Like Chicken Nuggets? Don’t Read This

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How much of a chicken nugget would you say is chicken?

It really depends on the source.

Dr. Richard D. deShazo, a professor of medicine and pediatrics, along with Dr. Steven Bigler, a pathologist, recently put chicken nuggets from a couple of undisclosed national fast-food restaurants under the microscope and published a study in the American Journal of Medicine about it.

They told The Atlantic what they found: “It’s almost like super glue that we’re eating. In some fast-food restaurants,” deShazo says. “We’ve taken a very healthy product — lean, white meat — and processed it, goo-ed it up with fat, sugar and salt.”

To be more specific, he found that Nugget A contained:

  • 56 percent fat.
  • 25 percent carbohydrates.
  • 19 percent protein.
  • Blood vessels, nerves, “generous quantities of epithelium [from skin of visceral organs] and associated supportive tissue.”

And Nugget B contained:

  • 58 percent fat.
  • 24 percent carbs.
  • 18 percent protein.
  • Lots of skeletal muscle, and “generous quantities of fat and other tissue, including connective tissue and bone.”

Yummy. Both nuggets had the breading removed before analysis, so that isn’t factored in.

The National Chicken Council had plenty to say about the study. It argued that chicken nuggets are an excellent source of protein and that the study “evaluates only two chicken nugget samples out of the billions of chicken nuggets that are made every year,” The Atlantic says. In a fact-vs.-myth article, it also says that chicken nuggets are not meat glue. “Transglutaminase, referred to by some as ‘meat glue,’ is not used to make chicken nuggets,” the council says.

Not all chicken nuggets have a makeup like this, deShazo says.

“Some chains are outspoken in addressing recent concerns about this, including KFC and Chick-fil-A, which advertise that their nuggets are entirely breast meat,” The Atlantic says. So look for that kind of labeling if these results creep you out.

Does this study change your opinion of chicken nuggets at all? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • Reta Rogers

    Strangely enough, I’ve never really liked nuggets unless I made them myself! That kind of defeats the “fast food” advantage, but it tastes better!

  • Cedric B

    OMG I used to love quote , unquote “chiken nuggets”. Dont know if i will be eating them again

  • Bob Lee

    Yep! no surprise here, I wouldn’t trust any processed foods to get something real.

  • ModernMode

    I’ve had KFC and Chick-fil-a nuggets and they are the real deal. Only nuggets I will eat. You can tell if it’s real by the price. Real nuggets cost more. But worth it.

  • Briana Marie Molina

    And my husband wonders why I favor Chic fil a, salads and home-cooked meals over typical fast food…. Hah! “Dollar Menu” my behind. In the long run, eating that crap costs health, money, and time I just wont give to them.

  • Old Highland Guy

    and another thing, chickens don’t have nuggets!

  • Arlyn

    Yeah ya got me. Pretty soon there won’t be anything at all good to eat unless you like raw carrots and who is gonna survive eating those for long? Thanks for all the good info though.

  • Bill Burrows

    First of all, let me say that I enjoy MoneyTalksNews and regularly share articles and tips with friends, family, and co-workers. That said, the article about chicken nuggets was worse than useless (to be blunt). Informing us of suspect ingredients in unnamed chains gives me no information to base a wise (and specific) change in consumer habits upon–which is what I rely on MoneyTalksNews to help me do. Should I quite eating all chicken nuggets (probably, but that’s another article) just to be sure I avoid only the two “mystery chains?” Or should I play “nugget roulette” and hope I randomly select a more healthy choice? I could go on (apparently), but the point is, don’t cite inflammatory/disturbing/titillating information without telling us who-the-heck you’re talking about. Better to find a source that specifically names the culprits than to leave us hanging in chicken ligament limbo.