by Karen Davis, PhD Many people switch from beef to chicken, believing chicken to be a healthier food choice. For decades we've been told that chicken is lower in fat and cholesterol than red meat, so it's ironic that during this time, obesity has risen dramatically in Americans, including young children. Chicken consumption isn't the prime culprit, but it isn't blameless either.
Contrary to the myth of lean cuisine, chicken flesh contains more fat than ever before -- at least 15 percent more than in the 1960s. In 1988, the National Research Council noted that genetic selection for body weight bred chickens whose systems could not properly synthesize the high calorie diet they were being forced to eat. The excess food was deposited as lipids and chickens developed not only grossly enlarged muscle tissue but pathological obesity (Gyles), aided by growth promoting antibiotics.
On March 11, 2014, On Point, hosted by Tom Ashbrook on National Public Radio, discussed a possible link between animal consumption, antibiotics, and overweight. "Do Antibiotics Make Us Fat?" asked whether "antibiotics plump up humans the same way they do animals." Do the high levels of Salmonella and other pathogens in animal products put consumers at risk not only of foodborne illness but of weight gain linked to the cumulative effects of antibiotic residues in chickens and other animals being eaten?