Researchers Study Chicken Nuggets, Results Make Us Feel Sick

Researchers decided to study chicken nuggets and the results they presented will make us all feel a bit sick. So, spoiler alert all you nugget lovers, you may want to skip this one.

The study was aptly titled, "The Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets Reads 'Chicken Little," and was published in September in the American Journal of Medicine.

The researchers revealed that two chicken nuggets they took from fast food chains in Jackson, Mississippi, contained only about half of what can be considered "chicken meat."

Nugget number one contained about 50 percent muscle tissue, or what we would normally consider chicken meat. The rest was made from fat, blood vessels, and nerves, specifically cells that line the chicken's skin and internal organs.

The second chicken nugget dissected by the researchers was 40 percent muscle. The rest of what we used to consider a tasty indulgence was made from fat, cartilage, and bone. Yum.

Lead author Dr. Richard D. deShazo of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, stated of the findings, "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 it chicken."

The study shows, according to researchers, that chicken nuggets are really chicken by-product, along with salt, sugar, and fat. In essence, instead of a low-fat chicken product, the chains are selling mostly calories. DeShazo added that the results are more disturbing, because the nuggets are marketed to kids.

But don't brush off all chicken nuggets as bad. National Chicken Council, a non-profit trade group representing the US chicken industry, assured that the product is a wonderful source of protein. The group added that the researchers only looked at two chicken nuggets for the study.

DeShazo admitted the study's chicken nugget sample size was small and other companies have changed the formula to use only white meat in their nuggets. Still, we can't help but feel the heebie jeebies when we think about the study.

[Image via ShutterStock]