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Is Turkey Meat White or Red?

Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan by Victoria Mazmanyan | Last updated on June 19, 2023
Medically reviewed by Arpi Gasparyan Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan

Red meat is the myoglobin-rich muscle meat of mammals, such as cows, pigs, goats, lambs, veals, and sheep, while white meat is lower in myoglobin and, thus, is lighter in color. White meat is known as the meat of poultry and fish.

Turkey meat, being poultry, is naturally classified as white meat.

Myoglobin is the iron-containing pigment in muscles that binds oxygen. Exercised muscles need more oxygen and are, therefore, higher in myoglobin. For this reason, the turkey, as a bird that struggles to fly, has darker legs and thighs, while its wing and breast meat is lighter.

However, dark turkey meat is still considered white meat.

As myoglobin contains iron, white meat such as turkey is considerably lower in iron when comparing beef and turkey or pork and turkey. White meats, such as turkey, chicken, goose, and duck, contain similar amounts of iron. Interestingly, ground turkey, as a mixture of light and dark turkey meat, is higher in iron.

Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: June 19, 2023
Medically reviewed by Arpi Gasparyan
Data provided by should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.