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What Is the Chicken Diet, and Does It Work for Weight Loss?

If you enjoy eating chicken almost every day and highly value meals that include chicken, this diet might appear ideal for you. The diet is claimed to promote rapid weight loss and eliminate the need to prepare elaborate meals, which can save you time.

However, there are many diets that recommend consuming the same food for a certain period of time. Is it really that straightforward? Is it safe? Keep reading the article to discover more.

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What Is the Chicken Diet, and How Does It Work?

The chicken diet idea has been roaming around since 1996. It started when Matt Damon ate only chicken breasts when preparing for his role in the film “Courage Under Fire.” The actor lost around 60 pounds and emphasized that it’s not a healthy way of losing weight as he was just doing it because he had to.

The guidelines of the diet explain that you need to eat one type of food for all your meals every day. It can be referred to as mono dieting. The food, in this case, is — only chicken or only chicken breast.

One skinless chicken breast (174 g) contains:

  • Calories — 275
  • Protein — 55.9 g
  • Carbs — 0 g
  • Fat — 5.64 g
  • Calcium — 10.4 mg
  • Iron — 0.853 mg
  • Potassium — 597 mg
  • Magnesium — 55.7 mg
  • Phosphorus — 419 mg

One chicken thigh (137 g) contains:

  • Calories — 245
  • Protein — 34 g
  • Carbs — 0 g
  • Fat — 11.2 g
  • Calcium — 12.3 mg
  • Iron — 1.55 mg
  • Potassium — 369 mg
  • Magnesium — 32.9 mg
  • Phosphorus — 315 mg

One boneless chicken wing (21 g) contains:

  • Calories — 42.6
  • Protein — 6.4 g
  • Carbs — 0 g
  • Fat — 1.71 g
  • Calcium — 3.36 mg
  • Iron — 0.244 mg
  • Potassium — 44.1 mg
  • Magnesium — 4.41 mg
  • Phosphorus — 34.9 mg

One boneless chicken drumstick (105 g) contains:

  • Calories — 163
  • Protein — 25.4 g
  • Carbs — 0 g
  • Fat — 5.98 g
  • Calcium — 11.6 mg
  • Iron — 1.2 mg
  • Potassium — 269 mg
  • Magnesium — 23.1 mg
  • Phosphorus — 210 mg

Most people who follow this diet only consume chicken breasts. If so, you would eat approximately 825-1000 calories per day if you have one chicken breast three times a day.

However, it’s recommended to mix your daily menu with chicken cuts. In that case, the calorie count may be a little higher.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the cooking method when preparing chicken, as it can significantly impact its overall nutritional content. For instance, grilling or baking chicken is a healthier alternative to frying, as it reduces the amount of added fats and calories while preserving the chicken’s nutritional value.

In any case, the diet is not supported by research and isn’t considered a healthy way to lose weight.

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How To Follow the Chicken Diet?

The diet is very straightforward, with only a few guidelines to follow. These are:

  • Only eat chicken
  • Follow the diet for 1-2 weeks

The diet doesn’t specify portion sizes. This means you can eat as many chicken breasts in one meal as you want.

In addition, there are less strict versions of the diet that allow for a wider variety of chicken cuts, such as chicken legs, thighs, and wings, which can provide additional calories and nutrients.

Some people also modify the chicken diet by adding vegetables and fruits, which can provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may be lacking in a diet primarily consisting of chicken. Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables can also help promote overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Let’s take a look at the recommended daily amount of macronutrients and calories and compare them to chicken:

Chicken is a good source of protein but doesn’t provide as much of other macronutrients. Nonetheless, let’s take a look if you can get any additional nutrients from other foods while following the chicken diet.

Foods To Eat and Avoid on the Chicken Diet

If you follow the strict version of the diet, the only things you can eat are chicken breasts or sometimes chicken cuts. Other food groups such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and other meats are forbidden.

However, some people choose to include vegetables and fruits in their diet to obtain additional nutrients. These may include:

  • Dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach
  • Beans and peas, such as chickpeas and lentils
  • Red and orange vegetables like carrots, red peppers, and tomatoes
  • Fruits like apples, bananas, peaches, pomegranates, and so on.

Can the Chicken Diet Help With Weight Loss?

To lose weight, it’s important to create a calorie deficit, which means burning more calories than you consume. There are many healthy ways to achieve this, such as increasing physical activity, reducing portion sizes, and choosing nutrient-dense foods that are lower in calories.

However, some people choose to follow extreme diets, such as the chicken diet, in order to lose weight rapidly in a short period of time. These types of diets severely restrict food intake and eliminate entire food groups, which can lead to health problems.

Chicken is high in protein and low in calories, which means the diet can help with weight loss. However, there is no scientific research on the effects of the chicken diet on weight loss.

Even though the diet will create a calorie deficit which will ultimately lead to weight loss, it isn’t a sustainable method. You’re likely to regain weight once you resume your regular eating habits.

Healthy weight loss is a gradual process that involves making sustainable lifestyle changes. One example of a sustainable lifestyle change that can aid in weight loss is intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting has been shown to be a scientifically proven way to enhance health and promote weight loss without the need to cut out any food groups or strictly count calories.

Does the Chicken Diet Have Any Other Benefits?

As we established, the all-chicken diet can lead to weight loss as a result of eating fewer calories than you burn. Here are other benefits of the chicken diet:

  • High in protein — eating enough protein can have numerous health benefits, including reducing hunger, helping to maintain a healthy weight, promoting bone health, boosting metabolism, and increasing muscle mass and strength. One skinless chicken breast contains 55.9 grams of protein.
  • Easy to follow — might reduce the stress of planning and counting calories or macronutrients.

However, the diet isn’t the best option for weight loss and does have many drawbacks.

Drawbacks of the Chicken Diet

The chicken diet is a type of diet that involves consuming only chicken or chicken-based products for a certain period of time. While this diet can promote rapid fat loss, it also has several drawbacks, including:

  • Unsustainable — eating only one food group for an extended period of time can become monotonous and unappetizing, leading to diet fatigue for some individuals. This can make it difficult to sustain the diet in the long term.
  • Restrictive — the chicken diet is very restricted, excluding numerous food groups that the body needs for normal functioning. These include good fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
  • Causes nutrient deficiencies — while the chicken is a good source of protein, it lacks several important nutrients such as vitamin C and folate. Additionally, following a mono diet like the chicken diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies and negatively impact overall health.
  • Can trigger disordered eating — relying only on one food category can lead to the development of unhealthy eating habits, including feelings of shame or guilt after resuming regular dietary habits. This can result in disordered eating patterns.

Is the Chicken Diet Safe for You?

No, the chicken diet isn’t safe for you, and you shouldn’t follow it. The main reason is that it doesn’t include any scientific research to determine the exact effects of eating only chicken on your health.

There are many healthy and sustainable ways to lose weight without the need for extreme measures and eating only certain food groups. It’s important to consume a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from different food groups.

One of the alternatives to the chicken diet, as mentioned above, could be intermittent fasting. It’s not a diet, but rather a time-restricted eating pattern. During your eating window, you’re allowed to eat a wide variety of foods that include chicken, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins.

During your fasting window, you abstain from all food for a set period of time.

The practice has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including improved blood sugar levels, decreased inflammation, and reduced risk of various chronic diseases.

It also boosts your metabolism and promotes fat burning.

To make the process of losing weight and intermittent fasting easier, you can also use the DoFasting app. The app is a valuable tool for individuals who are interested in losing weight through intermittent fasting. It helps users determine which type of fasting is the best for them based on their goals and lifestyle.

Once users have identified their fasting schedule, the app provides a fasting timer that notifies them when their fasting window opens and closes. This can be particularly helpful for beginners who may need some guidance in terms of when to eat and when to abstain from food.

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The Chicken Diet: Key Takeaways

The chicken diet is a highly restrictive diet that only allows you to eat chicken. It can promote rapid weight loss. However, the diet lacks scientific research and isn’t considered to be a sustainable and healthy way to lose weight.

It can lead to nutrient deficiencies, disordered eating, and weight gain after resuming your usual eating habits.


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This is an evidence-based article that includes scientific citations. DoFasting’s professional writers and editors prepared the content, which a team of medical experts verified to be accurate.

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