The nugget from the first restaurant (breading not included) was approximately 50 percent muscle. The other half was primarily fat, with some blood vessels and nerve, as well as “generous quantities of epithelium [from skin of visceral organs] and associated supportive tissue.” That broke down overall to 56 percent fat, 25 percent carbohydrates, and 19 percent protein.
The nugget from the second restaurant was 40 percent skeletal muscle, as well as “generous quantities of fat and other tissue, including connective tissue and bone.” That was 58 percent fat, 24 percent carbs, and 18 percent protein.
“We’ve taken a very healthy product—lean, white meat—and processed it, goo-ed it up with fat, sugar, and salt [in the breading],” he said. “Kids love that combination.” So do non-kids.
A professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center examined random chicken nuggets from two unnamed restaurants and discovered that chicken nuggets actually don’t have very much lean, white meat. Aren’t chicken nuggets on the level of hot dogs by now? Hot dogs are also often a mish-mash of different parts, but they’re popular among kids as well. And they’re popular among kids, as we learned from Jamie Oliver, even when kids know what the nuggets are made of. The National Chicken Council still maintains that chicken nuggets are a good source or protein and that consumers can just look at websites and pamphlets for nutritional information. Also chains like KFC know that people can be turned off by this mish-mash so they are quick to advertise that their nuggets are entirely made of breast meat. And they’re delicious.
Photo: Fox Wu