Chicken ‘no’ggets


Jake Pagnotto, Photographer

Developed from a young age, people’s desire for fast food, especially chicken nuggets, proves as a continuously growing problem in today’s society. They may taste amazing, but they contain horrible substances for the body. Most, if not all chicken nuggets, possess high amounts of sodium, among other harmful ingredients.

Fast food nuggets contain proteins for weight loss, but they also contain an unhealthy amount of synthetic ingredients, including palm oil, shortening, monosodium glutamate, high fructose corn syrup, and sodium nitrates.

These substances cause serious harm to the body if an excessive amount enters. Salt can spike blood pressure, resulting in a fast heart rate, or worse, a heart attack. Drinking water can prevent this from happening because people need to hydrate after eating something salty, mostly because that salt will dehydrate individuals and water is basically a “cure” for dehydration. Monosodium glutamate, one of the most abundant naturally occurring amino acids, lies in the makeup of tomatoes, cheese, and other foods that fast food chains tend to use. This additive can cause headaches and even allergic reactions.  

Moreover, not all fast food companies pump processed chicken nuggets with chemicals to boost the desire for fast food, most of them use seasonings and spices from our everyday pantries. Companies put monosodium glutamate, autolyzed yeast extract, and hydrolyzed proteins that enhance taste, which tricks our brain into thinking that a healthy food entered the body.

The basic chicken nugget remains a gateway item for kids because they grew up eating these types of food. For instance, White Castle Chicken Pretzel Donut Shaped Rings remains on the restaurant’s menu, currently holds a spot in one of the worst things anyone can consume. According to Eater, people reported that the White castle nuggets do not taste anything like pretzels or chicken. Although the default order contains 20 rings, the dish alone contains a staggering 1760 calories, 158g of fat, and 2020 mg. The average human should consume the recommended amount per day, between 1500 mg and 2300 mg of sodium at most. About 90% of US children ages 6-18 years eat too much sodium daily. The average American spends an estimated $1200 on fast food each year. Children consume about 12 percent of their calories through fast food. According to SFGATE a study showed that regularly eating fast food can double a person’s chance of developing an immunity to insulin, which increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The number of people worldwide, according to the 2004 study, living with Type 2 Diabetes doubled since 1980. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, on average up to 34% of kids and adolescents eat fast food on any given day. Parents must watch the eating habits encouraged in the family’s  diets to prevent living an unhealthy lifestyle from developing.

“They [chicken nuggets] are good and satisfying to the stomach, but naturally unhealthy,” senior Elijah Gonzalez said.