Out of the McDonald’s menu, something that is loved by both kids and adults is chicken McNuggets. However, have you ever wondered if McDonald’s chicken nuggets are healthy? You have undoubtedly stumbled across the right blog post if that is the case.
Most nutritionists don’t consider chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s as a healthy food option. However, they have also stated that they are not the worst thing ever and that eating them in moderation should be alright.
Most of us know that eating fast food regularly is not the best thing ever. Eating fast food from McDonald’s daily can be bad for your body for many reasons.
The same thing applies to their chicken nuggets as individual menu items. So, let’s know all about this in detail! Happy reading!
What’s Inside A McDonald’s Chicken Nugget?
Now you know fast food, particularly chicken nuggets, is not the healthiest thing ever. However, what makes this food unhealthy in the first place?
Well, we will have to take a detailed look at what goes into making these nuggets. The ingredients used to make McDonald’s chicken nuggets are given below.
1. White Boneless Chicken
The first and foremost ingredient that makes these chicken nuggets what they are is chicken. Despite the allegations, McDonald’s has been following a standard recipe for a while.
They have been using all-white chicken to make them, with no byproducts. However, this white chicken breast forms only a part of these nuggets.
2. Vegetable Oil
Considering that the chicken nuggets are fried, the next ingredient that goes into making them is vegetable oil. However, this is not plain old vegetable oil but a blend of canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and hydrogenated soybean oil.
3. Bleached White Flour
For the breading of the chicken nuggets, McDonald’s uses bleached white flour as one of the options. Bleached white flour has no nutritional value as it has been chemically bleached and is basically just empty calories.
4. Enriched Flour
The next flour used in the flour blend for breading is enriched flour. This flour is wheat flour that has been bleached and then enriched with nutrients. These are minerals like niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid.
5. Yellow Corn Flour
Yellow corn flour is an ingredient used to make chicken nuggets, not in the breading but in the batter. This gives the nuggets a crispy texture and is also nutritionally dense with a decent amount of iron.
6. Vegetable Starch
This ingredient is added to the batter and helps make the nuggets crispy and crunchy. This vegetable starch is usually a blend of starch extracted from corn, wheat, rice, and peas.
Like most of our food is seasoned with salt, so is the case with these chicken nuggets. However, one thing about food made at fast food restaurants is that the salt content is usually pretty high, which helps add flavor.
Similar is the case with McDonald’s chicken nuggets, as a portion of 4 pieces contains about 330 milligrams of sodium.
8. Leavening Agent
You may have noticed that the chicken nuggets from McDonald’s are also a little puffed up. The reason behind this is due to the fact they add a leavening agent to them.
McDonald’s does not use a single leavening agent for their chicken nuggets. Instead, it is made with baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, calcium lactate, and monocalcium phosphate.
A blend of spices is added to the chicken nugget batter, as they help enhance the flavor quite a lot. However, this blend has not been disclosed by McDonald’s. All I can say is whatever the combination is; it sure is delicious!
10. Lemon Juice Solids
A small quantity of dried lemon juice extract is added to these chicken nuggets, as it helps retain their freshness for a longer time.
11. Yeast Extract
It is similar to MSG or Monosodium Glutamate in many ways, as it helps enhance the flavor of these nuggets. Yeast Extract also contains amino acid glutamate like MSG, which gives the nuggets an umami flavor and makes them irresistible.
Dextrose is a simple sugar that is added to most processed foods, as it helps soften them and gives them many flavors. The amount of dextrose added to the nuggets is, lucky, a little.
13. Natural Flavors
Lastly, an ingredient called natural flavors is added to McDonald’s chicken nuggets, which helps enhance the flavor. The elements that go into making this are unknown.
However, as per FDA, natural flavors are made of spices, fruits, and vegetables or their juices, edible yeast, herbs, bark, buds, roots, leaves, or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, or dairy products, and fermentation products.
McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets Nutritional Values
As per their official website, the nutritional values of chicken nuggets from McDonald’s are given below.
Why Are McDonald’s Nuggets Not Healthy?
The above table may have given you a fair idea that these nuggets are very high in calories and, as a result, have yet to be the healthiest thing ever. If we go more in-depth with this aspect, a few factors make these nuggets as unhealthy as they are. I have explained these factors below.
1. High In Calories
As you can see in the table, the nuggets are alarmingly high in calories. On average, a human needs 2000-2500 calories daily to maintain a healthy body weight. This does depend on factors like age, gender, and a lot more. However, this is the standard guideline.
But, as you can see, the nuggets are very high in calories. A single meal will give you sufficient calories, and the sauces will add up. So, it is better to eat chicken nuggets in moderation.
2. High In Saturated Fat
Another thing worth noting is that the nuggets are high in saturated fats. Saturated fats can have various adverse effects on your body, and it is always recommended not to consume too much saturated fat.
3. High In Sodium
Lastly, the nuggets are incredibly high in added salt or sodium content. Too much sodium can adversely affect the body, mainly blood pressure and heart health. Moreover, the dips served with chicken nuggets are also loaded with fat, which makes nuggets even more unhealthy.
Effects Of Overeating Chicken Nuggets
Considering all the abovementioned factors, it can be established that McDonald’s chicken nuggets are not healthy for the body. It is especially if eaten in large quantities.
But have you ever wondered what the adverse effects of eating too many chicken nuggets are on your health? Let us have a look at the same in this section.
The first and most visibly obvious side effect of eating too many chicken nuggets from McDonald’s is obesity. McDonald’s chicken nuggets are very high in calories, so eating a single portion of them makes a huge chunk of the daily recommended amount.
If these are eaten way too often, and in large amounts, the calories and fat from the nuggets add up and form belly fat. This, in turn, increases the chances of obesity, which research has shown can be worse than cancer.
2. Heart Disease
This is another common adverse effect seen by consuming too much fast food and, in this case, chicken nuggets. Chicken nuggets from McDonald’s are loaded with saturated fat, which can easily block arteries and disrupt blood flow.
Moreover, the amount of cholesterol in these nuggets is also high, which is another factor that causes heart disease.
3. High Blood Pressure
These chicken nuggets have a lot of added sodium, as you can see. This additional sodium can spike up your blood pressure levels. This is not a good thing; if the blood pressure is persistently high, it can cause issues like headaches, hypertension, and strokes.
This disease is also known as the silent killer, as it is considered to be one of the deadliest of them all. Chicken nuggets by themselves are not loaded with too much sugar.
However, the dipping sauces served with them are. This can cause issues like Type-2 Diabetes, which has a lot of adverse effects on the body.
5. Brain Strokes
Another thing that you may not have thought about, but is an effect that is very plausible to happen if you eat too many chicken nuggets, is brain stroke. This is interconnected with saturated fat.
The saturated fat in these nuggets causes arteries to block up, which in turn, causes issues with blood pumping through the body. Due to this reason, the amount of oxygen and blood needed for the brain to function may not reach it, eventually leading to brain strokes.
Despite Being Unhealthy, Why Are McDonald’s Nuggets So Tasty?
Yes, many factors make McDonald’s chicken nuggets unhealthy and, eventually, bad for health. But there is also the fact that none of us can deny just how delicious these nuggets are!
What is it that makes them taste so good, despite them being bad for health? Let’s take a look.
When it comes to processed food, it is usually engineered in a way that tastes delicious and also wants you to crave more. The same is the story with McDonald’s chicken nuggets.
They are crispy, packed with artificial flavors, and a lot of sodium. This makes them irresistible to the palate and makes you want to eat them more!
Should You Eat McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets?
After reading all this, one question that has come to your mind is whether you should eat these chicken nuggets. The topic is pretty debatable, as there are many more cons than pros from a health standpoint.
So, I would say there is nothing inherently wrong with eating McDonald’s chicken nuggets. However, they should always be eaten in moderation and never regularly if you want to be more vigilant about your health.
However, there is no need to get disheartened! Some options on McDonald’s menu can be enjoyed if you want to eat healthy, without guilt.
For that, I would recommend looking at our articles on low-sodium McDonald’s foods, low-calorie McDonald’s nutrition, and healthy options to order at McDonald’s.
As we have come to the end of this article, I hope it has answered all your questions about McDonald’s chicken nuggets. They, indeed, are not the healthiest thing in the world. However, one important thing to remember with fast food is that it should be eaten in moderation.
Although chicken nuggets are not the most unhealthy food offered by McDonald’s, and can very well be enjoyed once in a while. But make sure that you don’t have them every day. Moreover, even when you do, moderation is the key!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are McDonald’s chicken nuggets healthy?
McDonald’s chicken nuggets are unhealthy as they contain calories and saturated fat.
Can you eat McDonald’s chicken nuggets often?
It is best to eat them once in a while, that too in moderation.
What makes these nuggets taste so delicious?
All the artificial ingredients make up a concoction that gives chicken nuggets their distinct flavor.
Can eating too many chicken nuggets cause health issues?
If eaten often, chicken nuggets can cause health issues like stroke, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.
Does McDonald’s use all-white chicken to make their nuggets?
Yes, 100% all-white chicken is one of the ingredients used to make McDonald’s chicken nuggets.