Is chicken thigh fat good for you?

Dear Dr. Manny,

Why is chicken thigh fat good for you? Is it a brown fat? When I make chicken soup with only thighs I remove the fat that rises to the surface when the soup is cold thinking I am making the soup healthier to eat. Should I stop that practice?

Thanks for your question.

Brown fat is a kind of fat that stores energy in a small space. It creates heat and burns calories in the body. Brown fat can be good fat.


We are born with brown fat in our bodies. Eventually, over time, our bodies start recruiting white fat and changing it into brown fat, depending on the body’s need. Brown fat can control blood sugar and insulin.

Scientists have determined that brown fat might be a solution for obesity and diabetes. However, they have yet to determine how the body creates brown fat. There is no simple solution for your body to make brown fat.

Chicken thigh fat will not turn into brown fat in your body if you simply eat it. In fact, it’s unlikely that eating turns anything in your body into brown fat.

Chicken thighs are a healthy option that provides lots of protein for the body. However, it does have a higher percentage of fat than chicken breasts do. If you eat chicken thighs with the skin, you’re eating more fat than if you ate a chicken breast.


Most of the fat in chicken thighs are unsaturated — which means it’s healthier for you than other fatty options. The body needs a certain intake of fat every day in order to create energy.

Dark meat is also, in general, a better choice than light meat. It contains more vitamins, like riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12, iron, and zinc.

The fat in chicken thighs is not dangerous, but if you don’t like the taste of it in your soup, then there is no reason to stop your practice. If you are trying to cut down on calories and fat, you should consider removing the skin from your chicken thighs before putting them in soup or in other recipes. The skin has the most fat out of any part of the chicken. However, you should not indulge if you are having problems with your cholesterol.


Monosaturated fat, which is what you’re skimming out of your soup, does not seem to increase the risk of heart disease or cancer. This is a good fat, not the kind of fat that can clog your arteries.

Chicken thighs are a tasty and inexpensive option, no matter which way you serve them. You don’t have to eat the fat, but you should at least try it.

Do you have a health question for Dr. Manny? Email us at