An interesting article was recently published in the American Journal of Medicine last month highlighting the issues of processed foods in particular chicken nuggets. The title of the article was perfect: “The Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets Reads: Chicken Little.” The study conducted by researchers from University of Mississippi Medical Center looked at chicken nuggets from 2 popular national fast food chains and analyzed the content. They found that less than half of the nuggets were actually chicken meat. The rest was mostly fat and blood vessels, nerves and ground bone.
Though it is known that chicken meat, in particular white meat, is a good source of protein, many people think they are doing well choosing chicken nuggets over a hamburger or other fast food choice. Processed foods have become the basis of the general American Diet. In the early 1900s, processed foods made up less than 25% of the American diet. In the 1950s and 60s about half our food intake was processed and currently over 85% of the base American diet is processed foods. This has contributed to not only the rapid obesity rate in this country but high rates of cancers and problems that have never existed before. As people try to make informed decisions for healthier choices and weight loss, one of those choices is chicken. People can be lulled into the idea that if they chose chicken nuggets it is a healthier choice. It is not. Similar to the idea that picking a protein bar which can have as much sugar in it as a Twinkie is not a real healthy choice. Limiting processed foods is key. Anything requiring a package, additives, preservatives, cooking, freezing, artificial anything is processed. A chicken nugget is not really chicken; rather it is a chicken by-product processed nugget. To be fair, if you read the article the sample size was very small. This was not meant to be a revelation of some food industry conspiracy. It simply illustrates the need to look carefully at what is in processed foods. Taking the time to understand basic nutritional facts is key. Make food choices whole, minimally or unprocessed and to learn how cooking, freezing, canning, and other processing techniques can change food value.
If you live in the Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. area, call us or contact us online to attend a free Weight Loss Seminar where I will discuss this topic further.