Chicken offers a rich source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It tends to be a bit lower in fat and saturated fat than red meat, but with a similar protein content. The breast is the leanest cut of the chicken, and it contains the least amount of sodium and cholesterol. A chicken breast tends to weigh at least 3 to 5 oz., and the USDA provides nutritional values that are based on a serving size of just over 3 oz. However, this information can be used to estimate the nutritional value for a 1-oz. serving of chicken breast.
An 3-oz. serving of chicken breast with both the meat and the skin contains 150 calories. Therefore, a 1-oz. serving of chicken breast contains 50 calories. Most adults need between 1,800 and 2,200 calories a day to support their energy needs and maintain their current weight, so a 1-oz. serving of chicken breast accounts for about 2.5 percent of the typical adult's daily caloric needs.
Chicken breast is high in protein, with about 18 grams per 3-oz. serving. A one-oz. serving of chicken breast contains about 6 grams of protein. Most adults need between 50 and 175 grams of protein per day, depending on their activity level, so a 1-oz. serving of chicken breast contains about 3 to 12 percent of the typical adult's protein needs.
Fats and Cholesterol
A 1-oz. serving of chicken breast contains about 2.7 grams of fat and 19 mg of cholesterol. Each 1-oz. serving contains about 0.8 grams of saturated fat and 1.7 grams of unsaturated fat. Saturated fats can raise your blood cholesterol and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, while unsaturated fats can lower your blood cholesterol, reduce your blood pressure and irregular heartbeats and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. The majority of your fat should come from unsaturated sources, while saturated fat should account for less than 7 percent of your total calories. Cholesterol can cause arterial buildup when it's consumed in excess, and most adults should consume less than 300 mg of this waxy substance per day.
Meat products are usually very high in minerals. Minerals are inorganic compounds that the body can not manufacture on its own. They play a central role in nerve conduction, fluid balance and metabolic functions. Chicken breasts contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. A 1-oz. serving of chicken breast contains about 18 mg of sodium, a mineral that you need in small amounts. However, sodium can cause high blood pressure when it is consumed in excess. The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises people to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium each day.
Chicken breasts are also high in many vitamins. Vitamins are organic compounds that are needed for tissue growth and immune system function. A 1-oz. serving of chicken breast contains all of the B-vitamin complex, as well as vitamins A, E, D and K.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans; 2010 (.pdf)
- Institute of Medicine; Dietary Reference Intakes; Macronutrients; 2005
- American Heart Association: Saturated Fats; October 2010
- Mayo Clinic: Dietary Fats; Know Which Types to Choose; February 2011