. KFC chicken is significantly unhealthier than grilled or roasted chicken. The combination of fried food and high sodium makes KFC a poor choice for regular eating. Occasional moderate portions will not negatively impact health.

Is KFC chicken healthier than McDonald’s?

KFC chicken is slightly healthier compared to McDonald’s fried chicken offerings. An original recipe breast from KFC has 260 calories and 15g fat compared to McDonald’s buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich with 420 calories and 23g fat.

KFC uses leaner white chicken meat and has a few lower calorie side options. However, McDonald’s has healthier grilled chicken sandwiches and salads. For the best nutrition, avoid fried chicken and go for grilled options at both chains.

How do I eat healthy at KFC?

To make healthier choices at KFC, opt for grilled chicken, which eliminates extra fat and calories from frying. Be mindful of portions and stick to single pieces of chicken. Pair with lower calorie sides like green beans, corn on the cob, or mac and cheese instead of biscuits and mashed potatoes.

Avoid the fried chicken skin and high-sodium gravy. Balance the occasional fried treat with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and lean protein the rest of the week.

Is fried chicken healthy, yes or no?

No, fried chicken is not a healthy food choice. Frying adds a significant amount of unhealthy saturated fat and calories compared to other cooking methods. Fried foods like chicken tend to absorb more oil than other cooking techniques. The high heat of frying also destroys any potential benefits of chicken skin.

Fried chicken is high in sodium and fat and lacks nutrients found in lean proteins. Occasional small portions of fried chicken are unlikely to negatively impact health, but it should not be a regular part of a healthy diet.

Is KFC grilled chicken healthy?

Grilled chicken is one of the healthier options at KFC. It has fewer calories and less fat and sodium compared to fried chicken. It still contains a good amount of protein.

Is fried chicken once a week OK?

Having fried chicken once a week in reasonable portions can be fine for most healthy adults. To keep it from impacting health, balance it out by focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins the rest of the week.


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