chicken nuggets art 263x163 Study Reveals what Really Makes up Fast Food Chicken Nuggets
Chicken Nuggets, from artist Banksy’s 2008 installation “The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill” in New York City. Image from NPR.org.

Recently, a study made waves when it revealed fast food chicken nuggets are a whole lot less chicken meat and much more “other” in construction. But the research shouldn’t come as a surprise. The fast food industry is able to offer gut-busting meals at rock-bottom prices and you better believe it isn’t because they are cutting into their profits. It’s because they are using cheap, and sometimes toxic ingredients.

The latest study came from some the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Study author and professor of pediatrics and medicine Dr. Richard deShazo and his team selected two fast food restaurants in their town and ordered chicken nuggets off the menu. Then, they randomly selected one nugget from each bag and dissected it to determine what it was actually made of.

Sample one was only 40% skeletal muscle, what we think of when we think of “meat”. The other sample was 50% meat. What made up the rest of the nuggets? Bones, blood vessels, connective tissue, nerves, and fat—“the stuff that usually ends up in dog food,” as NPR so aptly put it.

Video: 14-Year-Old Mcdonald’s Burger Virtually Unchanged

While the sample size for the study was admittedly small at only two nuggets, the researchers say their goal wasn’t an exposé on the fast food industry,but  rather to show parents and children alike that what is touted as healthful isn’t always so.

“We all know white chicken meat to be one of the best sources of lean protein available and encourage our patients to eat it,” said Dr. deShazo. “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 call it chicken.”

While chicken nuggets seem to be children’s first fast-food love, they are far from the only ones that contain mystery ingredients. How else could these giant corporations afford to sell consumers double cheeseburgers for only $1?

These “burgers” are often a mixture of meat, fat, bone, and connective tissue along with ammonium hydroxide (pink slime). You may even find some MSG or autolyzed yeast extract along with dimethylpolysiloxane, a silicone product used in breast implants and silly putty. What’s more, the burgers could be as little as 2% actual meat.

So you see, the “value” menu is not what it’s cracked up to be. These food makers would never cut into their bottom line to serve you more affordable food. On the contrary, they’ll just swap out real food for cheap and barely-edible ingredients.