Ever wondered what chicken nuggets are really made off? Researchers delving into the contents of these junk favorites found they are more about bone, nerves, connective tissues than actual chicken.

Lead author of the study Dr. Richard D. deShazo a professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center said, “This is cartilage. This is gastrointestinal tissue. There’s all kinds of random stuff in there that’s not chicken meat.”

“Autopsy” of chicken nuggets
Given that chicken nuggets have become a big part of the American diet, researchers from University of Mississippi Medical Center and Baptist Medical Center wanted to determine the current composition of this highly processed food.

For this purpose, they randomly chose nuggets from two different fast food restaurants located in Jackson, Miss. They refrained from disclosing the names of the franchise.They selected one nugget from each box, preserved, dissected and then stained before examining the chicken pieces under the microscope.

Findings
The analysis revealed that chicken meat was not the major component in either nugget.The ingredients in the first nugget were half muscle while and the remaining half was fat, blood vessels, bone and nerves. On closer scrutiny experts found cells that line the skin and internal organs of chickens.Chicken meat in the second nugget was only 40 percent of muscle, and the remainder was fat, cartilage and pieces of bone.

Dr. Richard D. deShazo said, “We all know white chicken meat to be one of the best sources of lean protein available and encourage our patients to eat it… 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.”

He added, “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.”

Experts concede that chicken nuggets consumed occasionally are fine provided people are making healthy eating choices like fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.

The findings were published in The American Journal of Medicine.

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