A paper published yesterday in the American Journal of Medicine analyzed the contents of chicken nuggets from “two major fast food chains,” finding that one was only 50% muscle protein and the other only 40% muscle protein.
This paper, by Richard deShazo, MD, Steven Bigler, MD, and Leigh Skipworth took one sample from a box of chicken nuggets from each of two fast food restaurants, fixed them in formalin, sectioned them and stained them for analysis. They found that one nugget was 50% muscle and most of the rest fat, with some blood vessels and nerves present. The sample from the second restaurant was 40% muscle and most of the rest fat, although it also contained connective tissue and bone spicules.
The authors are all from Jackson, MS, which they note is a state with one of the highest obesity rates in the US, and they express concern about these foods being fed to children.
The paper is not quite 2 pages long, labeled a “Brief,” and contains only 3-4 paragraphs of text and less than 2 paragraphs of discussion. The American Journal of Medicine is not a top tier journal, but is indexed in PubMed and has an impact factor of 4.678. This is small for a broad coverage journal but not unusual for specialty journals. Five of the 9-member editorial board are from Tucson, AZ and two from Baltimore, which may limit the breadth of coverage in some sense, but the articles seem perfectly fine. The journal does have a long article on the growth of “integrative medicine” quackery, which is somewhat troubling, though.
We bought four chicken McNuggets and compared one of them sliced with an actual piece of roast chicken in the photos. If you just cut open a McNugget as we did, it looks more like a cold cut than a piece of chicken, with no real meat striations. Look at the difference in the roast chicken breast photo.
The study should, of course, have identified the food vendors they sampled, and more than a single sample would probably give more nuanced information, but they are in the ball park with that from the nutrition tables.
We tasted one of the McDonald’s McNuggets, and found it very greasy and pretty tasteless. Our dog loved it, though.Chicken nuggets have more fat than meat. We preferred the actual chicken