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Do You Know What Chicken Nuggets Are Made Of? Study Shows It's Not Chicken—Find Out What!

Chicken Nuggets

If you eat a chicken breast, you're eating a chicken breast. If you eat a chicken leg, you're eating a chicken leg. If you eat a chicken nugget, you're eating...

We'll get to that in a second.

The American Journal of Medicine has published a study cleverly titled, "The Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets Reads ‘Chicken Little'" to determine "the current composition of this highly processed food." 

Nuggets were selected "randomly" from two national food chains in Jackson, Miss. (the chains are not named in the study, feel free to make your guesses!), "fixed in formalin, sectioned and stained for microscopic analysis."

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After they were dissected, Dr. Richard D. deShazo, who conducted the study, concluded that nuggets were made of less than 50 percent chicken muscle tissue (the breasts, legs, etc. you might expect). 

Instead, nuggets are made of: Fat, skin, gristle, nerves, blood vessels, cartilage and "pieces of bone."


"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," Dr. deShazo explained.

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Chicken Nuggets

He continues, "It is really a chicken by-product high in calories, salt, sugar and fat that is a very unhealthy choice."

Ashley Peterson, V.P. of scientific and regulatory affairs for the National Chicken Council, has called the study "infinitesimally small." Still, she says, "Chicken nuggets are an excellent source of protein, especially for kids who might be picky eaters."

Dr. deShazo does admit that, even after the study, he still believes nuggets "would be OK to eat occasionally."

If you can still stomach it.

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