Close your eyes and hear that sizzle in the frying pan as the air permeates with the smell of home goodness. Mmmm, mmm… Licking those lips, trying to keep from jumping over moms as she fries up the best dang chicken you eva’ had. Oh yeah, nothing like digging your teeth into that real, meaty goodness as the grease slides down your chin from each bite. Sounds tempting, yes?
Okay, now close your eyes again and picture pools of fat pockets growing rapidly around your waist, thighs, belly and heart. Imagine fighting for breath as your fat-storing arteries slowly clog and cause crushing pains in your chest.
The first is a comforting reminder of a favorite food and the second is the result of eating too much of that favorite food. It’s a simple fact that you can no longer avoid and it’s time to recognize what your love of fried fat is actually doing to your insides. Let’s keep it one hundred here: Your favorite fried chicken is loaded with saturated fat, an artery clogging, cholesterol raising, heart stopping, “oh no you didn’t go there” problem!
What is Fat?
Calories in food supply the body with energy. You need a certain amount of calories each day to keep up with daily tasks like breathing, moving and grooving along with the flow of activity. Fat forms from eating more calories than the body needs. Although fat serves a purpose inside the body, too much fat causes it to collect inside your arteries, which are the heart’s highway systems for moving blood to and from your organs. Just like a traffic jam in rush hour, the arteries can get clogged and cause major backups. Unlike the actual highway, if you have a jam-up in the arteries, your health becomes compromised. Arterial clogs prevent blood flow and this forces the heart to work harder to push blood through to its proper destination. Clogs and extra force can stop your heart or cause a stroke from restricting oxygenated blood from reaching the brain.
Saturated fat, the kind you munch down when you gnaw on that delicious fried chicken, is the number one stunna of the cardiovascular highway. Too much increases your risk of heart disease, which is the main killer in America! Saturated fat comes mostly from animal-based foods. It is thick and remains mostly solid at room temperature. When you fry a food containing saturated fat, essentially, you increase the fat content of that food. Overtime, eating foods high in saturated fat causes plaque and cholesterol to buildup in your arteries.
Fried chicken is one of many foods that hustle your health. Bacon, sausage and fried pork chops also do the trick. The methods you use to cook your food can be just as scandalous to your health as the food itself, if not more. So what to do?
Reducing Saturated Fat Consumption
You don’t have to give up the goods altogether to get healthy but you might consider making a few sacrifices for the cause.
Start slow by cutting your weekly consumption of fried foods in half. If you visit the fast-food joint for a round of gizzards and fried drummies four times a week, cut back. If you really want to impress, skip the fried meal completely and opt to cook something healthier at home. If you just can’t live without quarter wing night every week, ok, but how about you order 10 instead of 20, for the sake of good health!
Try new recipes for chicken that taste delicious and provide less total fat per serving. Oven fried chicken is a healthy alternative to greasy fat-fried chicken. Remove the fatty skin from uncooked chicken, dip each piece in low-fat buttermilk and then a floured seasoning, place the chicken on a baking sheet or in an oven-friendly dish and then cook it on 450°F for 35 to 40 minutes, turning it once after 20 minutes.
Read food labels and put down the items with too much fat per serving. The nutrition facts label, located on most packaged foods, gives you an exact reading of saturated fat per serving of the food item. Get heart-healthy by eating fewer than 16 grams of saturated fat per day, if you follow the standard 2,000-calories-a-day-diet. In other words, make no more than 7 percent of your total calories eaten in a day come from saturated fat.
Click here to watch Fat Joe talk about the difference between fried chicken and grilled chicken and how he says NO!