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How Much Protein Is In A Half Pound Of Chicken?

The amount of protein you get from half a pound of chicken depends on which cut you choose.

You know you need protein to build more muscle, but that's not its only function. Protein is a structural part of cell walls, is necessary for brain function, and your body can also break down protein for energy as a last resort when carbohydrates and fat aren't there. Chicken is high in protein and versatile in almost every type of meal, but some types of chickens aren't as healthy as others.

Protein in chicken

In general, lighter chicken has a little more protein than the darker cuts. Half a pound of fried chicken breast contains over 70 grams of protein. If you prefer dark meat, half a pound of cooked thigh meat provides around 59 grams of protein. Half a pound of chicken drumsticks provides over 64 grams of protein.

More protein to get

If you want to get even more protein out of your chicken, there are many types of ingredients you can add to get the protein you need. Place raw chicken in egg white and roll in mashed walnuts. You get 3.6 grams of protein from one large egg white and 4 grams of protein from 1 ounce of walnuts. When making a pasta dish, opt for fortified egg noodles. You consume 8 grams of protein from 1 cup of boiled egg noodles. Also make high protein sides for your dish. A cup of cooked brown rice has 5 grams of protein, 1 cup of prepared pinto beans gives you 16 grams, and a steamy 1 cup side of couscous provides nearly 6 grams of protein.

How much Do you need

Protein should make up 10 to 35 percent of the calories in your daily diet. For example, if you were consuming 2,500 calories a day to support your activity level, you would need 250 to 875 calories from protein. Since protein has 4 calories per gram, that's the equivalent of 63 to 219 grams of protein. In most cases, when you are very active and exercise vigorously every day, you will need the larger amount of protein. If you're moderately active and trying to maintain your current weight, it is possible that near the middle of the range it will suit you roughly. On the flip side, if you don't exercise and have a sedentary office job, you likely need to stick to the lower end of the protein recommendation.

Health considerations

Although you can get plenty of protein from any type of chicken, choosing light cuts of meat will limit your saturated fat intake. Saturated fats - found in all types of meat and poultry - can increase your risk of heart disease later in life by raising your cholesterol levels and clogging your arteries. Less than 10 percent of your total calories should come from saturated fat. Based on a 2,500 calorie diet, you can have up to 250 calories from saturated fat, or 28 grams, since fats provide 9 calories per gram.

Half a pound of fried chicken leg meat has nearly 7 grams of saturated fat, while half a pound of cooked drumstick meat provides about 3 grams. The same serving of grilled chicken breast contains at least 2 grams of saturated fat, which makes it an extremely lean protein.