Difference between white and dark meat
White meat vs dark meat:
Meat is undoubtedly one of the main providers of protein in our diets and a favorite component of our day to day meals as well. However, dark meat and white meat, even though they are found on the same animal most often, are often distinguished as two sorts of meat and are commented upon separately. The distinction between white and dark meat has indeed been a source of confusion for many as they are said to be possessing their own unique characteristics which set apart their identities.
What is white meat?
White meat, also referred to as light meat, is the lighter colored meat which is found in the breast area of poultry. Pork is also considered as a white meat owing to its lightness of color. The above mentioned meat is white because the fuel for these muscle fibers comes primarily from a carbohydrate called glycogen which is a polysaccharide of glucose, an animal starch and this specific area does not require much oxygen from the blood to function. Glycogen is only useful for short outbursts of activity such as the energy required to fly the short distance that a turkey or a chicken would fly when they have been startled. Animal starch is known to store in the liver and it is broken down in to glucose when it is needed by the white muscle.
What is dark meat?
Dark meat, which is found on the leg, wing and thigh area of poultry, are fueled by fat as they require more sustainable energy for various activities like standing, running and etc. They have more myoglobin proteins, which help carry oxygen to muscle cells. Dark meat obtains its color because they are used comparatively more than other muscles. When cooked, these myoglobins turn into metmyoglobins, which are very high in iron.
What is the difference between dark meat and white meat?
Dark meat and white meat are highly distinguishable because of their color difference. Dark meat tends to have a darker color and is found on the leg, thigh and wing area of an animal whereas white meat is often lighter in color and is found on the breast area of poultry.
Dark meat is dark because these areas are used more for prolonged activity as opposed to white meat. Dark meat is made dark because of the presence of myoglobin proteins which turn in to metmyoglobins, which are very high in iron. White meat on the other hand, contains glycogen which is an animal starch that gets stored in the liver until further use. In addition to the above mentioned differences, the two meats differ largely with regards to their nutritional content as well. Most dark meat tends to contain more zinc, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, vitamins B6 and B12, amino acids, iron than white meat and also dark beef meat is known to consist 11 times more zinc than tuna, and about 3 times as much iron than raw spinach. Dark chicken and turkey meat is known to contain more of vitamins A, K, B6, B12, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, minerals as selenium, phosphorus and zinc when compared to white meat. However, dark meats are also considered as unhealthy because of the presence of high amounts of saturated fats which are found within the meat, along with omega-3 and omega-6 fats which are essential for the body. on the other hand, white meats do not contain any essential fatty acids in them.
Because white meat is leaner and tenderer as well as thinner than red meat, white meat tends to cook much sooner than dark meats which take a considerably higher amount of time to cook. Because of this, certain meats such as turkey and chicken are often cooked upside down so that the breast areas which contain white meat are protected by the legs and the wings which receive more heat in this manner. With regards to flavor as well, differences ensue. Dark meat has a more robust, game like flavor whereas white meat tends to be rather mild and limpid in flavor. However, white meat is more popular because of the low amount of calories present in it when compared with dark meat which contains about 30% more fat than white meat from the same bird.