Think Twice About Chicken Nuggets

Think McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets aren’t so bad? The next time the kids are begging for a Happy Meal and you’re ready to cave and give in—think again!

This week, a 17-year-old British factory worker, Stacey Irvine, was rushed to the hospital when she collapsed and struggled to breathe. During the exam, doctors were stunned to learn that Stacey had never in her life eaten fruit or vegetables. Since she was 2 years old, she had eaten almost nothing but fast-food chicken nuggets.

Stacey said that once she started eating chicken nuggets, she simply “loved them so much they were all [she] would eat.”

Her mother, Evonne Irvine, told reporters that she had tried everything to get her daughter to eat more nutritious foods. She said that at one point she even tried to starve her daughter as a means of getting her to eat something more nutritious, but not even that seemed to work.

So what exactly is so bad about one of McDonald’s most famous menu items?

With ingredients like: Chicken, water, salt, sodium phosphates (and a long list of strange sounding ingredients for the batter and breading)…chicken nuggets might not seem so bad at first glance.

The 2004 documentary Super Size Me states that “McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, are originally made from old chickens no longer able to lay eggs. These chickens are stripped down to the bone, and then “ground up” into a chicken mash then combined with a variety of stabilizers and preservatives, pressed into familiar shapes, breaded and deep fried, freeze dried, and then shipped to a McDonald’s near you.” The process described here is, in a nut shell, mechanically separated meat.

The photo below has been making its way around the web recently, and for good reason: it’s a glimpse into the rarely-seen world of what mechanically separated meat actually looks like. Yes, apparently that is chicken nugget paste before it takes its familiar shape.

The “stabilizers and preservatives” used in the chicken nuggets include chemicals like tertiary butylhydroquinone (a form of butane), polydimethylsiloxane (an anti-foaming agent), dimethylpolysiloxane (a form of silicone also used in cosmetics) and other ingredients you would never willingly feed your child.

So what happened to Stacey? Doctors discovered that the veins in her tongue were swollen and she was diagnosed with anemia.

While chicken nuggets are lacking in nutrients, like calcium, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats—it’s hard to say just how bad they really are and whether or not they are to blame for Stacy’s illness.

Still, a steady diet of chicken nuggets, like Stacey’s, proves that they are definitely not the same as eating chicken! Furthermore, they are definitely something you should think twice about when opting for a quick and easy dinner option.

It’s pretty common knowledge that a well-balanced diet is extremely important for the health and development of our children. Unfortunately, it’s also pretty common knowledge that kids are some of the pickiest eaters on the planet!

Still: While trying to get our kids to eat their fruits and vegetables can be like waging a terrifying war, isn’t it our responsibility as parents to stay in the battle and push forward, no matter what it takes?

Tell us: What do you think about the photo above? Does it make you think twice about ordering chicken nuggets?

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