There are some people who just don’t believe in putting one toe in to test the waters. If you’re going to go, why not go all out?
While there are a lot of areas this advice can actually be pretty good, it’s generally not the best way to dive into the diet plan world. Finding a long-term sustainable eating plan can be a bit of a challenge, and there’s a reason so many people lose a lot of weight and then struggle to avoid putting it all back on.
The all chicken diet came to attention because of actor Matt Damon’s Reddit event where he revealed this is how he lost so much weight prior to the movie “Courage Under Fire” early in his career.
While there have been other mentions (and proponents) of the all chicken diet, it really has been that recent Reddit interview that really brought attention back to the fold.
Is this a good thing?
Is the “all chicken” diet really an eating plan that is worth pursuing? Read on to find out more!
Is the All Chicken Diet Better Than Other Diets?
This is the first question. When looking to see if the all chicken diet is a good option for you it’s important to look at what the all chicken diet is good compared to.
Compared to a diet of white sugar, soda pop, and junk food that is making someone morbidly obese and begging for a heart attack? Sure – for a short time that all chicken diet is definitely good especially in comparison.
What About Over the Long-Term?
While a lot of protein can definitely be a good thing to add to a diet since it helps fuel the muscles and keep you full, when the body takes in too much protein it will often convert extra protein into sugar.
For someone working out non-stop this might be less of an issue but this can backfire on someone who needs to rely mostly on diet for calorie burn.
There are some legitimate debates about how nutrition works that are undecided (take a look at the argument over carbs for a prime example or the long-standing fight of meat-eaters vs vegetarians vs vegans), but there’s no denying that the very extreme all chicken diet is very scarce on a wide array of vitamins and minerals to an extent that supplements can’t possibly cover over the long-term.
All Chicken Diet Pros & Cons
High levels of protein
Get some benefits of low-carb diets
Likely to lose a lot of weight, especially early on
Better than conventional junk food
Too much protein can become sugar
Devoid of the fats, minerals, and Vitamins you need to survive
Some studies suggest long-term high protein diets lead to shorter life spans vs. more balanced plans
Can lead to health issues given enough time
Anyone eating only skinless boneless chicken breast is going to enjoy a major caloric deficit because even an extremely large chicken breast that is just grilled will rarely have more than 220 calories with many smaller ones as low as 150 to 160 calories.
There is plenty of protein, but that’s about it.
Your body needs macro and micro nutrients to stay healthy, virtually none of which are found in chicken breast and the body needs fat to survive, with the ultra lean chicken breast will not provide enough of.
This is why “protein poisoning” exists, where a person in a wilderness survival situation can keep finding meat, but it’s so lean that they eventually starve to death anyway. That alone is why this diet is utterly unsustainable in the long-term.
Now if it’s being used as sort of a “shock” to get a morbidly obese person who is eating constantly to slow down, get less calories, and re-set the taste buds, doing this for several days or a week along with water isn’t the worst way to get a reset in there, but as a full-time diet, that is a tough sell.
This diet is going to be better than a heavy sugar, heavy junk food, heavy processed food diet that many people are on and this is doubly true for many morbidly obese who need some type of a reset to drop some weight fast and see results to encourage them and then slowly move towards a better plan.
Obviously a lot of chicken breast is better than a lot of white sugar, and so as a transition time or a replacement for a diet that is clearly already killing a person’s health – this is a better option.
Most sustainable diet plans out there.
Even if you are looking at a less accepted one like the carnivore diet, that still has red meat, fish, fatty meats – basically a variety of animal proteins that can provide at least some of the missing Vitamins, fats, and nutrients that the body needs to survive.
All Chicken Diet Alternatives
When looking at an eating plan that way, the all chicken diet looks even worse compared to plans like the Mediterranean Diet, the Ketogenic Diet, Whole Foods Diet, or a variety of other eating plans that are out there, like Nutrisystem and the South Beach Diet.
In almost all other circumstances the all chicken diet is not going to compare to these other options and it certainly is not going to be sustainable for any amount of time.
All Chicken Diet: What’s the Verdict?
While chicken tends to be one of the healthiest meats out there, there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.”
While there are good arguments that can be made for many low carb diets, even those have a balance that includes vegetables, fiber, and fats to give more of a balance.
While an all chicken diet that only involves boneless skinless chicken breast can certainly work for dramatic shot-term weight loss as well as providing protein for muscle building, it’s a long way from the best, most practical, or safest solution out there.
Many times adding in more healthily prepared chicken can be a great way to improve a current diet, but standing on it’s own the all chicken diet is one you should pass on.
Ben Corbin brings more than 20 years of experience as a health and wellness author and writer. He holds a master’s degree, has a passion for health and fitness, and is driven to provide readers with accurate and honest information. Learn more about Ben and the DadQuarters mission at our About page.