Like Chicken Nuggets? Don’t Read This

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Researchers put chicken nuggets from 2 fast-food chains under the microscope and found some interesting stuff.

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.

Stacy Johnson

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