Is Chicken High in Cholesterol? Let’s Find Out

Alpa Momaya

December 16, 2022

Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance made by the liver in our body. One can get cholesterol from foods as well. There is an ongoing concern about diet increasing cholesterol levels in the body. There are several myths about foods high in cholesterol as well. 

One can also get cholesterol from specific foods, such as animal and dairy products. As regards chicken, the most prevalent type of poultry in the world, the parts you consume and how you cook them will determine how chicken impacts the body’s cholesterol levels and general health.

Cholesterol is frequently discussed negatively, with many severely criticising its importance. Of course, everyone needs a certain amount of cholesterol to help the cells produce hormones and digest fat, but having too much of it is not a good idea.

As a result, regulating your cholesterol and preventing it from rising too high necessitates a cautious and balanced diet. For example, one in which carefully selected and cooked chicken can play a role. 

This article can explain cholesterol levels in chicken and how to consume it to maintain a healthy cholesterol level for your general health.

Cholesterol and Your Health

Your liver and intestines produce cholesterol because your body requires it for various critical tasks. Cholesterol is significant since it can help with the following:-

  • Cell building.
  • Produce vitamin D
  • Create hormones such as testosterone and oestrogen.
  • Produce fat-dissolving bile acids, which are necessary for digestion.

The liver and intestines manufacture around 80% of the cholesterol in your body. The remaining 20% is derived from animal products such as eggs, meat (including chicken), seafood, cheese, and other high-fat dairy products.

Cholesterol, as fat, cannot pass through your body on its own. To do so, it binds to lipoproteins, which is why cholesterol is often referred to as LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). The LDL and HDL levels decide whether you have cholesterol or health problems.

The healthy cholesterol is HDL, which helps transport cholesterol back to the liver for elimination. LDL is referred to as bad cholesterol as it leads to fat deposition in the arteries.

Too much LDL cholesterol or too little HDL cholesterol might be harmful to your health. According to a study, both conditions can cause cholesterol to build up in your body, damaging your heart and brain.

Cholesterol And Chicken: The Cut Is Everything

Chicken skin can contain up to 80% of its total fat calories. Hence, chicken without skin is termed lean meat. 

The amount of fat and cholesterol in chicken is determined if using it with or without skin, as well as which cut of chicken one uses. Generally, poultry without skin and white meat cuts contain less cholesterol and saturated fats.

It implies that if you choose the wing, thigh, leg, or breast, the same 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving size has various quantities of cholesterol.

Let us look at each of these different cuts and their cholesterol levels.

Breast of Chicken

The breast is the way to go if you are searching for the leanest cut of meat. It is an excellent source of lean protein (without much-accompanying fat). That means that protein accounts for the majority of the calories in chicken breast.

People who consume enough protein are more likely to maintain muscle mass and a healthy metabolism. In addition, chicken breasts are flexible and inexpensive, so including them in a balanced, healthy eating plan makes sense.

According to the USDA, 100 gm of chicken breast contains

  • Calories – 165 kcal
  • Protein – 31g
  • Fat – 3.6g
  • Cholesterol – 86 mg

Chicken breast has to be the most adaptable meat. It is a white meat ideal for stir-fries, marinating and grilling, pan-frying, or oven-roasting with your favourite filling. Baked or poached chicken breasts can also be used in salads, sandwiches, or shredded and added to soups.

Chicken Thighs

Chicken thigh meat is darker, softer, and tastier than chicken breast because of its high-fat content. You can buy thigh fillets with skin and bone removed or thigh cutlets with skin and bone.

Thigh fillets are delicious in stir-fries or casseroles, cut or minced. In addition, you can use thigh cutlets in soups, salads, casseroles or baked goods.

According to the USDA, a 100 g serving of chicken thigh contains

  • Calories – 179 Kcal
  • Protein – 24.8g
  • Fat – 8.2g
  • Cholesterol – 133 mg

As a result, protein contributes 55% of calories, whereas fat accounts for 45%.

Chicken Wing

When you think about healthful cuts of chicken, chicken wings are probably not the first thing that springs to mind. They can, however, readily fit into a healthy diet as long as they are not coated in breading or sauce and are not deep-fried.

According to USDA, 100g of chicken wings contains  

  • Calories – 203 Kcal
  • Protein – 30.5 g
  • Fat – 8.1g
  • Cholesterol – 85 mg

Protein accounts for 64% of the calories, and fat accounts for 36%, which is very high and should be consumed in moderation.

Chicken Drumsticks

Chicken legs are in two parts: the thigh and the drumstick. The drumstick is the lowest section of the leg. They taste delicious when roasted with a sticky sauce or marinade; one enjoys them as lip-smacking finger food.

According to the USDA, 100g of chicken drumsticks contains

  • Calories – 155 Kcal
  • Protein – 24.2g
  • Fat – 5.7g
  • Cholesterol – 130 mg

Regarding calories, protein accounts for approximately 65% of the total, with fat accounting for the remaining 35%. Therefore, the chicken breast contains the least cholesterol, followed by the thighs, wings, and legs and has less cholesterol than any other cut and less fat than most cuts.

Different Chicken Preparations Can Affect Cholesterol Levels

You already know that a piece of chicken breast contains less cholesterol than any other cut. Also, please note that the part of the chicken used for cooking and the method of preparation influences cholesterol levels. 

The ingredients you add to your chicken meal can boost its nutritional worth, but some can also raise its cholesterol load. Vegetables have no cholesterol and can help you lower your total cholesterol levels. One can make healthy dishes with chicken breast and vegetables, such as stir-fried chicken with vegetables, chicken vegetable soups or stews. 

Sprinkle chopped nuts on the cooked chicken, such as pistachios, cashews, or macadamia nuts. Eating an ounce or so of nuts daily can help lower your cholesterol levels; the nuts themselves are cholesterol-free. Avoid creamy sauces, butter, and lard because they will significantly increase the cholesterol level of your chicken.

The method you cook your chicken also has an impact on how much cholesterol it contains. You will not add extra cholesterol to your supper if you bake or roast your chicken with simple herbs, spices, and seasonings. However, when fried in butter, each tablespoon adds extra 31 milligrams of cholesterol. If you replace the butter with olive oil and air-fry the same, it will be cholesterol-free, but the amount of oil used can impact the total fat levels.

According to one study, olive oil may help decrease cholesterol. Grilled chicken drizzled with olive oil rather than butter is another low-cholesterol option. Having chicken in recommended portion sizes can help keep cholesterol levels in check. One should limit the portion of chicken to 3 oz or 80-100 gms at a time.

The HealthifyMe Note

Knowing how to appreciate your favourite foods, such as chicken, is only one way to minimise cholesterol. While chicken is low in fat, it does contain cholesterol. The amount of cholesterol in a person’s diet depends on the part of the chicken they eat and how they prepare it. Chicken breasts have the lowest cholesterol level of any part of the bird, but bear in mind the preparation and cooking ways to get the most out of it.

Additional Methods For Lowering Cholesterol

There are many ways to lower cholesterol levels, including making lifestyle changes and adapting to a healthy lifestyle.

Lifestyle factors to consider include:


Reduce cholesterol by limiting saturated and trans fats in your diet. A diet rich in a range of nutritional foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, can also be beneficial.

Read more: Cholesterol Diet Plan – Types, Symptoms and Foods to Eat

Maintaining A Healthy Weight

Obesity causes elevated cholesterol levels in the body. As a result, it is vital to maintain a healthy body weight. However, research shows that losing a few kilos from your body weight can help you lower your cholesterol levels.


Incorporating a few minutes of exercise into one’s daily routine can substantially impact one’s metabolism and cholesterol levels. Try to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity.

Stress Management

Regular or chronic stress can raise “bad” cholesterol levels in the cardiovascular system while decreasing “good” cholesterol levels.

Quitting Smoking

Smoking has several negative health impacts, including boosting HDL, or bad cholesterol, and lowering LDL, or good cholesterol.

Manage Cholesterol Levels Like a Pro

To be healthy, you must make tiny modifications to your lifestyle. Reduced consumption of saturated fat is one such change. In addition to lifestyle changes, some people require medication to maintain good cholesterol levels.

Signing up for the HealthifyMe app is the simplest method to enhance your overall health and fitness. Speaking with one of HealthifyMe’s experienced coaches will help you fully comprehend the dietary and lifestyle changes you must make.

Furthermore, the most recent version of this app, HealthifyPro 2.0, provides real-time information about your health owing to more than 60 parameters in the metabolic panel testing. A qualified nutritionist will help create highly personalised, tried-and-true meal regimens based on your blood glucose levels, health metrics, and overall health state.

Food and activity impacts differ from individual to person. Indeed, you can utilise HealthifyPro to help you make food-related decisions. HealthifyMe also provides information to users and encourages them to make informed decisions. As a result, it allows you to live a healthy lifestyle.

A one-on-one appointment with a HealthifyMe health coach can help you design a food and activity plan that is ideal for your individual health needs. Furthermore, you may use HealthifyPRO 2.0 to track your nutrition, activity, and other health-related elements. It helps you to determine what you are doing correctly and incorrectly to regulate your cholesterol levels and live a healthy life.


The body requires cholesterol. Because your liver produces all the cholesterol your body needs, maintaining a healthy diet is critical to avoid high cholesterol levels.

Over time, excessive cholesterol levels in the blood can lead to various health issues, such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Furthermore, elevated cholesterol is related to weight gain.

Enjoying meat while trying to regulate or lower your cholesterol levels is feasible. Chicken has more to offer than simply flavour and adaptability; it may also be a low-fat, low-calorie component to any meal. When you choose the appropriate chicken cut, you get plenty of protein without consuming too much cholesterol.

About the Author

As the holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics from the University of Mumbai, Alpa Momaya has always understood the value of good nutrition in an individual's life. She is a Registered Nutritional Practitioner (Canada) with over 15 years of experience in the field. Specializing in Clinical Nutrition, Pre & Post Natal Diets, and Weight Management, Alpa found her calling as a Sr. Nutritionist with HealthifyMe. Alpa's love for cooking and good nutrition has seen her contribute several recipes to the HealthifyMe database over the years. Additionally, she takes a keen interest in reading and painting.

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