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What’s really in those chicken nuggets?

What’s really in those chicken nuggets?

Ever break open the inside of a chicken nugget and wonder what the white stuff was beneath the breading? It turns out chicken muscle — what we traditionally think of as meat — makes up less than half of the chicken in nuggets sold at two popular fast-food chains. The rest is ground up fat, bones, blood vessels, and skin from the chicken, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Medicine.

The study authors declined to name the two chains where they purchased the deep-fried nuggets and analyzed their contents under a microscope, but they did conclude that “chicken nuggets are mostly fat, and their name is a misnomer.”

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While white meat chicken is one of the best sources of lean protein, “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 call it chicken,” study author Dr. Richard D. deShazo of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson said in an interview with Reuters Health.

The best way to get more protein and less fat? Look for nuggets that contain “100 percent whole breast meat.” D.K.

Deborah Kotz can be reached at dkotz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.
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