Why Chicken Is A Great Food For Bodybuilding, Fitness And Health: There is a reason that the gym bags of serious bodybuilders and athletes around the world contain lunches containing grilled, skinless chicken breast. Its because it is high quality protein, it is cheap, and it is easy to prepare. Grilled chicken is the protein that all others are compared to.
Where To Find Chicken
The best place to find food is from local farmers markets as locally produced food is typically superior in freshness, flavor, and health to food found in supermarkets or online. However, if you cannot find it locally or do not have the time to shop, Amazon is the next best thing.
Nutrition of Chicken
Is this the best nutritional choice?
When it comes to building muscle, building strength, losing fat, and getting healthy, its all about getting the most nutritional benefits for the fewest possible calories. Getting the most out of every calorie is of the utmost importance is when your daily caloric intake is low either because you are cutting or not doing cardio. Here is a comparison of your food choice to one that I consider to be the gold standard. [chart still under development]
The above chart compares equal calorie portions of your food to one which you might want to consider. The blue bars are your food and the red bars are for the food I am suggesting you might want to consider instead. What you will most likely find is that the food I am suggesting will have more protein, fiber, or Essential Fatty Acids than the one you have chosen. These are essential macronutrients for bodybuilding and good health.
Essential Amino Acid Profile Of Chicken
Protein quality and protein quantity ratings
Why Chicken got a protein quality rating of 77/100 and a protein quantity rating of 69/100
How protein dense is the food? Chicken has a protein density of 75% which means that 75% of the calories are from protein. Skinless grilled chicken breast has a protein density of about 80%, things like egg whites and isolated whey products have protein densities over 90%. With any protein density less than 60%, it becomes a challenge to get enough protein without going over your daily caloric budget and getting fat. If your primary protein source has a protein density of less than 50% then you are going to have to do *significant* amounts of daily cardio to burn off the extra calories if you dont want to increase bodyfat.
What is the amino acid profile of the food? Muscle cant be built unless *all* the essential amino acids are present at the instant they are needed. If doesnt matter how many essential amino acids are in your stomach, if you run out of just one then all protein synthesis stops. This is why amino acid profiles are so important, to make sure that you get the right balance of amino acids so that a maximum of muscle can be built with a minimum of calories. When you compare the amino acid profile of Chicken to chicken breast in the above chart, you will see that it is most lacking in n/a, in fact, Chicken only has 100% as much of n/a as chicken breast does. Because of this, you need to eat 1 times as much protein to get the same muscle building properties as you get from chicken.
How digestible is the food? This is where the science is the weakest. There are a couple ways people have attempted to factor this in - with BV (Biological Value) and with the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). Something like whey protein isolate is nearly 100% digestible whereas the protein in some grains is only 50% usable. Chicken has a digestability factor of 0.9 where 1.0 is 100% digestable. Typically when foods are high in fiber, the body has a harder time extracting usable protein from the food. Because not all the protein in this food is digestable, you need to eat times more than you would for a fully digestable food like milk.