Can you eat chicken on a keto diet?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat chicken on a keto diet?” This article will present an in-depth analysis of the keto diet, the intake of chicken on a keto diet and the ways to add chicken to our keto diet. In addition, we will also discuss the pros and cons of chicken ingestion on a keto diet.

Can you eat chicken on a keto diet?

Yes, you can eat chicken on a keto diet, as it is low in carbs and it contains a high content of proteins. The thighs of chicken are more beneficial to eat on a keto diet because of high-fat content that makes you feel full for a longer time and it also helps to lose weight (1-4).

What is a keto diet?

The keto diet is a truly low carbohydrate and high-fat diet,  it has many characteristics in common with the Atkins and low-carb diets (4).

A ketogenic diet involves considerably decreasing carbohydrate consumption below than 50 g a day, and substituting it with fat and proteins (4,5,6). 

Since your body usually uses carbohydrates as the main energy source, when it runs out of substrate (carbs), you will start to use fats as an energy source instead of carbs (4,5,6).

This change of using fats as an energy source is a metabolic phase known as ketosis (4,5,6).

When this happens, the body becomes extra proficient at burning fat for energy. It also transforms fat into ketones in the liver, which can give energy to the brain (4,5,6).

However, your body can be tempted to use some proteins from your muscles to make energy; this could result in muscle mass loss. Therefore, it is important to eat a proper amount of proteins and exercise frequently (4,5,6).

What are the health benefits of a keto diet?

As everything has its own positive and negative aspects. In the same way, the keto diet has its benefits which are stated as (4,5,6):

  • Ketogenic diets can cause notable reductions in blood glucose and insulin levels, helpful to control diabetes. 
  • A keto diet could help regulate the lipoproteins, cholesterol, and triacylglycerols on blood; hence, it could reduce the risks of cardiovascular risk. .
  • It is discussed that it could regulate  the brain functioning level, useful to reduce epilepsy episodes.
  • It also helps to lose weight and body fat mass due to less carb and high fat consumption.

You can find related information about the keto diet in this article.

Regarding the health concerns about keto diet, one of the most common consequences are nutritional deficiencies, especially in vitamin C and fiber due to the low intake of fruits and vegetables (4,5,6).

A deficiency of vitamin C and fiber will lead to a weak immune system, as well as higher risk of constipation (4,5,6).

What is the nutritional composition of chicken?

Chicken is rich in high quality proteins (which will be discussed in a few paragraphs)  and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals that nourish your body. A 100 g serving of cooked chicken provides:

Chicken thighsChicken breastChicken wings
Energy179 calories165 calories254 calories
Proteins24.8 g31 g23.8 g
Carbohydrates0 g0 g0 g
Fat8.15 g 3.57 g16.9 g
Cholesterol113 mg85 mg141 mg
Niacin6.21mg13.7 mg6.32 mg
Selenium27.1 microgram27.6 micrograms25.5 micrograms
Phosphorus230 mg228 mg147 mg
Vitamin B60.462 mg0.6 mg0.558 mg
Vitamin B120.42 microgram0.34 microgram0.35 micrograms
Riboflavin0.218 mg0.114 mg0.153 mg
Iron1.13 mg1.04 mg0.84 mg
Zinc1.92 mg1 mg1.64 mg
Thiamine0.096 mg0.07 mg0.065 mg
Copper0.067 mg0.049 mg0.041 mg

Adapted from USDA FoodData Central (1,2,3).

As you can see, the different pieces of chicken can provide you with different types of nutrients. You can choose the piece that better fits your needs in terms of fats and proteins.

If you want to know your exact requirements, you should look for a nutritionist’s advice; he or she will adjust all your macronutrients requirements.

What are  the health benefits of eating chicken?

Protein plays a significant role in constructing and repairing the tissues of the body, and also has a role in the maintenance of muscle mass (7). 

Furthermore, protein is also critical for creating immune cells, hormones, enzymes and even neurotransmitters. Therefore, proteins are required for almost all metabolic processes in your body, and overall, a good health (7).

Selenium is a trace mineral that plays a vital role in the maintenance of a good thyroid function, and boosts the immune system of the body thanks to its antioxidant properties (8).

Chicken is also a significant source of vitamins such as B6, B12, niacin that is important in brain health, synthesis of DNA and, it also helps to an efficient metabolism of macronutrients, hence, producing energy in the body to perform daily activities (8).

In short, we can say that chicken is a good source of many key nutrients that play a significant role in body maintenance.

Take a look at this website to learn a lot of delicious recipes for chicken.

What are some health concerns of eating chicken?

The health concerns of eating chicken are determined by the way you prepare chicken rather than the chicken by itself.

Fried chicken such as chicken nuggets, popcorn, and chicken tenders is not as healthy as a grilled chicken;these are also unhealthy preparations because  they have more calories, oxidized fats due to frying, and carbs (9).

Chicken is also processed to produce sausages, ham, and similar products.  The additives like nitrites and nitrates, and the high concentration of sodium in processed meat also enhances the risk factor for heart diseases, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes (10,11).

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

Can you eat chicken during lent?

Can you eat cooked chicken left out overnight?

Can you eat cream of chicken soup by itself?


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat chicken on keto?” This article presented an  in-depth analysis of the keto diet, the intake of chicken on a keto diet and the ways to add chicken to our keto diet. In addition, we will also discuss the pros and cons of chicken ingestion on a keto diet.


  1. FoodData central [Internet]. [cited 21 June 2023]. Available from:
  1. FoodData central [Internet]. [cited 21 June 2023]. Available from: 
  1. FoodData central [Internet]. [cited 21 June 2023]. Available from:
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