If You Prefer Dark Meat Turkey, You're Right

Photographed by Winnie Au.
Do you want white meat or dark? It's an eternal question — and one that has divided households for as long as we can remember. A totally informal and wildly unscientific poll of Refinery29 health staffers revealed the following: first, stuffing is the best Thanksgiving side (please don't try to argue with us on that); and second, dark meat is considered tastier, while white meat is supposedly "healthier."

We're not here to urge you to make decisions based on "health" during Thanksgiving, but we do think it's worth pointing out that if you take a good look at the nutrition packed into each piece, you'll see there are just as many health reasons to love dark meat as white meat.

White meat fans have long claimed that their favorite cuts are healthier because they have fewer calories. And they're not wrong — but the differences are smaller than they might realize: One three-ounce serving of white meat with skin (come on, it's Thanksgiving! Eat the skin!) contains about 160 calories. The same amount of dark meat with skin contains 190.

When we talked to Kim Larson, RDN and spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, earlier this year, she told us that dark meat also tends to get a bad reputation because of its fat content. And again, it's true that a serving of dark meat with the skin contains about three grams of fat, which is one whole gram more than you'll find in white meat with skin.

But Larson says dark meat also has some unique nutritional benefits that white meat can't touch. For instance, dark meat has about twice the iron content of white meat. It also comes with zinc and a whole bunch of B vitamins.

The lesson here? Whichever side you're on, maybe this Thanksgiving we can all agree to get out of our comfort zones a little bit. Your plate — and your stomach — is big enough for both.

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