There’s something that tends to make me nervous whenever I see news concerning celebrities and the consumption of chicken.

So when I saw a recent First We Feast report about when actor Matt Damon went on a diet that consisted only of chicken breast meat, I wondered what kind of criticism the poultry industry would be getting. Fortunately, there has been none, at least to my knowledge.

Damon, 21 years ago, had a memorable role in the movie “Courage Under Fire.” In that film, Damon, then in his twenties, played a heroin addict, and had to lose an incredible amount of weight in order to be believable in the role.

It wasn’t until recently that Damon revealed what he did to drop about 50 pounds in just a matter of months.

Damon, who has since returned to a more normalized weight, stated in a Reddit chat that “Courage Under Fire” was his most challenging role to date.

‘The hard part’

Damon stated that he ran about 13 miles per day to help lose weight to prepare for the role. And while that sounds difficult to do, he added that running “wasn’t even the hard part.”

“The hard part was the diet,” wrote Damon. “All I ate was chicken breast. It’s not like I had a chef or anything. I just made it up and did what I thought I had to do.”

The lean meat advantage

While Damon in the film clearly looked unhealthy from eating only chicken, let’s look at this from the positive perspective.

Millions of Americans seem to always be looking for ways to lose weight, and Damon’s weight loss is further proof of what we already knew: Chicken is a great-tasting lean protein. We can only hope that those seeking to drop a few pounds include chicken as part of a more balanced diet.

“We support a balanced diet that includes meat, fruit and vegetables,” National Chicken Council Senior Vice President of Communications Tom Super said in response to Damon’s diet. “The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognize the importance of including lean meats like chicken in a healthy diet.  For many, chicken is the go-to food for lean meat, because of its low fat and high protein content, its versatility, affordability, ease of preparation and nutrient richness -- all main reasons why per capita consumption of chicken in 2016 will hit a record high of over 90 pounds per person.”