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Duck meat vs. Turkey meat — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on July 05, 2023
Medically reviewed by Ani Harutyunyan Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan
Duck meat
vs
Turkey meat

Summary

Turkey meat is richer in proteins and contains less fat and specifically saturated fats. Turkey meat is richer in B vitamins, zinc, and phosphorous. Ducks are richer in copper and iron vitamins B1 and B5.

Turkey meat is healthier meat compared to duck meat. It is rich in proteins, has neutral associations with cardiovascular diseases, and is a good source of tryptophan, that has positive mental health impacts. Duck meat contains higher fat content, which is associated with cardiovascular diseases.

Introduction

This article will compare two types of poultry meats, turkey meat and duck meat. They are both classified as white meat. However, differences do exist between them. We will compare their nutritional aspects, health impacts, and in the end, some general differences between them.

It is essential to understand which meat is healthier in this case. Thus we need to dig deep into the nutritional and health impacts to conclude.

In this article, we consider turkey meat and duck meat to be roasted with the skin.

General differences

Turkey meat and duck meat are both poultry types of meat. One of the main differences is that duck meat has a darker color. This is due to a higher myoglobin content. Turkey meat and duck meat cuts are nearly similar to chicken cuts. Breast, drumstick, wing, thigh. In addition, duck foie gras can be found. 

Taste

Duck meat has a stronger taste and flavor, contains more fats, and has a fattier taste than turkey meat. While turkey often has a milder flavor with hardly perceptible nuttiness, duck is famous for its rich, meaty taste with an element of sweetness.

Can you substitute duck for turkey?

Definitely yes! Roasted duck is a great alternative to Thanksgiving turkey if you do not like the taste of turkey meat at all. Also, it is a better source of tryptophan - an essential amino acid. 

Nutritional content comparison

In this section, we are considering turkey and duck as a whole. Although some differences exist between each part, we are taking it as a whole. The infographic shown below indicates that turkey meat contains more water and protein, while duck meat is significantly richer in fats. Please, find the details in the corresponding sections.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Fats +283.6%
Contains more Other +70.8%
Contains more Protein +50.3%
Contains more Carbs +∞%
Contains more Water +22.5%
19% 28% 52%
Protein: 18.99 g
Fats: 28.35 g
Carbs: 0 g
Water: 51.84 g
Other: 0.82 g
29% 7% 64%
Protein: 28.55 g
Fats: 7.39 g
Carbs: 0.06 g
Water: 63.52 g
Other: 0.48 g
Contains more Fats +283.6%
Contains more Other +70.8%
Contains more Protein +50.3%
Contains more Carbs +∞%
Contains more Water +22.5%

Calories

Duck meat contains higher amounts of calories than turkey meat. It contains 148 calories more. Duck meat is classified as high-calorie food, while turkey meat is considered a low-calorie food

Proteins

Turkey meat is richer in proteins. Turkey meat is one of the highest protein-containing meats.

Duck meat contains 11g less protein per 100g than turkey meat. 

Fats

Duck meat contains 4 times higher amounts of fats compared to turkey meat. Duck meat on its own is very high in fats.

Types of fats

Duck meat contains five times more saturated fats compared to turkey meat.

However, the highest fat available in duck meat is monounsaturated fats.

Cholesterol

Turkey meat contains higher amounts of cholesterol. It contains 25mg more cholesterol than duck meat.

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +387.3%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +72.3%
Contains less Saturated Fat -77.7%
37% 49% 14%
Saturated Fat: 9.67 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 12.9 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 3.65 g
31% 38% 31%
Saturated Fat: 2.155 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.647 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.119 g
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +387.3%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +72.3%
Contains less Saturated Fat -77.7%

Carbs

They contain a negligible amount of carbs.

Glycemic index

The glycemic index of turkey and duck meats is equal to 0.

Minerals

Turkey meat is richer in zinc and phosphorous.

Whereas duck meat is richer in copper and iron.

The diagram below displays their distribution.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Iron +147.7%
Contains less Sodium -42.7%
Contains more Copper +144.1%
Contains more Manganese +35.7%
Contains more Calcium +27.3%
Contains more Magnesium +87.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +42.9%
Contains more Potassium +17.2%
Contains more Zinc +33.3%
Contains more Selenium +49%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 4% 102% 12% 67% 18% 8% 51% 76% 3% 110%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 5% 41% 22% 96% 22% 14% 68% 31% 2% 163%
Contains more Iron +147.7%
Contains less Sodium -42.7%
Contains more Copper +144.1%
Contains more Manganese +35.7%
Contains more Calcium +27.3%
Contains more Magnesium +87.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +42.9%
Contains more Potassium +17.2%
Contains more Zinc +33.3%
Contains more Selenium +49%

Vitamins

Turkey meat is richer in vitamins B2, B3, B6, and B12. on the other hand, duck meat is richer in vitamins B1 and B5.

The diagram below displays their distribution.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin A +438.5%
Contains more Vitamin E +900%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +286.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +15.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Contains more Vitamin D +300%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +98.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +242.2%
Contains more Folate +50%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +240%
Contains more Choline +73.4%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.281
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 13% 14% 3% 0% 44% 63% 91% 66% 42% 5% 38% 28% 13%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 3% 2% 12% 0% 12% 65% 180% 57% 143% 7% 128% 48% 0%
Contains more Vitamin A +438.5%
Contains more Vitamin E +900%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +286.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +15.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Contains more Vitamin D +300%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +98.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +242.2%
Contains more Folate +50%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +240%
Contains more Choline +73.4%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.281

Health impacts

White meat consumption, such as turkey meat and duck meat, positively affects overall health. White meat consumption is inversely related to overall mortality rates (1).

Health impacts of turkey meat

Bodybuilding

Turkey meat is very rich in proteins and is an excellent addition to muscle-building diets (2).

Diabetes and cardiovascular health

Consuming turkey meat has a neutral association with the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular health. The consumption of turkey meat is an excellent alternative to red meat (3).

Cancer

Turkey meat consumption in its unprocessed form has neutrally associated with cancer development. In addition, there are lower incidence rates of developing cancer compared with the positive association between red meat and cancer development. This indicates that the consumption of poultry, in this case, turkey meat, instead of red meat decreases the risk of developing cancer (3)(4).

Sleep and mood

Eating turkey and duck meat is usually associated with a sleepy feeling mainly due to the high amounts of tryptophan, an amino acid involved in sleep (5).

Tryptophan is also a serotonin precursor, which increases serotonin levels and provides a feeling of well-being (6).

Negative health impacts of turkey meat

Processed turkey contains preservatives and additives responsible for its negative health impacts.

Processed turkey consumption is positively associated with increased risks of cardiovascular health diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancer (7)(8).

Health impacts of duck meat

Metabolism

Duck meat consumption decreases basal metabolism by decreasing thyroid hormone activity. This, in turn, can lead to increased weight gain (9).

Cardiovascular health, diabetes, and cancer

Overall there is a decrease in risks of CVD, diabetes, and cancer associated with poultry meat compared to red meat. However, it is essential to mention that duck meat contains a higher amount of saturated fats, which increases the risks of developing these diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases (10).

Overall, consumption of duck meat in moderation has a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than red meat (1).

Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: July 05, 2023
Medically reviewed by Ani Harutyunyan

Infographic

Duck meat vs Turkey meat infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Duck meat Turkey meat
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Sugar Equal
Lower in Glycemic Index Equal
Lower in price Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Duck meat Turkey meat Opinion
Net carbs 0g 0.06g Turkey meat
Protein 18.99g 28.55g Turkey meat
Fats 28.35g 7.39g Duck meat
Carbs 0g 0.06g Turkey meat
Calories 337kcal 189kcal Duck meat
Calcium 11mg 14mg Turkey meat
Iron 2.7mg 1.09mg Duck meat
Magnesium 16mg 30mg Turkey meat
Phosphorus 156mg 223mg Turkey meat
Potassium 204mg 239mg Turkey meat
Sodium 59mg 103mg Duck meat
Zinc 1.86mg 2.48mg Turkey meat
Copper 0.227mg 0.093mg Duck meat
Manganese 0.019mg 0.014mg Duck meat
Selenium 20µg 29.8µg Turkey meat
Vitamin A 210IU 39IU Duck meat
Vitamin A RAE 63µg 12µg Duck meat
Vitamin E 0.7mg 0.07mg Duck meat
Vitamin D 3IU 15IU Turkey meat
Vitamin D 0.1µg 0.4µg Turkey meat
Vitamin B1 0.174mg 0.045mg Duck meat
Vitamin B2 0.269mg 0.281mg Turkey meat
Vitamin B3 4.825mg 9.573mg Turkey meat
Vitamin B5 1.098mg 0.948mg Duck meat
Vitamin B6 0.18mg 0.616mg Turkey meat
Folate 6µg 9µg Turkey meat
Vitamin B12 0.3µg 1.02µg Turkey meat
Choline 50.4mg 87.4mg Turkey meat
Vitamin K 5.1µg 0µg Duck meat
Tryptophan 0.232mg 0.291mg Turkey meat
Threonine 0.773mg 1.004mg Turkey meat
Isoleucine 0.872mg 0.796mg Duck meat
Leucine 1.465mg 1.925mg Turkey meat
Lysine 1.486mg 2.282mg Turkey meat
Methionine 0.475mg 0.724mg Turkey meat
Phenylalanine 0.752mg 0.903mg Turkey meat
Valine 0.938mg 0.902mg Duck meat
Histidine 0.462mg 0.749mg Turkey meat
Cholesterol 84mg 109mg Duck meat
Trans Fat 0.101g Duck meat
Saturated Fat 9.67g 2.155g Turkey meat
Omega-3 - DHA 0g 0.005g Turkey meat
Omega-3 - EPA 0g 0.008g Turkey meat
Omega-3 - DPA 0g 0.008g Turkey meat
Monounsaturated Fat 12.9g 2.647g Duck meat
Polyunsaturated fat 3.65g 2.119g Duck meat
Omega-6 - Eicosadienoic acid 0.014g Turkey meat
Omega-6 - Linoleic acid 1.841g Turkey meat
Omega-6 - Gamma-linoleic acid 0.003g Turkey meat
Omega-3 - ALA 0.105g Turkey meat
Omega-3 - Eicosatrienoic acid 0.001g Turkey meat
Omega-6 - Dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid 0.01g Turkey meat

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Duck meat Turkey meat
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
32%
Duck meat
50%
Turkey meat
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
45%
Duck meat
46%
Turkey meat

Comparison summary

Which food is richer in minerals?
Turkey meat
Turkey meat is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Turkey meat
Turkey meat is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 7.515g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Duck meat
Duck meat contains less Sodium (difference - 44mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Duck meat
Duck meat is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 25mg)
Which food contains less Sugar?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sugar (0 g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (0)
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($2)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Duck meat - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172409/nutrients
  2. Turkey meat - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171479/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.