10/11/2013 05:12 EDT

What Are Chicken Nuggets Made Of?


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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