MB900059686The results of a new study from the University of Mississippi Medical Center shouldn’t surprise you.  What surprises me is that, after years of speculation, someone finally decided to do an autopsy on one of America’s favorite foods to find out what it’s really made of.

So what is in a chicken nugget?  Chicken, of course.  Well, actually…

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 wrote in the American Journal of Medicine.

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


Kathryn Doyle quotes the study’s author:

“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.”


As you would expect, the National Chicken Council (N.C.C.) is not amused:

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 said.


The thing about fast-food chains is how uniform and consistent the food is.  A chicken nugget or a Big Mac looks and tastes the same whether the restaurant is on Main Street or Maple Street, or in Memphis or Manila.  I’d bet money that the chicken nuggets that were examined were exactly like the other ones in the boxes they came from!

The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, ultimately concludes:

Chicken nuggets are mostly fat, and their name is a misnomer.




(Image: office.microsoft.com)