The most commonly eaten duck in the U.S. is the Pekin, and the meat is primarily taken from the breast and the legs. Duck is a particularly succulent meat, primarily because of its high fat content. While duck offers a plentitude of nutritional value, including healthy fats, protein, minerals and vitamins, it is high in unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol.
The majority of the weight and caloric value of duck comes from fat. Raw duck meat, containing both the skin and flesh, contains 39.34 grams of fat per 100 grams. Fat contains 9 calories per 1 gram, so a 100 gram serving of duck meat contains about 354 calories from fat. Most adults need about 56 to 77 grams of fat each day, according to the American Heart Association.
The majority of the fat in duck meat is healthy, monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat can help reduce your low-density lipoprotein, or unhealthy cholesterol, levels and improve your overall cardiovascular health. Of the 39.34 grams of total fat in a 100 gram serving of duck meat, about 18.7 grams come from monounsaturated fats.
Duck meat also contains an abundance of saturated fat, with over 13 grams per 100 gram serving. While monounsaturated fat lowers blood cholesterol, saturated fat intake is associated with elevated LDL cholesterol levels and increased cardiovascular risk. Major health organizations vary slightly in their recommended maximum daily saturated fat intake, with the American Heart Association being the strictest, advising 7 percent of total caloric intake.
Duck meat contains about 5 grams of polyunsaturated fats per 100-gram serving. Like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats can help lower LDL cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health. Polyunsaturated fats may also lower blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat should comprise the vast majority of your dietary fat intake.
A 100-gram serving of duck meat contains 76 milligrams of cholesterol. Cholesterol is a compound lipid, found only in animal products. This natural animal lipid is similar to saturated fat and can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease when consumed in excess. Both the USDA and AHA recommend consuming less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day, and 200 mg or less if you have a history of cardiovascular problems.