Chicken nuggets are tasty but do you know what’s in them?
Posted on October 29th, 2015

Dr Hector Perera       London

I cannot believe if anyone said that they haven’t eaten any takeaways. In the past in Sri Lanka there were hardly any such places even in small towns but now, they are all over. Now you just pick up a phone to get the takeaways delivered to your doorstep, if you find too busy to get a takeaway. One can view the list of the menu on the internet so the technology has changed the ways to shop. When we go out shopping quite often we tend to eat out from takeaways. The list of things to eat are plenty but fish and chips, fried chicken and chips, burgers and chips then chicken nuggets are some of the favourites. I am not in favour to eat chicken nuggets because I read somewhere what they can include in them that put me off eating chicken nuggets. The list of chemicals and additives added in making chicken nuggets put me off eating them. I am not sure if they use all of these chemicals and additives but very likely to use most of them in making chicken nuggets.

What are in the chicken nuggets?

Some of the things that might include in them are white Boneless Chicken, water, food Starch-Modified, salt, seasoning (Autolyzed Yeast Extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavouring [Botanical Source], safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid), sodium phosphates, natural flavour (Botanical Source). battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, niacin, reduced Iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour, food starch-modified, leavening (Baking Soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminium phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, dextrose, corn and starch.

Then Meat glue” is used to hold chicken nuggets together. A chemical called Transglutaminase, referred to by some as meat glue,” is an enzyme sold for almost two decades that is used mostly in food service to bind pieces of meat together, such as a beef tenderloin or a strip of bacon to a filet.  It is not used to make chicken nuggets.  It is unnecessary – protein is extracted with salt and phosphate, then breast or thigh meat is ground or chopped and then easily formed into a nugget shape. The breading helps hold the nugget together, as well.

Some people believed that Retired Egg Layers” are used to make chicken nuggets but they are not used for making chicken nuggets. Cage layers possess little meat and many of them are not processed for meat at all.  The birds that produce the eggs that become broilers (which are not kept in cages and do not produce eggs for the table) usually become stewing hens” or go into soup or other products that involve long cooking.

Some leading takeaway chain shops use Autolyzed yeast extract (which contain free glutamate, similar to MSG or Ajina Motto), Sodium phosphates and Sodium aluminium phosphate.

But that’s not the freaky part. According to one leading website, some chicken nuggets are also made with: “hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness” and “Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.”

At least two of these ingredients are artificially synthesized industrial chemicals. TBHQ, a petroleum derivative, is used as a stabilizer in perfumes, resins, varnishes and oil field chemicals. An aromatic organic compound, is TBHQ or tert-Butylhydroquinone or tertiary butylhydroquinone is a type of phenol. Chemically TBHQ is a derivative of hydroquinone, substituted by the tert-butyl group. Laboratory studies have linked TBHQ to stomach tumours. “At higher doses, it has negative health effects on lab animals, such as producing precursors to stomach tumours and damage to DNA. A number of studies have shown that prolonged exposure Dimethylpolysiloxane, a type of silicone, is used in caulks and sealants, as a filler for breast implants, and as key ingredient in Silly Putty, says Wikipedia. Would you like a some chicken nuggets? I have my doubt if anyone said, Yes please”.
Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) belongs to a group of polymeric organosilicon compounds that are commonly referred to as silicones. PDMS is the most widely used silicon-based organic polymer, and is particularly known for its unusual rheological (or flow) properties. PDMS is optically clear, and, in general, inert, non-toxic, and non-flammable. It is also called dimethicone and is one of several types of silicone oil (polymerizedsiloxane). Its applications range from contact lenses and medical devices to elastomers; it is also present in shampoos (as dimethicone makes hair shiny and slippery), food (antifoaming agent), caulkinglubricantskinetic sand , and heat-resistant tiles. This chemical called “PDMS is also used as a component in silicone grease and other silicone based lubricants, as well as in defoaming agents, mould release agents, damping fluids, heat transfer fluids, polishes, cosmetics, hair conditioners and other applications. PDMS has also been used as a filler fluid in breast implants, although this practice has decreased somewhat, due to safety concerns. PDMS is used variously in the cosmetic and consumer product industry as well. For example, PDMS can be used in the treatment of head lice.” Back in Sri Lanka, I have noticed some ladies use coconut oil then comb the hair to get rid of head lice or Thadi”.

Not that the other ingredients are any better. Because cotton is not regulated as a food crop, cottonseed oil may contain chemical pesticides that are banned in food production. It is also almost always genetically modified. Hydrogenated oils, of course, typically contain trans fats, the artificially produced fats that are unusable by the body and that studies have linked to a number of detrimental health problems. And autolyzed yeast extract is a chemical taste-enhancing ingredient containing free glutamate that manufacturers use as a friendlier-looking replacement for MSG.

And what about the chicken in some leading farms to used in making chicken nuggets? It’s factory-farmed chicken, not free-range chicken. So it’s the kind of chicken that’s typically treated with vaccines and hormones while being fed conventional feed products that are medicated with pharmaceuticals and grown with pesticides.

Yum!! Don’t forget to ask for extra dipping sauce with chicken nuggets. We haven’t even talked about what you’ll find in there.

We’ve known for a long time that fast food chicken nuggets aren’t healthy, but new research is showing just what these fast food favorites are really made of, and it includes high amounts of partially hydrogenated oils, GMO oils or genetically modified oils. There are plenty of chemicals such as sodium, other” ingredients and numerous chemicals.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine has found that 60% of the meat” in a chicken nugget is actually fat, blood vessels, ground bone and gristle. If you consider that only 50% of the nugget itself is made up of chicken that means that only 20% of a chicken nugget is actually meat so what makes up the other 80%?  You’re about to find out.

What’s Really In a Chicken Nugget?

According to the ingredients listed on a leading website they also put these suspect ingredients into their chicken nugget mix:


Autolyzed Yeast Extract (often contains MSG)

GMO Corn

Dimethyl Polysiloxane Anti-foaming Agent

Hydrogenated Soybean Oil


Bleached Wheat (gluten)

Sugar (dextrose)

These ingredients are downright scary at best and dangerous to your health and your families’ health.

Overall Nutritional Composition May Surprise You

Ten nuggets served without sauce gives you 22 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 30 grams fat, 270 calories, and 900 mg sodium.  The protein isn’t bad but the large amount of hydrogenated fat and sodium are extremely high for the amount of calories.


Unhealthy Hydrogenated Oil

Most everyone in the health industry agrees that hydrogenated oils cause disease and obesity. The 30 grams of fat in these nuggets are sure to cause heart disease and inflammation throughout the body.

The different types of genetically modified oils in nuggets include canola oil (banned in Europe), soybean oil, genetically modified oil (GMO), corn oil (GMO), partially hydrogenated soybean oil (this is trans fat!), cottonseed oil, monoglycerides, diglycerides, and hydrogenated soybean oil (soon to be banned). None of the fats are saturated and stable; they are all highly reactive to heat, generating a hefty load of free radicals into the food.

A Frightening Amount of Sodium

The salt content (salt, sodium phosphates) is quite frightening if you’re salt-sensitive and you can blow up like a balloon with too much sodium intake. The recommended intake of sodium is 2000 mg to 3000 mg per day for those with high blood pressure.  10 Nuggets alone contain nearly 1000 mg of sodium.  Part of the problem is that there’s no potassium in chicken nuggets to balance the sodium.

TBHQ and Dimethlypolysiloxane

No fast food nugget get’s created without its share of added chemicals. You’ll find dimethylpolysiloxane, tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ); a preservative and anti-foaming agent, respectively.

TBHQ is a petroleum-based preservative that extends shelf life.  According to the Consumer’s Dictionary of Foods Additives, one gram of TBHA can cause nausea, vomiting, tinnitus, and delirium.  And as reported by animal studies, TBHQ has been linked to these health issues including:

Liver damage (low doses)

Cellular mutation

Biochemical changes (low doses)

Reproductive effects (high doses)

Dimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS) is a silicone based ingredient used in cosmetic products and silicone based lubricants. PDMS has also been used as a filler in breast implants although its use has decreased because of safety concerns.

The Wheat Content Alone Can Damage Your Health

Really, it’s a lot easier than you might think to make your own real chicken nuggets at home. For the breading, you can use gluten free flour and coconut shreds that won’t raise blood sugar levels. Why not use it instead of genetically-modified wheat flour or wheat gluten and modified food starch, created from GMO-derived foods? That way you can control the spices you add, not relying on yeast or dextrose used in the food industry to make foods taste better. Or, if you prefer wings, check out my healthy gluten-free buffalo wing recipe.

The wheat flour and gluten can also damage your health according to William Davis, M.D., NY Times bestselling author, Wheat Belly. This cardiologist tracked the development of modern-day wheat and found a complete change in the chromosomes. Ancient wheat had only 14 chromosomes; modern day wheat has 42.

Modern day wheat has been hybridized and now has double the gluten and higher levels of starch.  Over 300 different diseases are linked to gluten intolerance.  Today’s wheat also contains endorphins (appetite stimulators), which are chemicals that give you a ravenous hunger for more and more nuggets!

Chicken nuggets from fast food restaurants aren’t really what I consider food” nor do they contain very much chicken for that matter. They’re a fake food that can make you fat, sick and toxic. You still want to eat chicken nuggets? Your comments are welcomed

One Response to “Chicken nuggets are tasty but do you know what’s in them?”

  1. Cerberus Says:

    Many eminent people appear to have met untimely deaths. I suspect the wide spread use of Margarine which is a partially hydrogenated fat which is a synthetic fat and is not digested by the body. It is said to sit in arteries for over 51 days. if a tub is left out side no bugs will eat it since they are wiser than we are. It is essentially one molecule away from being a plastic. In USA it has to be declared on the label and along with trans fats. Sri Lanka too must take steps to educate our people on the dangers of Partially Hydrogenated fats and Trans Fats. Some of the Colombo food outlets used to sell all these delicious short eats most of them are made with Margarine or Shortening. In USA, they use butter now. Also the use of Coconut oil is now considered healthy by the Westerners and used widely. I remember a time when coconut oil was considered bad for the heart. Now in the West it is considered good for the heart. We take a very good oil such as Coconut oil and partially hydrogenate it to remove saturated fats which was considered bad (not so now), and sell as a superior product to the unsuspecting public.

    The GoSL must bring in labelling regulations and educate the public as soon as possible. Please see the article below for more details.

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