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Gravy vs. Chicken Broth - A Taste and Health Comparison

There's nothing quite like a hot bowl of soup or a gravy-based stew on a cold winter's day. As we begin to dust-off our soup pots to get ready for cold weather meals, I wanted to examine how the chicken broth in soup stacked up both nutritionally and taste-wise against gravy.
 
For this comparison, I examined the nutritional content of 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of canned, ready-to-serve chicken broth and canned, ready-to-serve chicken gravy. All daily percentage information is based off of a standard 2,000-calorie diet. Here are my findings:
 
1. Calories - Chicken broth is the clear winner for calorie counters, with just seven calories per serving compared to 68 calories per serving with gravy.
 
2. Fat - The chicken broth I examined was fat-free, which is the case for many brands. It did contain 19mg of omega 6 fatty acids and 1mg of omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential nutrients for a balanced diet. The gravy contained 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of which were unhealthy saturated fat. There were no fatty acids in the gravy.
 
3. Taste - Chicken broth is tasty, but gravy definitely has more flavor and is richer on the palate.
 
4. Texture - Being that gravy is much thicker than chicken broth, it makes a meal heartier. You may find that you're not as tempted to eat second helpings of a gravy-based stew because you'll likely feel fuller.
 
5. Cholesterol and Sodium - Chicken broth is cholesterol free, but one serving does provide 7 percent of the daily requirement of sodium. Low-sodium chicken broth alternatives are available for those with dietary concerns. By comparison, gravy contains 3 percent of the daily cholesterol allowance and a whopping 18 percent of the daily requirement of sodium.
 
6. Protein and Carbs - Neither chicken broth nor gravy provides much in the way of protein at 1 and 0 grams per serving, respectively. Chicken broth is free of carbs, while gravy has 5 grams of carbs, 2 of which come from sugars.
 
7. Vitamins and Minerals - Gravy offers 7 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A, while chicken broth did not contain any of this nutrient, which is important for healthy eyes and skin; however, vitamin A was the only essential daily nutrient found in the gravy. Chicken broth provides 12 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement, 3 percent of daily niacin and 1 to 2 percent of riboflavin, vitamin B12, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, copper and manganese.
 
Keep in mind that my comparison uses canned products. If you prepare your gravy from scratch, using arrowroot instead of flour and skimming off as much fat as possible, you can produce a thick sauce with fewer calories and fat. Also, remember that good nutrition isn't determined by just one meal. When you find yourself really craving a rich and delicious gravy, let yourself indulge, just be sure to eat more nutrient-rich, low-calorie and low-sodium foods the rest of the day.

 
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