Chicken breasts are an excellent source of lean protein and can help you reach your daily recommended protein intake. In this article, we go over how much protein is in 8 ounces of chicken breast as well as other nutrition values.
What does 8 oz of chicken breast look like?
One serving of cooked boneless chicken breast is about three to four ounces and is the size of a deck of cards. Typically, a single chicken breast that you purchase at the grocery store is about 8 ounces. After cooking, this should make about two servings of chicken breast.
If you want to be exact, you can also measure the weight of the chicken breast on a food scale. Simply place a plate on the scale, zero it out, and then place the chicken breast. Make sure the food scale is measuring ounces.
Another thing to note is that 8 ounces of raw chicken breast will not equal out to 8 ounces of cooked chicken breast. As the chicken cooks, it will lose water and become smaller in size and weight. Chicken will lose about 25% of its weight when cooked, so 8 ounces of raw chicken breast is equal to about 6 ounces of cooked chicken breast.
How many grams of protein in an 8 oz chicken breast?
8 ounces of cooked chicken breast contains about 70 grams of protein. If you are cooking 8 ounces of raw chicken breast, its weight will reduce to about 6 grams and it will contain about 53 grams of protein.
To clarify, 8 ounces of raw chicken breast will end up containing 53 grams of protein, while 8 ounces of cooked chicken breast will contain 70 grams of protein.
To get the most accurate amount, weigh your chicken after it is cooked. Alternatively, you can weigh your chicken while it’s raw and calculate the protein using the protein content of raw chicken. The amount of protein in one ounce of raw chicken breast is about 6 grams of protein, while the amount of protein in one ounce of cooked chicken breast is about 9 grams of protein.
Overall, protein content per ounce of chicken breast depends on if you are measuring it raw or cooked. This will make a huge difference when calculating the total amount of protein.
Also, make sure you are purchasing boneless skinless chicken breast. If you purchase skinless chicken thighs or skin-on chicken thighs, the amount of protein will be different since chicken thighs have a higher fat content.
Nutrition facts for chicken breast
One serving of chicken breast, about 3 ounces cooked, contains about 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 26 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates.
This amount contains all essential amino acids, with over 100% your daily value of isoleucine, methionine and phenylalanine. Add some whole grains like brown rice or whole wheat pasta to your meal and you should easily get over 100% of your daily value of all amino acids in just one meal.
Three ounces of chicken breast also provide a wide variety of micronutrients, making it a good source (over 10% DV) of vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.
An 8-ounce chicken breast contains over twice the amount of nutrients compared to a 3-ounce serving, but it’s important to remember that eight ounces of raw chicken breast only makes six ounces of cooked chicken breast.
Nutrition facts of chicken thighs
One serving of chicken thighs, about 3 ounces cooked, contains about 150 calories, 5 grams of fat, 24 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates. This amount contains all essential amino acids, with over 100% your daily value of methionine.
Three ounces of chicken breast also provide a wide variety of micronutrients, making it a good source (over 10% DV) of vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, copper, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.
Surprisingly, chicken thighs provide additional health benefits including more zinc and B vitamins compared to chicken breast, but they do contain two grams less of protein per three ounce serving compared to chicken breast.
How much protein should you eat daily?
The amount of protein you should eat daily depends largely on the individual. Ideally, protein should account for 10-35% of your daily caloric intake for adults over the age of 18.
If you are consuming a 2000 calorie diet, this means you should aim for 50-175 grams of protein per day. The lower amount may be enough protein for sedentary individuals, while the upper end of protein intake may be beneficial for those with higher protein requirements.
You may require more protein if you are trying to gain muscle mass, trying to lose weight, are pregnant or lactating, are an athlete, have a certain medical condition or are recovering from an injury or severe burns. If you are in any of these categories, it may be beneficial to speak to your doctor as well as a registered dietitian to determine your individual needs.
Another way to measure estimated protein needs is basing it on weight. You can determine this based on your activity level:
- Minimal activity = 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight
- Moderate activity = 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight
- Intense activity = 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight
To determine how much you weigh in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. For example, a 150 lb person weighs about 68 kilograms.
Minimal activity would refer to someone who has a sedentary lifestyle and completes little physical activity throughout the week. Moderate activity refers to someone who has a moderately active job and/or works out several times a week. Intense activity refers to someone who has a very active job and/or works out most days of the week.
What’s the difference between white meat vs dark meat?
White meat refers to the leaner cuts of chicken, including chicken breast and chicken wings. They have a low-fat content and therefore are higher in protein per ounce serving. Overall, they are a good source of lean protein.
Dark meat refers to the fattier cuts of chicken, including chicken legs and chicken thighs. They are high in fat and lower in protein, but often contain higher micronutrient levels, as discussed in the chicken thigh section of this article.
Is chicken breast good for weight loss?
Yes, chicken breast is high in protein and low in calories, making it a great addition to a weight loss diet. There is evidence to suggest that protein causes a satiating effect, meaning it will keep you fuller for longer compared to other macronutrients like carbohydrates and fat.
Protein also plays a role in building muscle mass, which can lead to you burning more calories at rest throughout the day. While this won’t guarantee fat loss, it can help make it easier to stick to a calorie restricted diet.
On that note, it’s important to mention that calories are king when it comes to weight loss. You will lose the same amount of fat on a high protein diet than on a low protein diet. But, being on a high protein diet can improve overall satiety and hunger levels, which may make staying on a low calorie diet easier.
While you will lose weight faster on a very low calorie diet, it’s a good idea to consider sustainability and consistency. You may be able to maintain a 500 calorie deficit for several days or weeks, but if you can’t maintain this for a long period of time, you may end up gaining the weight back as fast as it came off.
The healthiest way to lose weight is with a small deficit that you can easily maintain. If this feels easy to you, you can reduce it slightly. But avoid starting with a large deficit, since this may lead to burnout and yo yo dieting. A balanced diet with plenty of protein is the best option to help maintain a small deficit.
Other high protein foods
Chicken breast and other animal based foods aren’t the only good sources of protein. There are other sources of plant-based proteins that can aid in maintaining a high protein intake. Plus, plant-based protein sources provide other micronutrients that aren’t as high in animal protein.
Here are a few examples that you can easily incorporate into your diet:
- Nut butters
Along with this, plant-based protein supplements can be a good choice and an easy way to reach your protein goals. These include protein powders (typically including pea protein or hemp protein), protein shakes and protein bars. Brands even offer products like protein water and protein pancake and waffle mixes.
Personally, I love adding nut butters, hemp seeds and plant-based protein powder to my smoothies to increase my protein intake and maintain a healthy diet.