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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Jessica

Is chicken a healthier meat option? KFC advertises it as having “zero grams of trans fat.” While KFC’s chicken may be free of trans fat, it is not short on saturated fat, which may be associated with decreased rates of survival in those diagnosed with breast cancer. A list put out by the National Cancer Institute rates chicken as number five on the top sources of saturated fat. Also, studies have shown that switching from beef to chicken and fish may not lead to lower cholesterol.

Furthermore, when meats are grilled or fried, heterocyclic amines are formed, which may be carcinogenic. Chicken may also contain the potentially carcinogenic chemical called PBDE and arachidonic acid, a compound associated with inflammation and implicated in diseases such as cancer, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders.

Okinawa, which has been studied due to the longevity of its residents and their lower rates of diseases such as heart disease and cancer, now is home to at least 12 KFC locations—and over time has witnessed decreases in its average lifespan. Average diets there also now contain three times the saturated fat and sodium compared to prior, more traditional Okinawan diets.

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