The Truth About Purines in Chicken: Health Impact Uncovered


Are you a chicken lover concerned about your health? The debate on whether chicken is high or low in purines has been ongoing for years, leaving many confused and unsure about its impact on our bodies. In this article, we delve into the truth about purines in chicken and explore which cuts of chicken are high and low in this substance. So, let’s put an end to the confusion and discover the facts about purines in chicken and their effects on our health.

What Are Purines?

Purines are organic compounds found in the cells of both plants and animals. They play a key role in the production of energy for the body, as well as the formation of DNA and RNA. While purines are essential for our overall health, consuming too much of them can lead to an accumulation of uric acid in the body, which can contribute to health issues such as gout and kidney stones.

Purines in Chicken

Many people may wonder about the purine content in chicken, as it is a popular protein source in many diets. The truth is, all animal-based foods contain some level of purines, as they are produced in the body of any living organism. However, the amount of purines in different cuts of chicken can vary significantly.

A study conducted by the University of Otago in New Zealand measured the purine content in various cuts of chicken. They found that skinless chicken breast had the lowest purine content, while chicken liver had the highest. The following is a breakdown of the purine levels in different cuts of chicken per 100 grams:

  • Skinless chicken breast – 105 mg
  • Chicken thigh – 125 mg
  • Chicken drumstick – 132 mg
  • Chicken wing – 140 mg
  • Chicken liver – 290 mg

From this list, it is clear that organ meats like chicken liver have a higher purine content compared to lean cuts of chicken. This is because purines are more concentrated in organs and other highly active tissues in the body.

The Impact on Your Health

The consumption of purine-rich foods, including chicken, has been linked to an increased risk of developing gout. Gout is a type of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, resulting in inflammation and pain. However, it is important to note that genetics and other lifestyle factors can also contribute to the development of gout.

In addition to gout, purines can also increase the risk of kidney stones. This is because an excess of uric acid in the body can form crystals in the kidneys, leading to the formation of stones. Therefore, individuals who are prone to gout or kidney stones may want to limit their intake of purine-rich foods, including chicken.

Choosing Low-Purine Chicken

If you are concerned about the purine content in chicken, it is important to choose lean cuts and minimize your intake of organ meats. Skinless chicken breast is an excellent option, as it has the lowest purine content compared to other cuts. It is also a great source of protein and other essential nutrients, making it a healthy choice for your diet.

You can also opt for leaner cuts of chicken such as the thigh or drumstick, which have slightly higher purine levels but are still considered low-purine options. When preparing your chicken, it is recommended to remove any visible fat, as this is where the purines are most concentrated.

In addition to choosing low-purine cuts of chicken, it is important to balance your overall diet by incorporating a variety of other protein sources, such as fish, eggs, and plant-based proteins.

Other Factors to Consider

While purines play a role in the development of gout and kidney stones, it is not the only factor to consider. Other lifestyle habits, such as excessive alcohol consumption, can also contribute to these conditions. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle to prevent the onset of gout or kidney stones.

In addition, individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as kidney disease, may need to monitor their purine intake more closely. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet.


While chicken is a nutritious protein source, it is important to be mindful of its purine content. Choosing leaner cuts and limiting your consumption of organ meats can help you maintain a low-purine diet. However, it is crucial to remember that purines are just one factor in the development of gout and kidney stones, and a well-rounded approach to a healthy lifestyle is key to preventing these conditions. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations on managing your purine intake and maintaining good overall health.

In conclusion, it is important to understand the truth about purines in chicken and their impact on our health. While chicken is often considered a lean and healthy protein, there are certain cuts that are higher in purines and may not be suitable for those with certain health conditions. It is essential to know which cuts of chicken are high and low in purines so we can make informed decisions about our diet and overall well-being. With this knowledge, we can still enjoy chicken as a part of a balanced diet while also taking care of our health. In the end, moderation and knowledge are key when it comes to consuming purines in chicken.

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