Dr Oz: Why Does Chicken Taste Different
Dr Oz explained that he was going to help his viewers build a healthier relationship with food. First, he wanted to explore why chicken doesn’t taste like it used to. Dr Oz said all consumers have the right to answer questions and know what they’re putting in their bodies. To find out why chicken doesn’t taste the same, Dr Oz sent Mark Schatzker, journalist and author of “The Dorito Effect” to a farm in Indiana. An Indiana farmer explained that chickens are no longer raised the same way.
Dr Oz: How Chickens Are Raised
Most chickens today don’t live on farms, and nowadays, most chickens are cooped up inside “farms” that look more like factories, and inside there could be as many as 25,000 birds. They spend their entire lives doing nothing but eating. As for what’s in chicken feed, they eat corn, soybean meal, and vitamin/trace mineral mix. The feed is designed to make the chickens grow faster. Certain studies show that the flavor of chicken is influenced by what it eats, which could be the reason for the bland flavor of chicken.
It was then shown that most commercial chicken is actually soaked in bleach water for 90 minutes which washes out a lot of the flavor. To avoid that, some companies air-chill their chicken in a fridge to keep the flavor. So what does a slow-grown, pasture-raised chicken taste like? It actually tastes like chicken!
Dr Oz: Pasture-Raised Vs Factory-Farmed Chicken
Dr Oz then talked to Mark, who explained that the pasture-raised chicken looks a lot different than the typical chicken we buy. The pasture-raised chicken was raised for 14 weeks, whereas the factory-farmed ones were only raised for 6 weeks. The 6-week chickens even look bigger, and Mark explained that if a human baby grew at the same rate as a factory-farmed chicken, the baby would weight 660 pounds at 2 months of age.
Dr Oz explained that years ago, the average chicken we ate was three pounds. Plus, chicken was only eaten on special occasions. Then World War II happened and people in America started to eat a lot more chicken. A supermarket commissioned the chicken of tomorrow contest and farmers competed to see who could raise a chicken the fastest. The chicken that won that contest grew two weeks faster than the rest. The chicken industry realized they could breed chickens to grow faster, and it’s gotten even faster since then. Chicken is now the number one protein, with 30 billion pounds of it eaten each year.
Dr Oz: Healthier Chicken
Mark explained that you are what you eat. There is a lot of omega-3’s in grass and when chickens eat grass, they are loaded with omega-3’s which turn into complex fatty acids, which are good for us. Dr Oz reached out to the National Chicken Council who said, in part, ” Whether it is traditional chicken, organic, or free range, consumers have the ability to choose products that take into account many factors, including taste preference, personal values and affordability. The ability to perceive flavor difference doesn’t imply one is better than the other.”
Do you pay attention to the type of chicken you eat and where it comes from?
Dr Oz: Buying The Right Kind Of Chicken
Dr Oz then turned to his audience to hear from them. One woman shared that she likes to serve her daughters chicken often and she tries to buy organic and hormone-free, but she doesn’t really know what’s best. Dr Oz said the chicken you buy actually matters. Another woman showed that she typically buys boneless, skinless chicken breast. The label’s ingredients included chicken broth and Mark Schatzker explained that they’re doing it because the chicken is bland and needs flavor.
Even more importantly, Mark explained that we’re making unhealthy changes to our chicken to try and add flavor, which is obviously a problem.
Dr Oz: Heritage-Styled, Pastured Chicken Vs Organic Chicken
As for the differences, Mark said his chicken of choice is a heritage-style, pastured chicken. Heritage means it’s slower growing and pastured means it’s lived outside in farmer’s fields eating bugs, grass, and seeds. The problem is that these chickens cost double the other chicken and sometimes you have to go to a specialty store to find it.
As for organic chicken, Mark explained that organic is his number two choice because it’s still raised in factories, but it at least has access to the outdoors. It also has no antibiotics or pesticides.