News / Health

Study: Not So Much Chicken in Chicken Nuggets

A recent analysis of two chicken nuggets from two popular restaurants revealed they only contained 40 to 50 percent meat. (<a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Foster_Farms_breast_nuggets_frozen.JPG">Creative Commons</a>)
A recent analysis of two chicken nuggets from two popular restaurants revealed they only contained 40 to 50 percent meat. (Creative Commons)

Related Articles

Over a Billion Tons of Food Wasted Annually

New FAO report cites environment and economic consequences

Video Lifestyle Changes Could Lengthen Telomeres, Life

Test subjects who went on a health kick saw their telomeres lengthen

Compound in Vegetables Protects Against Radiation

Substance in vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli protected rats and mice from lethal doses of radiation
That chicken nugget you’re eating may only contain 40 to 50 percent meat, according to a new study that analyzed chicken nuggets from two major fast-food chains.

What made up the rest of the nuggets? Researchers said “fat, skin, connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves and bone fragments.”

While all edible, the ingredients don't add up to a good choice, said Dr. Richard deShazo, a professor of medicine, pediatrics and immunology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center where the analysis took place.

“I was floored,” deShazo said. “I had read what other reports have said is in them, and I didn’t believe it. I was astonished actually seeing it under the microscope.”

White chicken meat is one of the best sources of lean protein available, deShazo said, and physicians often encourage their patients to eat it.

“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. It is really a chicken by-product high in calories, salt, sugar and fat that is a very unhealthy choice. Even worse, it tastes great and kids love it and it is marketed to them,” he said.

For the examination, deShazo worked with Dr. Steven Bigler, a pathologist at Baptist Health Systems in Jackson, Mississippi, who stained, fixed, sliced and analyzed the nugget sections.

In their paper, the physicians wrote that meat constituted about half of nugget No. 1.

“The nugget from the first restaurant was composed of approximately 50 percent skeletal muscle, with the remainder composed primarily of fat, with some blood vessels and nerve present. Higher-power views showed generous quantities of epithelium and associated supportive tissue including squamous epithelium from skin or viscera,” they wrote.

“The nugget from the second restaurant was composed of approximately 40 percent skeletal muscle. Here, too, there were generous quantities of fat and other tissue, including connective tissue and bone spicules.”

DeShazo cautions that the experiment wasn’t designed as a comprehensive study of nuggets from all major fast-food chains. Nor do the results from two randomly selected nuggets from two prominent chains represent all chicken nugget offerings available.

The National Chicken Council (NCC), a national, non-profit trade association representing the U.S. chicken industry echoed that sentiment.

“This study evaluates only two chicken nugget samples out of the billions of chicken nuggets that are made every year,” said Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., the NCC vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs.  “It is not scientifically justifiable to make inferences about an entire product category given a sample size of two.”

She added that NCC members “use quality ingredients and adhere to all food safety laws and regulations” to create nuggets.

“Chicken nuggets are an excellent source of protein, especially for kids who might be picky eaters,” she said.

The American Journal of Medicine published deShazo's findings online in September ahead of its print issue.

Here's a short video about the analysis:

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Markt
October 23, 2013 2:07 PM
I know I had never really liked any chicken nuggets from any fast food chain, now I know I will never eat another one. If I get the hankering for chicken, I will thaw out that package of chicken breasts from the freezer and grill them. You can't tell me there is bone and viscera in those...or I will throw a chicken wing at you....


by: Fnord from: Stendec
October 23, 2013 11:24 AM
You know what they say ... "Parts is parts!"

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid