10 Facts About Chicken Nuggets You Need to Know Before Reaching For Another One

Last Updated on 2020-11-24 , 8:25 pm

It’s 12 pm on a perfect Friday afternoon. The last day of work and you’re contemplating to yourself deep in your head: “What on earth should I have for lunch?”

What on earth would complete your day and make it far more perfect than it could ever be?

You take a quick short glance to your left and see your colleague munching on some wonderful, golden brown chicken nuggets. It is the absolute definition of beauty. At that moment of clarity, you know exactly what to have for lunch.

You rush to your phone, fumbling as you’re typing the golden numbers for a quick nugget delivery. You’re sweating, sweating so much you wonder when you ever drank that much water to justify the voluminous amount of sweat that you’re outputting.

As you’re calculating the math to justify your sweat output, that annoying colleague sitting behind you with the terrible B.O. exclaims, mouth full of nuggets, shoving his phone in your face and showing you this exact article that you are reading now.

Are nuggets screwed up? Are they not as golden a beauty as they claim to be? Here are 10 facts that you would definitely maybe not want to but kind of have to find out.

1) Pink slime in McNuggets?

You might have heard of McDonald’s alleged use of ‘pink slime’ back in the day for the production of its meat products, and the burning question most of us have in our heads is this: What is it and are they still using it?

Well first, what is it? Despite appearances, it actually is an edible version of meat. And, believe it or not, it allegedly is safer to eat in a certain sense, due to its production process that involves treating the meat with ammonia or citric acid to kill off bacteria.

Officially known as BLBT (boneless lean beef trimmings) or LFTB (lean finely textured beef), it currently is included in various meat products.

Is McDonald’s still using it for the production of its meat? According to a video made by McDonald’s in 2014,  it details the entire process, and no it does not include the use of said ‘pink slime’.

Go check it out and sleep safe at night knowing you’re not eating an ammonia filled (albeit wonderful) food product. That is, until you read further below of course.

2) Want to win the Olympics? Eat Nuggets.

Everyone knows Usain Bolt. I’ve personally wanted to run as fast as him, but after taking a good look at my current state, I’ve long since accepted the fact that this particular dream may never come true. Besides, it’s genetics (or so I like to tell myself).

But did you know that prior to winning three Olympic gold medals, he downed an approximate 1,000 nuggets, all because he couldn’t get used to Chinese food? And yet, despite downing that many nuggets, he still managed to win not one, but three Olympic gold medals. I can’t even win a single bronze one.

Of course, this all isn’t scientific, but I can’t help but wonder if the problem with my lacklustre shuttle run speeds can be attributed to a lack of nuggets in my diet.

3) Origin of chicken nuggets

You might think that the creator of chicken nuggets would, of course, be good ol’ McDonald’s, but surprisingly, the clown decked food establishment had nothing to do with its initial invention.

Sure, it might have brought the nuggets to a global audience through its own perfected recipe, but the original form and invention can be attributed to a certain Roger C. Baker, who along with his student Joseph Marshall, came up with methods to stick ground meat together and maintain the form of the batter even after frying.

Unfortunately, Baker wasn’t credited much for his contribution to the nugget, and thus never made as much money as he could have, pulling royalties from nugget sales.

4) Torture plants instead of chickens

Want to give the cute little chickens a break from being ground into a pulp and placed into the hands of humans for the sake of mass consumption? Well, now you can.

Introducing the vegan nugget, a concept that saves chickens from cruelty and instead subjects plants to the same cruelty instead. It’s an easy to do food product that can be bought from supermarkets and even made at home. The question now is, is there actually a difference in the taste?

I’m not going to lie, there are many mixed reports, and some of them might be more biased than most. My opinion? I like them but prefer the actual meat versions, although I do believe that I could be won over time when (or if) the taste has been further perfected.

But now that you know they exist, why not go try them out for yourself?

5) I love my chemicals and connective tissue

Did you know that only 50% of a chicken nugget is actually, well, chicken meat? I didn’t. Some major components of a chicken nugget are a chicken’s fat, connective tissue, nerves and bone. Basically, the whole chicken ground into an easily accessible snack. (Still sounds pretty delicious to me)

Aside from that, there are also plenty more chemicals in chicken nuggets that combine to give them its unique shape, form, taste and texture. Among those are dimethylpolysiloxane, a chemical found in Silly Putty and propylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze.

Not exactly healthy or delectable, but I’ll still take it? I mean, as long as I don’t do it in excess.

6) How healthy are chicken nuggets?

It’s common sense that processed foods are not good for us, or at least I hope it is. But are chicken nuggets the exception to this rule? I’ll let you in on the simple answer: No.

Aside from possessing potentially harmful chemicals. It’s not exactly the healthiest kid on the block nutrition wise. An average of 10 nuggets contain about 1000mg of sodium (in perspective, an average adult only needs about 2000mg of sodium). This could lead to a higher blood pressure.

Let’s also not forget about the bright side before this article becomes a bit too dark. Tryptophan, which causes the production of the B3 vitamin Niacin (which reduces the risk of cancer), can be found in chicken nuggets. It also produces serotonin, which incidentally also makes you happy.

So if you’re depressed, I guess nuggets are one of your prime alternative choices for anti-depressants.

7) World’s largest nugget weighs over 20kg

Empire Kosher Poultry is responsible for the monstrosity 8th Wonder of the World.

Weighing over 20kg and roughly about the size of 720 regular chicken nuggets, this wonderful invention was created as part of Empire Kosher’s 75th Anniversary. CEO of Empire Kosher Jeff Brown states that they ‘wanted to do something big’.

8) Baked Chicken Nuggets…?

Craving for chicken nuggets but don’t want the health hazards that come with it? Or do you just want to change up your life?

Well, look no further as I introduce to you a new method of preparing chicken nuggets that doesn’t involve dunking them in a fryer: Baking.

Instead of a batter which is used for frying, simply switch it out for a breading which is compatible with baking. You’ll still need a little oil, but the cooking process is still a lot healthier than smashing those chicken bits into a pot/pan full of oily goodness.

(If I sound a little hesitant to use baking as a process to prepare nuggets, that’s because I am)

9) Most chicken nuggets eaten in three minutes

I like nuggets. Like, I would eat them occasionally, but I don’t worship them, despite my obvious biases in this article towards them.

Thomas Welborn on the other hand, must be in a chicken nugget cult. Consuming over 746 grams worth of chicken nuggets in three minutes, he won this specific Guinness world record, though I’m not sure what the actual reward was (other than the title of Honorary Chicken Nugget eater).

Hats off to you, Thomas. You’ve won life.

10) Different standardized shapes for chicken McNuggets

It goes without saying, but an organization needs to be organized. (don’t quote me on that)

Think the shape of your nuggets is entirely random? Well, I’m here to tell you they’re absolutely not. McDonald’s takes nugget making very seriously, which means that even the shape of your nuggets is specifically shaped and audited.

Specifically, there are four shapes to them: The bone, ball, bell and my personal favourite, the boot, which is kind of like the bone but with a sort of nudge at the side.

The shapes not only there to make it more friendly looking towards kids, but they’re also there to standardize cooking times to ensure food safety standards are met.

So the next time you’re eating a chicken McNuggets, perhaps a mealtime activity could be comparing the size of your similarly shaped nugget to the size of your friend’s. Mealtimes with nuggets will never be the same again.

So are you more or less discouraged to eat nuggets? Or are you not affected by this information at all?

I won’t kid myself. It is in this writer’s biased opinion that nuggets are still wonderful, and nothing’s going to stop me from getting hypertension while filling my empty stomach.

To each their own.

Featured Image: MK studio / Shutterstock.com