Ditch The Bucket
Over in America, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the original Buffalo chicken wing, according to the Washington, DC-based National Chicken Council (yes, there's a trade group for everything). Besides being messy, those syrupy-sauced wings are big fat calorie bombs - no thanks to a higher skin-to-meat ratio than any other popular cut of chicken, and an extended stay in the deep fryer. Just two full wings with their traditional blue cheese dip serves up 700 Calories. If you must wing, ditch the dip and serve grilled, oven-roasted or your local hawker's barbecued wings, which significantly cuts your fat intake. And think twice about finishing a whole bucket.
Americans aren't alone in their flappy food cravings. Chicken wings are a popular snack at hawker centres with food stalls specialising in good-old charcoal-BBQ wings. Then, there are the battered and marinated options such as prawn paste chicken wings that you should avoid. "Most marinades, especially with fish or seafood sauces, are very high in sodium," says nutritionist Elise Johnston, "which in excess can lead to high blood pressure." Stick with the BBQ ones, she suggests.
Grilled, broiled or air-fried wings are better because of the lower fat and sodium content, says Elise, explaining that "it's when you batter and then dunk them in the fryer that the bird goes bust." Health Promotion Board's food database reveals that a typical BBQ chicken wing contains 155 Calories and 11 grammes of fat - compared to KFC's hot and spicy offering of 190kcal and 13.3g fat, or Popeye's 210kcal, 14g fat wing.
Don't Binge On Wings
Chicken wings are divided into three parts - the mini drumstick, the two-boned flat and the wing tips - the first two commonly consumed around the world as "wings" while the third is included in Singaporean hawker fare. Those in the wing industry like to quip that until science finds a way to invent a six-winged chicken, that's all we'll be able to get out of them. However, the problem with wing bingeing is just how many dead birds it requires. When America's Chicken Council boasted that Americans devoured 1.25 billion of the ubiquitous hot wings at this year's Super Bowl alone, it should make anyone who cares about a more ethical and sustainable meat system take a pause.
Get a copy of Men's Health for health, fitness and lifestyle tips that are 100 per cent useful. Men's Health is published by SPH Magazines is available at all newsstands now.
Check out more stories at Men's Health online, www.menshealth.com.sg.
Also, look out for the July 2014 issue of Men's Health for these stories: