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Eat Chicken Wings Not Chicken Fingers?!?! WTF?!?!

February 17, 2010

In another odd ‘Eat This Not That’ swap we get this advice via twitter:

At the bar, forget chicken fingers. Eat buffalo wings w/ BBQ sauce instead…6 for only 390 calories! (via @EatThisNotThat)

I just don’t get the stupidity coming out of the editors/writers at Men’s Health/David Zinczenko/Eat This Not That…  I am flabberghast.

Here is the problem.  It doesn’t take a lot of bad eating advice to end up derailing your fitness goals.  It is remarkable how some bad swaps, or bad recommendations can prevent you from losing weight.  When you don’t lose weight you quit.  We all know this, especially when we are focusing on weightloss, which we shouldn’t be doing, but that is for the You Are Not A Fit Person book, not for here.

The point is, give good advice.  I am in total support of the database of nutritional information supplied by the Eat This Not That site.  I know when I first visited the Olive Garden website and reviewed their nutritional information I was blown away!  It is terrible.  I knew it would be bad, and I had NO IDEA!!  You should eat 4 meals a day with about 400 – 500 calories in each.  Some of these meals are coming in at 2000 calories!??!?!  It is just crazy, and that doesn’t include beverage…

So, the database contains a lot of this wisdom.  As well, the idea that you can lose weight without having to eat plain dry lettuce is a good one.  You can eat well, enjoy the odd unhealthy item and lose weight.  What you can’t do though is think you are eating well when you aren’t.  When you eat a 400-500 calorie meal it has to fill you up as well, which the Men’s Health people just don’t even have a glimpse into.

So, in any case, when they suggest a swap, it should make sense.  When they bother to tweet to the million people following them to, for example eat wings instead of strips, it should make some sense, but it doesn’t.  Wings are small pieces of darker chicken meat (fatter than white meat), covered in skin, sometimes battered, sometimes not, deep fried and then coated in a sauce that has a lot of sugar in it.  Then almost guaranteed these bad boys are dipped in blue cheese dip, ranch dip, or my favorite spicy yoghurt.  There is no world in which that is a healthy choice, so how can it be a good swap.  The chicken strips on the other hand are white meat, which is good, battered like you wouldn’t believe (which is bad) and then deep fried.  Try eating one of these without dipping sauce and you would be disappointed, but at least they aren’t bathed in a dipping sauce and then dipped again into a dip.

The point is, these are both bad bad food choices.  You will not lose weight eating these.  This is not to say that these can’t be your poor meal choice every once in awhile if that is how you roll, but what kind of an idiot would recommend this food choice… oh yah, David Zinczenko….

You see, these guys get confused with portion sizes.  6 chicken wings is only 390 calories (which is about the size of a meal that you should be eating)… but it is also a ridiculously small amount of meat.  There is no world in which that would fill you up.  Wings look bigger because they have bones in them that you aren’t eating.  According to, the following are all calories for chicken wings:

  • ? pieces 32g   103 cals
  • ? pieces 49g   159 cals
  • 6 pieces 134g 450 cals

So, no matter how you slice it, you are looking at a calorie density of about 3:1.  That is terrible.  As well remember the size of the wing, the sauce, the batter can all differ from restaurant to restaurant or bar to bar, so you have a ballpark idea of calories when you talk of foods like this without specific restaurants.

How about chicken strips… well, let’s find some examples on

  • ? strips   275g   614 calories
  • 2 strips    72g   210 calories
  • 3 strips  151g   400 calories

So, chicken strips have a calorie density of between 2.2 and 3.0.  Slightly better than chicken wings, but not much.  Again, both of these number are before dip, which puts them at the bad end of any food scale.  Seriously though we all know you won’t lose weight eating chicken wings… duh!!

So what is the meaning behind this food swap?!!?  Please David Zinczenko, can you explain this to me?  Look David, you know that I think you are an idiot and I find it probably one of the most frustrating facts of our society that because you edit a successful albeit a vacuous and useless magazine full of meaningless crap that serendipitously has health in the title, people think you are a health expert.  You and I both know you aren’t.

Still, you are very close to a good thing here.  One of the leading causes of obesity in our society is the calorie count and portion sizes at fast food joints and the even worse casual dining establishments.  Your list of nutritional information that your staff have spent several hours putting together on your website is very helpful in pointing out how bad things are.  PLEASE, PLEASE stop recommending useless or unhealthy food swaps.  Most people don’t understand how bad these swaps are.  As well, please learn the value of calorie density.  WE CAN’T LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT IT.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Alan permalink
    November 29, 2010 9:42 pm

    I have never liked their advice, finding like your example above, it to be counter to what’s correct. I even had to unsubscribe from their emails and unlike and block their Facebook page to get shut of their misinformation. I really hope no one is taking any notice of this ridiculous advice.

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      November 30, 2010 10:05 am

      I wish no one did, but advice this tasty is sure to be followed by many! Unfortunately it won’t help. I think they have a crew of 4 or 5 people over there, going through menus and cutting and pasting the highest calorie item into the not that blank and anything lower into the eat this blank… it is just monkey work!! Thanks so much for the comment.

  2. Jonathan Goldstein permalink
    February 26, 2015 11:16 am

    There is a small error in this article. Chicken wings are white meat, not dark meat. It’s a minor error, and doesn’t impact the point of the article. But, I just wanted to correct it, because so many people think wings are dark meat, and they’re not.

  3. Emily permalink
    May 23, 2017 12:01 am

    Not that it is good advice, but to assume that everyone eats saucy wings and dips them in more sauces is just inaccurate. As a waitress, I see the amount of dip we throw out. I would guess that only 25% of people use them. Also, dry wings are a more popular order, These don’t have nearly as many sugar calories. If you are at a bar that doesn’t offer salads, wings generally are one of the better things to order (unless they come with fries). Just avoid eating at that bar more than once a month and it probably wont affect your health or fitness.

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