Jackson, MS-- Three researches just published an article in the American Journal of Medicine saying the name "chicken nugget" is a misnomer. According to their findings, muscle (chicken meat) was not the main ingredient. Bone, nerve, connective tissue, and fat made up more than half of the nuggets.
Dr. Richard D. DeShazo, Dr. Steven Bigler, and Leigh Baldwon Skipworth published the article in conjunction with their work at the University of Mississioppi medical Center. They received no outside funding.
The report says the wanted to dig deeper because, "chicken nuggets are a favorite of children, and the obesity epidemic now extends to them as well, we thought knowing a bit more about the content of the contemporary chicken nugget could be important."
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The researchers chose two fast food restaurants at random from the 50 companies in the Jackson, Mississippi area. Critics say the sample is too small to draw any wider conclusions. Of the two nuggets they examined under a microscope, one was composed of 50% muscle with the remainder composed of fat, blood vessels, and nerve tissue. The second sample contained only 40% muscle. They rest was made up of fat and connective tissue.
The researchers confirm chicken nuggets "remain a poor source of protein and are high in fat. Medical professionals should advise patients of the limited nutritional value of many processed food, including this product."
The National Chicken Council lashed out at the study. Dr. Ashley Peterson, the NCC VP of scientific and regulatory affairs, released a statement on their website:
In making chicken nuggets, our members use quality ingredients and adhere to all food safety laws and regulations to create a product with high quality their customers and consumers expect. Chicken nuggets are an excellent source of protein, especially for kids who might be picky eaters.
This study evaluates only two chicken nugget samples out of the billions of chicken nuggets that are made every year. It is not scientifically justifiable to make inferences about an entire product category given a sample size of two.
The researchers say while all restaurants provide nutritional information, "the composition of the present day chicken nugget is not well understood."