Many Americans are currently watching their weight, as well as their cholesterol levels. High serum cholesterol levels are associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. While some people choose to cut out meat from their diet altogether, meats like chicken and even duck can be consumed in moderation.
Duck meat is not an everyday food for most Americans. It’s harder to find in stores, but often served at upscale restaurants. In general, duck meat is fattier than other fowl meat, with an oilier taste. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, duck meat contains no carbohydrates, fiber or sugars, but it is rich in protein, iron and B vitamins, which are essential for the metabolism.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that all humans and animals naturally produce. It serves the purpose of creating hormones and allowing for the digestion of fat-soluble vitamins. While some cholesterol is beneficial, too much can be harmful for the heart. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams for healthy individuals, and to 200 milligrams per day for those with heart disease or high cholesterol.
Cholesterol in Duck Meat
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 1 ounce serving of duck meat has around 25 milligrams of cholesterol, whether the skin is on or off. Duck meat is rarely consumed in servings that small, however, so it is likely that a person will consume up to 100 milligrams or more of cholesterol when eating duck meat.
Dietary cholesterol is not the only thing that increases the cholesterol levels in the body. The American Heart Association states that saturated fat is actually the main cause of high cholesterol in the blood. Saturated fat is found only in animal products like milk, cheese, beef and duck meat. The United States Department of Agriculture states that 1 ounce of duck meat with the skin on has 3.7 grams of saturated fat, while 1 ounce with no skin has 1.1 grams of saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends keeping saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total calories every day.
While duck meat does contain cholesterol and saturated fat, it can still fit into the American Heart Association's recommendations for heart health, when eaten in small portion sizes. Eating only the breast of the duck, and eating it without the skin can also help reduce saturated fat and cholesterol content.