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All about “Duck”

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Health profile

Tasty, duck meat is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids , which give it specific health benefits compared to other fats of animal origin. It also contains many other nutrients that are essential for maintaining health. Due to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, duck fat is sometimes even compared to olive oil. But beware, duck is also considered fatty meat.

Active ingredients and properties

It should be noted that the benefits related to the consumption of foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids come from data obtained with plant-based foods such as olive oil or peanut butter. Currently, there are no studies on the effect of foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids of animal origin such as duck. Duck is fatty meat; its fat content reaches 50% of its energy content (calories), a third of which are monounsaturated fatty acids and just over a third are saturated fatty acids. Consumed in moderation, duck can very well integrate into a healthy diet that relies on variety and a greater intake of monounsaturated fatty acids.

The data below therefore comes from studies that have evaluated the effects of monounsaturated fatty acids in general, and not the specific effects of eating duck.

Cardiovascular health . The current trend is to favor the consumption of foods rich in monounsaturated fats in order to prevent cardiovascular diseases. A diet rich in these fats would improve the lipid profile by reducing the blood levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides 1 . In a study of healthy men with a family history of cardiovascular disease, partial substitution of saturated fatty acids with 13% monounsaturated fatty acids significantly reduced blood levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) 2 .

It should be noted that certain studies have shown that a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids makes it possible to obtain beneficial effects on the cardiovascular risk profile which were comparable and sometimes even greater than those usually observed with a diet much lower in matter. fatty 3.4 . In addition, a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids may be easier to follow in the long term, compared to a very low fat diet which is often perceived as being too restrictive.

The consumption of monounsaturated fats also acts on other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This would contribute, among other things, to a decrease in oxidative stress in blood lipids. In an intervention study conducted with young adults 5 , a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids has been shown to reduce the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol). A team of researchers has also noted this increased resistance to oxidation in studies carried out in vitro 6 . The consumption of these fats also makes it possible to reduce the platelet aggregation which is associated with the risk of thrombosis 7 .

Duck, turkey or chicken?
About 50% of the calories in skinless roast duck meat come from fat. Which is much higher than the 16% and 33% usually found in turkey and chicken. However, duck can be eaten in moderation as part of a healthy diet since it provides precious monounsaturated fats.

Diabetes . Monounsaturated fatty acids could decrease the resistance to insulin which is associated with several diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome (syndrome X). An intervention study demonstrated an 8% improvement in insulin sensitivity in healthy subjects who consumed 37% of their energy in the form of lipids, more than half of which came from monounsaturated fats 8 . Another study in patients with type 2 diabetes has shown improvement in fasting blood sugar as part of a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids 9. In light of these results, it would be interesting to check whether the consumption of duck meat positively modifies certain risk factors for diabetes in comparison with other meats.

Other properties

Is duck antioxidant? No data available
Is the duck acidifying? No data available
Does duck have a high glycemic load? No, the duck does not contain carbohydrates.

Most important nutrients

See the meaning of the nutrient source classification symbols

Excellent source Phosphorus . Duck is an excellent source of phosphorus (see our Phosphorus nutrient fact sheet ). Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. It plays an essential role in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. In addition, it participates, among other things, in the growth and regeneration of tissues and helps to maintain normal blood pH. It is one of the constituents of cell membranes.

Excellent source Iron . Duck is an excellent source of iron for men and a good source of iron for women , since their respective needs for this mineral are different. Each body cell contains iron. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood. It also plays a role in the production of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters.

Excellent source Zinc . Duck is an excellent source of zinc for women , but only a good source of zinc for men , given their different needs. Zinc is involved in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. Zinc also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it participates in the synthesis (production), the storage and the release of insulin.

Excellent source Copper . Duck is an excellent source of copper. As a constituent of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also help the body’s defense against free radicals.

Excellent source Selenium . Duck is an excellent source of selenium. This mineral works with one of the main antioxidant enzymes, thus preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps to convert thyroid hormones to their active form.

Excellent source Vitamin B2 . Duck is an excellent source of vitamin B2. Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin. It plays a role in the energy metabolism of all cells. In addition, it contributes to tissue growth and repair, hormone production and the formation of red blood cells.

Excellent source Vitamin B3 . Duck is an excellent source of vitamin B3. Also called niacin, vitamin B3 participates in many metabolic reactions and contributes particularly to the production of energy from the carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and alcohol that we ingest. It also participates in the DNA formation process, allowing normal growth and development.

Excellent source Pantothenic acid . Duck is an excellent source of pantothenic acid. Also called vitamin B5, pantothenic acid is part of a key coenzyme that allows us to adequately use the energy present in the food we eat. It also participates in several stages of the synthesis of steroid hormones, neurotransmitters and hemoglobin.

Good source Vitamin B1 . Duck is a good source of vitamin B1. Also called thiamine, vitamin B1 is part of a coenzyme necessary for the production of energy from the carbohydrates we eat. It also participates in the transmission of nerve impulses and promotes normal growth.

Good source Vitamin B6 . Duck is a good source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is part of coenzymes that participate in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids as well as in the synthesis (manufacture) of neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It also contributes to the production of red blood cells and allows them to transport more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the transformation of glycogen into glucose and it contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system. This vitamin finally plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells and in the modulation of hormone receptors.

Good source Vitamin B12 . Duck is a good source of vitamin B12. This vitamin works together with folic acid (vitamin B9) to make red blood cells in the blood. It also works to maintain nerve cells and the cells that make bone tissue.

Good source Vitamin E . Duck fat is a good source of vitamin E. A major antioxidant, vitamin E protects the membrane that surrounds body cells, especially red and white blood cells (cells of the immune system).

What is a “portion” of duck worth?
Weight / volume Roasted domestic duck meat
100 g (about 3 oz)
Duck fat,
15 ml (13 g)
Calories 201 117
Protein 23.5g 0.0 g
Carbohydrates 0.0 g 0.0 g
Fat 11.2g 13.0 g
– Saturated fatty acids 4.2g 4.3 g
– Monounsaturated fatty acids 3.7g 6.4g
– Polyunsaturated fatty acids 1.4 g 1.7g
Cholesterol 89 mg 100 mg
Dietary fiber 0.0 g 0.0 g

Source  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2005.

Is duck fat better for cooking

The composition of duck fat is similar to that of olive oil, but without equaling it. Duck fat is considered a good fat (see our fatty acids sheet (overview)), although it does not contain as much monounsaturated fatty acids as olive oil. In comparison, duck fat contains 49% monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil provides 74% and butter only 26%. In addition, duck fat has a much higher saturated fatty acid content than olive oil (33% versus 13%), but lower than butter (33% versus 63%). Consumed occasionally, duck fat can be an interesting alternative to give a particular flavor to food. However, it’s important to remember that duck fat, like other fats,

The duck over time

Appeared in the XIII th  century, the term ”  duck  ” derives from “cane”, which is possibly an onomatopoeia representing the cry of the bird, and ‘  Mallard  ‘, the latter deriving from “male” and formerly denoting the male wild duck.

The term ”  mulard  “, which designates the hybrids resulting from the cross between the musk duck and the malard, is a neologism formed from the two names.

The domestic duck belongs to two species: on the one hand, the Muscovy duck or musk duck ( Cairina moschata ), native to Central and South America and domesticated by the Incas of Peru, and on the other hand, the mallard ( Anas platyrhynchos ), ancestor of Peking, Rouen and various other modern races. The domestication of the malard, which occurred in various places and times, would date from 3000 years in the south-east of China, but in Europe, it would not have taken place before the Middle Ages. This did not prevent the Romans from keeping ducks in captivity in order to fatten them, but the latter were not really domesticated since they had not yet lost the ability to fly, characteristic of the majority of races breeding.

It is not known exactly why the domestication of duck was so late in Europe, compared to that of the chicken and the goose. It could be because there was little consumption of the flesh of this bird, content for a long time to raise it for ornamental purposes, some species being quite spectacular.

Asia is home to 75% of the duck farms in the world. Duck is particularly popular in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Burma, countries where it plays an important role in food, not only for its protein intake, but also for lipids. . Indeed, fatty substances are often deficient in the diet of Asians, and duck is timely to fill this deficiency, especially since its fat, rich in monounsaturated acids, is relatively healthy. Moreover, in China, duck is selected for the high fat content of its flesh, while in the West, it would be quite the opposite.

Force-feeding: for or against?

Foie gras is obtained by force-feeding ducks (and geese). The method involves pushing a tube down the animal’s throat to the stomach, and introducing a large amount of corn porridge. This practice has the effect of increasing the size of the animal’s liver by ten. In equal quantities, foie gras is ten times richer in lipids than ordinary liver, while it contains approximately ten times less protein and much less water.

Proponents of force-feeding claim that this is a natural process since wild ducks force-feed themselves to store food before embarking on their migratory journey. However, those who oppose it argue that the quantities ingested by them are infinitely lower than those given to farm animals (transposed to the human scale, they would correspond to ten kilos of food, twice per day, for two or three weeks).

If they had to fly, force-fed ducks just couldn’t do it because they would be way too heavy. They move and stand with difficulty, find it difficult to breathe because their liver compresses their lungs, and are unable to provide any sustained effort. In addition, during the period of force-feeding, he dies ten to twenty times more of these birds than in flocks of animals not force-fed. Finally, at slaughter, there are more bone fractures and liver damage in those who have been force-fed. On the basis of these arguments, the European Union Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Welfare concluded in 1998 that force-feeding was detrimental to animal welfare.


Culinary uses

Choose well

Breast, tenderloin, duck breast and filet, what difference?
The fillet is the breast, boned and stripped of part of its fat.
The duck , a word that derives from “lean” and which was established fairly recently in south-west France, is a net from a goose or a duck has been fed.
The aiguillette is a thin slice of fillet.

The duck’s skin should be supple, dry and waxy in appearance. The breast should be plump, and the fat white or slightly gray, depending on the species. Preferably choose birds weighing more than 1.5 kg, the proportion of bones in relation to the flesh being too high in those that are lighter.

Duck fat can be found in some grocery stores or specialty stores.


Cooked duck is at its best when its flesh is slightly pink .

Internal temperature: pieces, 75 ° C (165 ° F); whole, the thermometer embedded in one thigh should read 80 ° C (180 ° F).

Tips: before roasting the whole duck, tie it with a string at the base of the neck and immerse it in boiling water, which will firm the skin and make it more crisp.

At the end of baking, place the duck or pieces on a bread board, cover with aluminum foil and let stand 5 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the room, which will soften the fibers.

Culinary dishes

Luxury skin!
Originally, the famous Peking duck (which date from the XIII th  century) was in fact formed as the volatile skin was coated with a sweet preparation, then roasted over a fire, the wood necessarily came from date palm, pear or peach. This luxury dish was reserved for the rich, the flesh, little appreciated, being left to the servants.

Pan-fried, braised, roasted, sautéed, the duck is also candied. It is often served with an orange, cherry or apple sauce, fruits whose acidity suits its fatty flesh. Oriental sauces and spices also make great companions.

  • Pan-seared duck breast  : make a few diamond cuts in the skin without attacking the flesh, and brown the skin side for about 10 minutes; turn and cook 2 or 3 minutes more, removing excess fat as you go. Let the meat rest and, during this time, melt the chopped shallots, as well as the carrots and celery cut into brunoise, and add a cherry sauce. Cut the meat and serve on a pilaf of wild rice. Garnish with toasted and chopped hazelnuts.
  • Duck soba noodles: cut a duck breast into slices and green onions into sections. Heat duck fat and sauté the shallots. Prepare a broth with dashi, dark soy sauce and clear, a little honey and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about ten minutes, add the duck and cook for just a few more minutes. Cook the soba noodles, drain them and put them in a deep plate. Pour over the broth with the duck. Decorate with green onions and, if desired, season with sansho pepper.
  • Serve a leg or breast in a salad on a bed of endive or radicchio. Top with a reduction of orange juice (juice reduced by two thirds) enriched with a few tablespoons of duck fat and lemon juice.
  • Or serve them in a warm salad with blanched cabbage strips for two minutes in water. Drizzle with a dressing of walnut oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Lacquer: coat the skin of the duck with ice made of water or vinegar and molasses, honey or maple syrup. Ideally, let it sit for a few hours before roasting it in the oven.
  • Spring rolls: moisten rice cakes to soften them and garnish with the leaves of Chinese cabbage strips quickly sautéed in sesame oil, as well as thin slices of duck breast that have been marinated in a compound preparation soy sauce, honey and sesame oil; then return in duck oil or fat.
  • Braised with olives: cut the duck into pieces that will be browned in the oil or in the fat of the animal. Add finely cut vegetables (carrot, celery, onion) and pitted black or green olives. Add the broth (chicken or duck) and simmer until tender, about an hour and a half. If desired, add potatoes halfway through cooking.
  • Candied thighs : rub the thighs with the herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme, bay leaf) and place them in a large dish. Cover them with coarse salt and let stand 12 to 24 hours. Recover the fat from the rest of the duck and finely chop it. Put it to melt on the fire, then pass through a Chinese or a sieve. Rinse the thighs which have macerated in salt under cold water, dry them and cook them for two hours in the fat. They can be eaten immediately or put in the refrigerator, covered with fat.
  • Boning the candied thighs and cooking them in a pot-au-feu with diced vegetables (carrots, potatoes, celery, red cabbage, white cabbage) and dried beans previously soaked in water. Or cook them with sauerkraut.
  • The aiguillettes cook quickly over a high heat. Accompany them with an apple or cherry sauce. They can also be floured and sautéed in duck fat. Flame with cognac or another alcohol and serve with a saffron-flavored mushroom sauce.
  • The fat can be used for cooking: brown diced potatoes or mushrooms, brown quail or rabbit, use it for omelettes or pancakes, add it, melted, into pasta food, etc.
  • With the carcass , we can make a homemade broth which will be used for making soups, sauces, etc.
  • Prepare the heart, liver and gizzard as you would for chicken. In France, the gizzard is candied in fat, like the thighs.


Refrigerator: 1 to 3 days.

Freezer: 10 to 12 months for whole duck, 5 to 8 months for cuts.xq

Ecology and environment

Having long observed the behavior of wild ducks in his rice fields, Takao Furuno, a Japanese farmer, has developed a sustainable and integrated organic rice production method. It uses duck as a source of fertilizer and for the control of unwanted insects and gastropods. In addition, the duck feeds on weeds and by uprooting them, it aerates water and stimulates the roots of rice plants, which promotes their growth.

As his experiments progressed, Takao Furuno complexified and refined his system. Thus, he planted in his rice fields a species of fish that helps feed the ducks, as well as a plant that has the property of fixing atmospheric nitrogen in the soil and enriching it further. Called “Aigamo” – from the Japanese name for the duck species it breeds – this method is used in other Asian countries by tens of thousands of rice producers. This allows them to significantly increase their yield, to diversify their production (through the sale of ducks and their eggs, as well as fish) while reducing their tasks (weeding, in particular, which is very labor-intensive. ‘artwork).

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