Most of us think there's not a lot of actual chicken in our chicken nuggets. So what's the rest of that nugget gunk actually made of?

A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine found some nuggets contained less than 50 per cent of actual chicken meat. So instead of eating fresh white meat, some nugget-lovers were actually chomping down on chicken fat, skin, nerves and in some cases, bone structure.

“I was floored. I was astounded,” lead author Dr. Richard deShazo, a professor of medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said in a video statement according to CTV News. “Seeing this under the microscope is a whole lot different than reading numbers on a webpage or something.”

DeShazo and his team ordered chicken nuggets at two unnamed national restaurant chains and randomly selected one nugget from each box. After inspecting the "meat" a little closer, deShazo and his team found 50 per cent skeletal muscle, blood vessels, fat and nerve in the first nugget. Similarly, the second nugget had 40 per cent skeletal muscle with traces of chicken fat and tissue.

"Available information suggests that the average composition of chicken nuggets from restaurant chain one is 56 per cent fat, 25 per cent carbohydrates, and 19 per cent protein, and from restaurant chain two is 58 per cent fat, 24 per cent carbohydrates, and 18 per cent protein," the researchers noted in the study.

But according to the National Chicken Council in the U.S., this study's small sample size of two locations doesn't represent most nuggets, notes Reuters.

"Chicken nuggets tend to have an elevated fat content because they are breaded and fried. But it's no secret what is in a chicken nugget -- most quick service restaurants have nutritional information posted in the store or on their website," Peterson said.

But generally, if you are shopping for nuggets or buying them from a fast food chain, do your homework. If you're worried about fat or protein content, always read your labels. And if you're unsure, you can always whip up your own (healthier) versions at home.

So, do you still love your nuggets? Let us know in the comments below:

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  • Palm Oil

    When a regular fat like corn, soybean, or palm oil is blasted with hydrogen and turned into a solid, it becomes a trans fat. These evil anti-nutrients help packaged foods stay “fresh,” meaning that the food can sit on the supermarket shelf for years without ever getting stale or rotting. Eating junk food with trans fats raises your “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lowers your “good” HDL. These fats also increase your risk of blood clots and heart attack. Avoid palm oil and other trans fats like the plague, and kiss fried foods goodbye too, since they’re usually fried in one of these freakish trans-fatty oils.

  • Shortening

    Ditch any food that lists shortening or partially hydrogenated oil as an ingredient, since these are also evil trans fats. In addition to clogging your arteries and causing obesity, they also increase your risk of metabolic syndrome. Choose healthier monounsaturated fats, such as olive, peanut and canola oils and foods that contain unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids instead.

  • 'White' Processed Foods

    When a whole grain is refined, most of its nutrients are sucked out in an effort to extend its shelf life. Both the bran and germ are removed, and therefore all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Because these stripped down, refined grains are devoid of fiber and other nutrients, they’re also easy to digest — TOO EASY. They send your blood sugar and insulin skyrocketing, which can lead to all sorts of problems. Replace processed grains with whole grains, like brown or wild rice, whole-wheat breads and pastas, barley, and oatmeal.

  • Corn Syrup

    The evil king of all refined grains is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The amount of refined sugar we consume has declined over the past 40 years, but we’re consuming almost 20 times as much HFCS. According to researchers at Tufts University, Americans, for example, consume more calories from HFCS than any other source. It’s in practically EVERYTHING. It increases triglycerides, boosts fat-storing hormones, and drives people to overeat and gain weight. Adopt my zero-tolerance policy, and steer clear of this sweet “poison.”

  • Artificial Sweeteners

    Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), saccharin (Sweet'N Low, SugarTwin), and sucralose (Splenda) may be even harder on our metabolic systems than plain old sugar. These supposedly diet-friendly sweeteners may actually be doing more harm than good! Studies suggest that artificial sweeteners trick the brain into forgetting that sweetness means extra calories, making people more likely to keep eating sweet treats without abandon. Nip it in the bud. Scan ingredient labels and ban all artificial sweeteners from entering your mouth.

  • Sodium Benzoate And Potassium Benzoate

    These preservatives are sometimes added to soda to prevent mold from growing, but benzene is a known carcinogen that is also linked with serious thyroid damage. Dangerous levels of benzene can build up when plastic bottles of soda are exposed to heat or when the preservatives are combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Don’t risk it, people.

  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

    BHA is another potentially cancer-causing preservative, but it has been deemed safe by the FDA. Its job is to help prevent spoilage and food poisoning, but it’s a major endocrine disruptor and can seriously mess with your hormones. BHA is in HUNDREDS of foods. It’s also found in food packaging and cosmetics. BHA has many aliases. You can look them up. Or you can follow my advice and DITCH processed foods altogether.

  • Sodium Nitrates And Sodium Nitrites

    No that’s not a typo. These two different preservatives are found in processed meats like bacon, lunch meat, and hot dogs. They’re some of the worst offenders, and they’re believed to cause colon cancer and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes. P<a href="" target="_blank">rotect your health</a> by always choosing fresh, organic meats.

  • Blue, Green, Red, And Yellow

    The artificial colours blue 1 and 2, green 3, red 3, and yellow 6 have been linked to thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney, and brain cancers. Always seek out foods with the fewest artificial chemicals, especially when shopping for your kids. Look for colour-free medications and natural food products that don’t contain artificial colours like these.

  • MSG

    Monosodium glutamate is a processed “flavor enhancer.” While glutamates are present in some natural foods, such as meat and cheese, the ones exploited by the processed-foods industry are separated from their host proteins through hydrolysis. The jury is still out on how harmful MSG may be, but high levels of free glutamates have been shown to seriously screw with brain chemistry. Don’t fall prey to chemical flavor enhancing. Just play it safe and flavor your food naturally.