What’s Really In That Chicken Nugget?

Are you like the many Americans who love hitting the drive thru for a deep fried poultry based meal?  Chicken nuggets are massively popular.  They are accessible and for many of us, they’re downright delicious.  We all know that chicken nuggets are by no means healthy, but you might be surprised to learn just how unhealthy they can be.

We expect simple ingredients; after all, chicken should be the foundation, right?  Unfortunately, what many fast food restaurants are passing off as chicken nuggets is actually something more unusual.  This mystery meat might not be what your parents called chicken.

NuggetsA recent study examined chicken nuggets from two different fast food chains (who were unnamed in the study), and the nuggets contained 50 percent or less of muscle tissue, which is what most nuggets are comprised of.  The rest were made of pure fat, cartilage, bone nerves and blood vessels.

“What has happened is that some companies have chosen to use an artificial mixture of chicken parts rather than low-fat chicken white meat, batter it up and fry it and still call it chicken,” lead author Dr. Richard D. deShazo, of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, told Reuters Health. “It is really a chicken by-product high in calories, salt, sugar and fat that is a very unhealthy choice.”

This may sound disgusting to you, but it’s also very unhealthy.  The reason why these restaurants are using these parts of the chicken is because they are inexpensive.  The solid traditional white meat of a chicken is much more expensive, which is why there is little of this found in chicken nuggets.

Amongst other weird ingredients, most nuggets contain a ton of additives such as an anti-foaming agent that can also be found in silly putty.  There is also propylene glycol, which is a chemical found in anti-freeze.  Although nuggets are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re healthy or totally safe.

“If something is clearly not the way it ought to be, assume potential harm until it’s proven to be safe,” Richard Prayson, MD, head of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Anatomic Pathology stated. “I would invoke the precautionary principle and say that something that sounds dubious should be considered harmful… If it’s not a native part of the food supply, I wouldn’t eat it.”

So the next time you are thinking about hitting the drive-thru for some chicken nuggets, remember all the ingredients that aren’t chicken.  Ask yourself if you want your kids to be eating their silly putty.


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

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