Versatile fried chicken is both a homemade comfort food and a familiar offering at fast-food restaurants. You can eat it as a main course or have it in sandwiches or salads, but consider fried chicken nutritional value before choosing this food.
Fried chicken breasts may have some nutritional advantages over fried dark-meat chicken or fatty hamburgers, but too much fried chicken, no matter what kind it is, isn't good for you. It's best to either grill the chicken breasts or eat the fried chicken in moderation.
Read more: How to Bake a Plain Chicken Breast
Fried Chicken Breast Nutrition
The exact nutrient content of your fried chicken depends on specific factors, such as the serving size, whether you eat the skin and any additional ingredients in the recipe. There are 230 calories in fried chicken — in 3.5-ounce serving, according to the USDA. Nearly half of the calories are from added fats and starches. A fried chicken breast provides:
- 23.5 grams of protein
- 6 grams of carbohydrates
- 12.4 grams of total fat
- 3.3 grams of saturated fat
- 0.2 grams of trans fats
- 92 milligrams of cholesterol
According to the American Heart Association, saturated fats should make up no more than 5 to 6 percent of your daily intake. For example, if you consume 2,000 calories per day, that's a maximum of 13 grams of saturated fats. Trans fats are the least healthy type of fat, because they raise your LDL cholesterol and lower levels of healthy HDL cholesterol in your blood.
In the past few decades, professionals recommended limiting cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams per day. However, according to the American Heart Association, current research is not sufficient to prove that dietary cholesterol increases blood cholesterol levels. But foods high in cholesterol are also frequently high in saturated fats. Cholesterol is in fatty animal foods, such as meat, full-fat cheese and butter.
Get Your Vitamins and Minerals
Fried chicken breast nutrition also provides 8 milligrams of niacin, around 50 percent of the daily value per serving, according to the National Academies of Sciences. It has 655 milligrams of sodium and 282 milligrams of potassium.
A high-sodium, low-potassium diet can cause high blood pressure and increase your risk of developing heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, daily sodium intake should be no higher than 2,300 milligrams — or 1,500 milligrams if you have risk factors for heart disease.
This chicken also has 0.7 milligrams of iron, or 9 percent of the daily value. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, iron is important for red blood cell production and assists with the transfer of oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
Try Air Frying
If you enjoy the taste of fried chicken breasts, but want a healthier alternative, try using an air fryer. The air fryer — an appliance that fits on the counter-top — circulates air at high temperature to fry food without the need for oil. According to the Cleveland Clinic, using an air fryer reduces overall calorie intake significantly.
- American Heart Association: "The Skinny on Fats"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Fast Foods, Fried Chicken, Breast, Meat and Skin and Breading"
- National Academies of Sciences: "Vitamins and Minerals"
- American Heart Association: "Get the Scoop on Sodium and Salt"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Iron"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Air-Frying: Is It As Healthy As You Think?"
- American Heart Association: "New Federal Guidelines May Lift Dietary Cholesterol Limits"