A few brave scientists in Mississippi took the childhood favorite, the chicken nugget, and rendered it to it's beginning state in order discover what many of us already knew, but some of us were in denial about: chicken nuggets aren't entirely actual meat. If you're a Jamie Oliver fan, you'll never forget this diet-changing episode:
"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 to Reuters. "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."
The researchers chose two fast food chains in Jackson, and ordered the nuggets. They then chose one nugget from each box, and preserved it (more than usual, I guess). Then they broke the nugget apart, disected it, stained it, and looked at it under a microscope.
Reportedly, 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. Gross!!
According to CBS, lead author DeShazo said the study proves that chicken nuggets are actually chicken by-product and they consist of mostly salt, sugar and fat, all of which are empty calories. However, he unwittingly offers a good solution to parents (or grandparents) looking for an alternative. He said if his grandchildren ask for nuggets, he compromises by pan frying some chicken breasts with a little bit of oil.
The researchers were not saying which fast food chains the nuggets came from, but we can probably be assured that it's not much different wherever you drive thru.
Image via wikipedia