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Chicken McNuthin’

by Denis Faye - The Nutrition Nerd | October 4, 2013

What’s in your chicken nugget? If you believe this new study in the American Journal of Medicine, you’re feasting on skin, bone, cartilage, guts, and fat–and not much meat. The researchers took samples from two major chains. They found one to contain 40% actual meat (muscle fiber) and the other to contain 50% meat. The rest was made up of seemingly random chicken parts.

Thanks to Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, many of us already know there’s not much nutritionally valid about chicken nuggets–with the Chicken McNugget being the most lash-worthy whipping boy. Pollan points out that, of the 38 ingredients in a McNugget, 13 are corn-based, not to mention the inclusion of TBHQ, a form of butane (lighter fluid) used as a preservative. But now, thanks to this new study, we know that what little fowl actually made it into these nuggets is actually pretty foul.

And the chicken industry’s response to this study is awesome. Ashley Peterson, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the National Chicken Council (NCC), a non-profit trade group representing the U.S. chicken industry, told Reuters, “Chicken nuggets are an excellent source of protein, especially for kids who might be picky eaters.”

Although this comment makes Peterson’s grasp of nutritional science seem somewhat tenious, given she overlooked the greasy, fried breading that generally accompanies that “excellent” protein, she still took the opportunity to critique the flaws in the study, pointing out that the researchers only sampled 2 nugs out of the “billions” that Americans gobble down every year.

So, yeah, maybe these guys accidentally picked the two dodgiest samples in the country. But still, had they sampled, let’s say, a piece of grilled chicken breast, what are the odds that would have happened?

None. The odds would have been none.

So if you want to feed your kids little greasy lumps of (definitely) GMO corn and (probably) chicken intestines and beaks, that’s your call. I’d rather mine go hungry for a day and then decide to eat something healthy when she sees she’s lost the stand off.

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