What makes fried chicken so unhealthy?
And what can I do to get a healthier fried-chicken fix?
Fried chicken is undeniably delicious. The crispy, salty outer shell, the juicy, tender interior. It all adds up to something pretty special indeed.
And as a special treat, every once in a while - why the hell not?
Unfortunately, for many us, it's become more than an occasional treat. In 2017, UK consumers spent an estimated £2.2bn in fried chicken outlets. In 2019, more chicken shops opened than closed, which at a particularly difficult time for high-street retail, is really quite astonishing.
Its popularity comes down to a number of factors - certainly, its convenience will be a factor as much as anything else - you won't need to travel far in a city before you wander past chicken shop! Fried chicken's relative neutrality, flavour-wise, gives it wide appeal too - there are spices and herbs, but the predominant flavouring is usually just salt. It's cheap to produce - a major boon for any food retail outlet. Finally, as mentioned at the top, it is completely delicious - it's moreish flavour/texture combination is incredibly appealing.
But what makes it so unhealthy? Well, unfortunately, there are a number of things at play here...
First of all the dish contains plenty of refined carbs. No matter what the dredge (the dry coating that turns crispy when fried), you are looking at some pretty high levels of refined carbs - whether the standard flour-based coating, breaded chicken found in many supermarkets, or even homestyle versions made with cornflakes, there's no getting away from the carby elephant in the room. For more information on the perils of excessive consumption of refined carbs, check out nutritionist Gemma Shorter's blog.
Secondly, the chicken is fried in fat. Not just any fat - but varieties that are high in trans fats - hydrogenated vegetable oil being the most likely cooking medium to be used in most chicken outlets. Not only does this kind of fat add calories to your meal, but it is also linked to high cholesterol and inflammation in the body that can lead to heart disease, diabetes and strokes.
So that's already bad fats AND refined carbs combined!
Thirdly, the quality of the chicken will not be paramount in your average chicken shop. Animal welfare issues aside (and they are big issues that can't really just be brushed aside), there is plenty of evidence that suggests higher-welfare birds are far superior from a nutritional point of view too. For example, a higher welfare bird will be lower in fat and have up to 565% higher levels of Omega 3 than a battery-farmed bird.
Finally, there is the gluten-free issue. If you are gluten intolerant, you can pretty much forget about being catered for in the world of fried chicken.
Lo-Dough to the fried-chicken lover's rescue!
This is where Lo-Dough's Southern Style Coating comes into its own:
1. It is super low in carbs (approx 3.1g per portion) - most of those carbs coming from the spices - not from refined flours or breadcrumbs and such like.
2. It is designed to be baked rather than fried. With just a hint of oil added to help it cook, you have the option to use healthy oils (Extra virgin olive, avocado or even low-cal sprays). Lo-Dough chicken is certainly not a greasy affair!
3. You will know exactly the quality of the chicken you are coating. Free-range, organic, corn-fed. It's your choice. You can also choose to go skin on or skinless! You don't even have to coat chicken at all - many veg work brilliantly.
4. Our coating is 100% gluten-free.
If looking for a healthier, delicious, spicy southern style chicken fix - then make it with the Lo-Dough Southern Style Coating.