Turkey Vs. Chicken: Which Is The Better Protein Source?

turkey vs. chicken

Both are staples in a bodybuilder’s diet, but is one better than the other?

You may be someone who wants to partake in the turkey vs. chicken debate. Or maybe you are someone who doesn’t care and wants to eat whatever source of protein you can. That is great and you should. But when it comes to maximizing your goals, and overall gains, knowing which sources of protein can work best for you will give you the best chance at seeing huge gains. The benefit to both turkey and chicken is that they are lean meats. If we were talking about chicken vs. beef, maybe our conversation would be different.

What matters most in your diet is that you work to balance out your macronutrients, but more importantly, the amount of protein you consume. Having the right amount of protein is integral in seeing gains and without it, you just won’t. So, with so many options for protein sources, why are we debating two staples in a bodybuilder’s diet? Honestly, knowing which source of protein is going to give you the most protein should be an answer enough.

Let’s jump into the turkey vs. chicken debate to see which is the better source of protein. Both are staples in a bodybuilders diet but knowing which one may give you more gains is important as you seek the best for your overall growth and development. By the end, you may just be thinking of certain recipes to try as you soon as you sign off your computer.

cla and carnitine

Importance Of Protein

We hear it all the time but protein is so important to our gains. It is the building block of all muscle so why neglect that and ruin any chance of seeing huge growth. Without protein, our muscles don’t grow, and without muscle growth, you will never see gains. But protein has other benefits than just muscle growth which are important to consider since these aid in our overall health and wellness.

Finding protein sources does not have to be difficult and we all know of the traditional ones like chicken, turkey, fish, lean meats, eggs, among others, but thankfully supplements companies have begun to make protein supplements like whey, pea, brown rice, soy, hemp, and many more.

The benefits of protein for your health and performance include:

  • Increased muscle growth: Build strength and size by pumping your muscles with protein so they have the foundation to grow (1).
  • Better recovery: Work to repair those damaged muscles so they can grow back bigger and faster.
  • Improve weight loss goals: Protein can increase satiety for less snacking and unwanted cravings which can hurt your gains overall (2).
  • Loaded with nutrients: Protein is loaded with certain nutrients that are great for giving you vitamins and minerals to aid in your overall training and health.

turkey vs. chicken

Turkey Vs. Chicken: Which Is The Better Protein?

Now we get to our question of the day; is turkey or chicken better for your gains? We’ll start by saying both are great sources of protein but for your specific needs, it may be important to know a few differences. To start, turkey may be lower in calories on average than chicken, so for those of you really looking to lose weight and put an emphasis on fat loss, turkey may be a solid option for you.

A lot of this comes from the amount of fat in both, with turkey being on the lower end. What is nice is that if you go the store, ground turkey will have options for you in terms of lean content. For example, it says something like 93% lean meaning there is 7% fat content. Or for those really looking for truly lean meat, the 99% lean only leaves room for 1% fat.

For protein content, both are fairly comparable. Depending on the cut of meat, you will find that chicken and turkey are relatively equal in protein content. Which is a great sign for those of us looking to diversify our diet and not eat the same thing over and over again. Knowing that both turkey and chicken will work wonders for our gains should be comforting and without too much stress, you can see great muscle growth with two awesome protein options.

White Vs. Dark Meat

To touch on the idea of white meat and dark meat, what you will find is that white meat is lower in protein myoglobin, whereas dark meat is higher. Myoglobin transports and stores oxygen in the muscles (3). Found mostly in the breasts and wings, white meat is always a great option.

Dark meat is found in active muscles, so more the legs and thighs, but regardless, are also great sources of protein. People have their preference as to white or dark meat, but just know both are great options.

protein shakes

Protein Supplements For Added Gains

While eating a whole food meal and getting all of those nutrients from whole food is recommended and better for you, it is important to note that supplements can work for your benefit in a number of ways so you see those gains you want most. When it comes to pumping yourself with protein, either for muscle building, recovery, or satiety, there are some key supplements to look for.

Protein powders are key for they will offer a great protein source for post-workout gains. Another supplement to consider is casein protein, for this is a slow-digesting protein perfect for overnight repair and recovery so those gains don’t stop while you sleep.

Wrap Up

When it comes down to the debate of turkey vs. chicken, it would be a disservice to declare a clear winner. Both are great sources of protein and can work wonders for your gains. With the right approach to diet, ample amounts of protein, and plenty of diversity in your diet, you are well on your way to see those gains you want most. And you won’t be disappointed by the results.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Pasiakos, S.; et al. (2015). “The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review”. (source)
  2. Leidy, H.; et al. (2015). “The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance”. (source)
  3. Schweihofer, J.; et al. (2014). “The color of meat depends on myoglobin: Part 1”. (source)
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.