Turkey vs. Chicken vs. Rabbit: Nutrition and Health Comparison

Summary

Rabbit meat provides more minerals and less sodium, whereas turkey meat contains more vitamins. In contrast, chicken meat is lower in cholesterol.

All three types of meat have equal glycemic indexes: 0.

Introduction

Despite similarities, chicken, rabbit, and turkey meat have several key factors that differentiate them. We’ll discuss the main differences in their nutrition and health impact.

What’s The Actual Difference?

Chicken, turkey, and rabbit meat are white meat; however, chicken and turkey meat are considered poultry, the meat of domesticated birds. Poultry meat is white meat due to its low myoglobin content; however, the meat of mammals is classified as red meat. Rabbit meat is classified as game meat, obtained through hunting for sport or food.

Chicken meat is lighter in color than rabbit and turkey meat. Rabbit and turkey meat have a more robust, denser flavor, closer to red meat than chicken. However, chicken and turkey meat are usually said to have similar tastes. You can visit the “turkey vs. chicken” page for more information.

Nutrition

They have similar nutritional profiles because chicken, rabbit, and turkey meat are white meat.

Vitamins and Minerals

Based on rabbit meat nutrition facts, it has higher mineral profiles, whereas turkey meat has more vitamins.

Rabbit meat contains more calcium, iron, zinc, and copper and less sodium than turkey and chicken meat. In addition, rabbit meat falls in the range of the top 11% of foods as a source of iron.

On the other hand, turkey meat has more Vitamin D, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, folate, and Vitamin B6 than chicken and rabbit meat.

Chicken meat has higher amounts of Vitamin A, B1, and Vitamin K among these three types of meat.

Micronutrients

Rabbit meat contains a higher protein content than chicken and turkey meat. It has 33g of protein per 100g, whereas both chicken and turkey meat have 28g of protein.

The number of calories in chicken meat is higher than that of rabbit and turkey: Chicken meat has 239 calories,turkey meat has 189 calories, and rabbit meat has 173 calories per 100g.

Rabbit meat has low-fat content. It has nearly four times the fat content of chicken and turkey meat. It is also important to note that chicken meat contains low saturated fats and that most of its fat content is made up of unsaturated fats.

Rabbit and chicken meat have no net carbs, whereas turkey meat has a tiny amount of net carbs: 0.06g. You can read more about turkey meat nutrition in our “Turkey Nutrition Facts” article.

Glycemic Index

As all three types of meats do not contain a significant amount of carbohydrates, they have a glycemic index calculated as 0.

Health Impact

Diabetes

Research on poultry consumption has confirmed the absence of a statistically significant relationship between increasing weekly chicken, rabbit, and turkey consumption and the development of diabetes [1].

Regarding meat consumption and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it’s not just the product that matters but also how it’s prepared. Although chicken meat contains more saturated fat than turkey meat, it also contains more healthy polyunsaturated fat. Cooking meat at high temperatures, such as grilling and barbecuing, raises the risk of type 2 diabetes compared to cooking at low temperatures, such as boiling, steaming, and stir-frying [2].

Conjugated linoleic fatty acid, a molecule found in rabbit meat, may have anti-obesity, anti-carcinogenic, and diabetes-relieving properties [3].

However, processed meat is positively associated with increased risks of type 2 diabetes, so it is better to consume it in moderation.

Cancer

Consumption of white meat is thought to have a protective or neutral effect on the risk of various cancers [4].

Consumption of unprocessed white may reduce the risk of colorectal, esophageal, and lung cancer. The lower heme-iron content of poultry may explain this beneficial effect [5]. Furthermore, there are lower cancer incidence rates compared to the positive association between red meat and cancer development. Nevertheless, processed meat is positively associated with increased cancer risks, so be mindful of its consumption.

Cardiovascular Health

One study [6] linked white and red meat consumption to a slight increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, while red meat slightly increases the risk of all-cause mortality, poultry does not.

The National Heart Foundation of Australia [7] concluded that, while poultry may not be beneficial to cardiovascular health, there is insufficient evidence to recommend limiting its consumption.

Even though poultry is healthier than red meat in terms of cardiovascular health, fish and vegetables may be better options.

Weight Loss Diets

Rabbit, turkey, and chicken meat can be consumed in the Keto diet as they have no net carbs. Also, they contain a good amount of protein. However, because rabbit meat is high in protein and low in fat, it is essential to associate it with good fats during the keto diet.

All three can also be consumed in other low-carb diets, such as Atkins and Dukan (Attack phase) [8].

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462824/
  2. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2018/03/23/how-meat-is-cooked-may-affect-risk-of-type-2-diabetes/
  3. http://cuniculture.info/Docs/Magazine/Magazine2008/FiguresMag2008/Congres-2008-Verone/Papers/Q0-Hernandez.pdf
  4. https://osher.ucsf.edu/patient-care/integrative-medicine-resources/cancer-and-nutrition/faq/animal-protein-cancer-risk
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208759/
  6. https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/42/12/1136/6032616?login=false
  7. https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/getmedia/d0671d24-16aa-4dff-8555-0c07e61c11ee/Evidence_Check_Review_Meat_and_CVD_FINAL_2019.pdf
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC524027/

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