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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Stand-up comedians have long joked that some things, like the actual components of chicken nuggets, are better left mysterious.

Recently, Mississippi researchers found out why: two nuggets they examined consisted of 50 percent or less chicken muscle tissue, the breast or thigh meat that comes to mind when a customer thinks of "chicken."

The nuggets came from two national fast food chains in Jackson. The three researchers selected one nugget from each box, preserved, dissected and stained the nuggets, then looked at them under a microscope.

The first nugget was about half muscle, with the rest a mix of fat, blood vessels and nerves. Close inspection revealed cells that line the skin and internal organs of the bird, the authors write in the American Journal of Medicine.

The second nugget was only 40 percent muscle, and the remainder was fat, cartilage and pieces of bone.

"We all know white chicken meat to be one of the best sources of lean protein available and encourage our patients to eat it," lead author Dr. Richard D. deShazo of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, said.

"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," deShazo told Reuters Health.

"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."

The nuggets he examined would be okay to eat occasionally, but he worries that since they are cheap, convenient and taste good, kids eat them often. His own grandchildren "beg" for chicken nuggets all the time, and he compromises by making them at home by pan-frying chicken breasts with a small amount of oil, deShazo said.

"Chicken nuggets are an excellent source of protein, especially for kids who might be picky eaters," said Ashley Peterson, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the National Chicken Council (NCC), a non-profit trade group representing the U.S. chicken industry.

According to the NCC, its member producers and processors account for about 95 percent of the chicken produced in the U.S.

"This study evaluates only two chicken nugget samples out of the billions of chicken nuggets that are made every year," Peterson said. A sample size of two nuggets is simply too small to generalize to an entire category of food, she told Reuters Health.

Two nuggets is a small sample size, deShazo acknowledged, and some chains have begun to use primarily white meat in their nuggets - just not the particular restaurants he visited.

"Chicken nuggets tend to have an elevated fat content because they are breaded and fried. But it's no secret what is in a chicken nugget - most quick service restaurants have nutritional information posted in the store or on their website," Peterson said.

"And every package of chicken nuggets in the grocery store by law contains an ingredient list and a complete nutritional profile, including fat content," she said.

The brief chicken nugget exploration was not meant to be an expos? of the chicken industry or fast food generally, but to remind consumers that "not everything that tastes good is good for you," deShazo said.

He and his colleagues chose not to reveal which chain restaurants they visited.

Consumers aren't necessarily being misled, since much of the nutritional information they need is readily available, he said.

"We just don't take the time to understand basic nutritional facts."

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soniqstylz

What comes in a chicken nugget?

 



.

 

 

 

 

I do.

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argonite

I'm... not sure what they expected, or why I should care while I chow down on chicken nuggets.

 

Yeah, they're unhealthy. Big whoop. You don't go to a fast food restaurant for healthy food.

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McKay

Chicken lips and Aholes as my Dad always says.

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+E.Worm Jimmy

I'm... not sure what they expected, or why I should care while I chow down on chicken nuggets.

 

Yeah, they're unhealthy. Big whoop. You don't go to a fast food restaurant for healthy food.

 

i think the main point is that can have actual real food for the money if you just bother to shop and cook.    

 

 

realistically, most men learn how to cook and safe money on food when they have babies.,,,,

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Noir Angel

I rarely eat chicken nuggets these days. Nothing physically harmful but I don't even find restaurant ones to taste that nice these days.

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Phantom Helix

I still like this lol

 

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theyarecomingforyou

I won't eat chicken nuggets as I simply don't trust the manufacturing process.

 

However, I've found the Quorn Chicken Style Nuggets to be excellent.

 

chicken_style_nuggets.jpg

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francescob

I rarely eat chicken nuggets these days.

I prefer them well done. :O

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Gerowen

Chicken lips and Aholes as my Dad always says.

Yep.  How do people think they make their food so cheap?  You don't turn the prime cuts of beef into hamburger or the lean breasts into nuggets, and still keep the dollar menu around.  You take all the leftover bits that can't be made into a cut all by themselves.

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McKay

I won't eat chicken nuggets as I simply don't trust the manufacturing process.

 

However, I've found the Quorn Chicken Style Nuggets to be excellent.

 

 

Quorn?!  :x

 

ABOMINATION I SAY!!! 

 

ABOMINATION UNTO FOOD!!!

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exotoxic

If he doesn't want his grandchildren to eat them then just tell them what they are made of :laugh:

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theyarecomingforyou

Quorn?!  :x

 

ABOMINATION I SAY!!! 

Have you actually tried them? I fail to see how they're any more of an abomination than the pieces of bone, connective tissue and fat that make up the majority of actual chicken nuggets. There are lots of great Quorn products, like the Escalopes, Chicken Style Pieces and Southern Style Burgers. They're better than most of the cheap meat that supermarkets and fast food places sell.

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McKay

Have you actually tried them? I fail to see how they're any more of an abomination than the pieces of bone, connective tissue and fat that make up the majority of actual chicken nuggets. There are lots of great Quorn products, like the Escalopes, Chicken Style Pieces and Southern Style Burgers. They're better than most of the cheap meat that supermarkets and fast food places sell.

 

But  processed giblets and beaks are delicious  :rofl:

 

Quorn is like a pushup Bra, it looks great, but then you get down to business and it's just disappointment. 

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theyarecomingforyou

But  processed giblets and beaks are delicious  :rofl:

 

Quorn is like a pushup Bra, it looks great, but then you get down to business and it's just disappointment. 

You didn't answer my question.  :ermm:

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McKay

You didn't answer my question.  :ermm:

 

Yes I have tried various Quorn dishes, they all tasted very bland and didn't have the same feel in the mouth as meat at all. 

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Timan

Craving some mcnuggets... yum yum yum. MERICA

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Ironman273

So if people are eating them and liking them and we are more fully using the chicken (apparently we can get twice as many nuggets as just using muscle) shouldn't we as a society be happy we're not wasting edible parts of the chicken?

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NightScreams

They taste good, who cares.

 

"We just don't take the time to understand basic nutritional facts."
 

See above. Everyone understands that unhealthy food is unhealthy, in fact many people live it as obvious by their size. They don't care....see, those are the words of what no one is taking the time to understand.

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theyarecomingforyou

So if people are eating them and liking them and we are more fully using the chicken (apparently we can get twice as many nuggets as just using muscle) shouldn't we as a society be happy we're not wasting edible parts of the chicken?

The real issue is the lack of transparency and the misrepresentation of what is being sold. When the majority of the "chicken" consists of small pieces of bone, connective tissue and fat then it is clearly misleading. The issue is further compounded when harsh chemicals like ammonia gas have to be used to make it suitable for human consumption. There needs to be strict guidelines to ensure that consumers are aware of what they're eating and getting what they pay for.

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vcfan

So if people are eating them and liking them and we are more fully using the chicken (apparently we can get twice as many nuggets as just using muscle) shouldn't we as a society be happy we're not wasting edible parts of the chicken?

 

not only that, but there isnt even anything wrong with eating connective tissue,fat, or bones. it adds extra amino acids,calcium and minerals. its also what gives the chicken nugget its texture.

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FloatingFatMan

Have you actually tried them? I fail to see how they're any more of an abomination than the pieces of bone, connective tissue and fat that make up the majority of actual chicken nuggets. There are lots of great Quorn products, like the Escalopes, Chicken Style Pieces and Southern Style Burgers. They're better than most of the cheap meat that supermarkets and fast food places sell.

 

I've tried various quorn products in the past.  For me, they have 3 main issues.

 

1.  Dryness.  Really, a quorn nugget was about as moist as a bucket of sand from death valley.

2.  Price.  WAY more expensive than the meat equivalents.

3.  Flavour. They were just... bland.

 

It'd be interesting to see the same tests done on UK McNuggets, seeing as McD's claim they're 100% breast meat and we're pretty strict on claims like that.

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The Evil Overlord

As far as not meat, or meat sub food, I finally tried some tofu, my wife made, the chicken one was especially nice

(was fried in chicken stock from a roast)

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FloatingFatMan

As far as not meat, or meat sub food, I finally tried some tofu, my wife made, the chicken one was especially nice

(was fried in chicken stock from a roast)

 

Personally, if I'm going to eat vegetables, I'd rather they be presented as they should be instead of trying to masquerade as meat.

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The Evil Overlord

Personally, if I'm going to eat vegetables, I'd rather they be presented as they should be instead of trying to masquerade as meat.

Just wanted to try something different, out of my comfort zone, been curious about tofu for a while :)

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