Correct Answer: Why Do Turkeys Have White and Dark Meat?

  • Author: ChemViews
  • Published Date: 24 November 2016
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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Dark meat contains more myoglobin, the derivative of hemoglobin found in muscles. The leg muscles of a turkey, for example, give dark meat, and the breast muscles give white meat. This is due to the fact that the leg muscles are more active than the breast muscles. While turkeys can fly short distances, they generally get around by walking and exercise their legs. Myoglobin, which has a reddish color, transports oxygen into the muscle, and a larger amount of it is needed for sustained movement.

White meat, on the other hand, is found in places where the muscles can rest most of the time, but are sometimes needed for quick movements. These can be used without oxygen (under anaerobic conditions), but only for very short periods of time, and they contain less myoglobin.

When it comes to their nutritional values, white meat is leaner and has less calories, while dark meat contains more fat (and thus, more flavor). Nevertheless, dark meat has its own nutritional advantages: more iron and higher concentrations of some vitamins.

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