Think you’re choosing the lesser of two evils by ordering the eight-piece, white-meat chicken nugget meal instead of a bacon cheeseburger? A small September 2013 study published in The American Journal of Medicine that reveals the mystery makeup of this Happy Meal staple might encourage you to rethink your strategy in the fast food line.
The study showed that one of the nuggets was composed of approximately 50 percent skeletal muscle (what we think of as chicken meat) and 50 percent composed of fat, with some blood vessels and nerves and pieces of supportive tissue cells and skin cells. The other nugget was only made up of about 40 percent skeletal muscle, with the rest consisting of fat and other tissues, plus some pieces of bone. Have you lost your appetite yet? We figured.
Besides just sounding disgusting, this grab bag of ingredients suggests that the innocent “all white meat” nugget from fast food chains might actually be a poor source of protein and total fat and carbohydrate bomb disguised as a lean meat. Truth be told, you’ll get blood vessels and other tissue in any chicken, whether you buy it from the farmer’s market or a fast food joint. And how much actual meat do you really think is in a chicken wing? The takeaway here is: Don’t be tricked into thinking chicken nuggets are somehow healthy. Like most highly processed foods, they unfortunately have little to offer in terms of quality nutrition, even though they might have our tastebuds fooled.