Chicken Nuggets Contain a Mix of Fat, Skin, Blood Vessels, Says Study


A study has revealed that chicken meat is not the predominant component in nuggets. It consists of items people do not unusually imagine when eating the snack.

Through a laboratory testing of chicken nuggets from two unnamed major national fast-food chains in Jackson, University of Mississippi researchers found that they contained just 40 to 50 percent meat, the remaining  50 to 60 percent comprised of bits of chicken-by-products such as fat, skin, connective tissues, blood vessels, nerve tissues, organ parts and ground bone fragments.

Chicken nugget lovers now have something else to chew on !

Dr. Richard deShazo, UMMC professor of medicine, pediatrics and immunology along with Dr. Steven Bigler, a pathologist at Baptist Health Systems in Jackson. Bigler stained, sliced and studied the nugget sections under a microscope.

 "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," the study said.

"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."
"I was floored," DeShazo said in an official statement. "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."

The study was basically conducted to make consumers aware of the fact that 'not everything that tastes good is good for you," DeShazo said.

DeShazo said that chicken meat is often recommended by physicians as it is one of the best sources of lean protein.

"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," DeShazo said.

"This is about people having the knowledge and resources to make healthy choices."

 "We've got to learn how to distribute our calories across a diet that includes lean protein, fresh fruit and green vegetables," deShazo said. "We're literally eating ourselves to death with obesity. We have to learn to eat a balanced diet where it's not all carbohydrates and fat."

This finding should ring the alarm bells especially for everyone who thought chicken nuggets were a good source of lean meat. DeShazo said that these chicken nuggets do no harm the human body when eaten rarely. But as they are low-priced, convenient and taste good, kids eat them more often.

"My concern is that these constitute a large part of people's diets. Particularly children. When you fry any food, you've got a problem because you add a lot of calories to it. And we eat high-fat foods like chicken nuggets rather than fresh fruits and vegetables."

If a large portion of a particular food is fat, "And it is the predominant food that your child eats, they are going to become obese. And they could eventually get diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and other diseases we call co-morbidities."

According to Science world report, health officials have recommended parents to prepare their own chicken nuggets at home from cut-up, skinless, boneless chicken breasts, with a little bread and a little oil.

DeShazo said that fast-food chains aren't misleading consumers as nutritional information is readily available everywhere.

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

The finding has been published online in the September edition of American Journal of Medicine.

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