The Truth About What's Really In McDonald's Chicken Nuggets

Whether you're a kid or an adult, it's hard not to love McDonald's chicken nuggets. These popular fast-food treats are crispy, tasty, and perfectly accompanied with a delicious sauce. Although they're totally crave-worthy, do you really know what McDonald's chicken nuggets are made of? According to the McDonald's website, six chicken nuggets contain 250 calories, 15 grams of fat, 14 grams of protein, and 500 milligrams of sodium. The nuggets also have a long ingredients list including white boneless chicken, vegetable oil, flour, salt, and spices.

It is important to note that chicken is the first ingredient. "The first item on the nutrition label means the food contains more of that one item than any other single ingredient," Christopher Ochner, Ph.D., told Livestrong. While this is a good thing, the nutrient breakdown of McDonald's chicken nuggets tells a different story. "White boneless chicken is almost a pure protein, boasting a phenomenal 0.2 protein (grams): kcal ratio with less than 20 percent fat," Ochner said. "McNuggets, on the other hand, have a very mediocre 0.046 protein:kcal ratio with 57 percent of kcal from fat. This seems to suggest that the other ingredients, besides chicken, are the primary driver of the macro-nutrient profile." While these nuggets are made with real chicken, there's a lot of other junk in them too.

McDonald's chicken nuggets contain a lot of oil

Most fast-food chicken nuggets are deep-fried to get their signature crispy coating, and McDonald's nuggets are no exception. According to McDonald's, their golden nuggets are battered and lightly fried before being frozen and shipped to their restaurants. There, they are fried again before being served to customers. Eating fried foods has been linked to numerous health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity (via Healthline). Fried foods absorb oil while cooking, which means they tend to be high in calories and harmful fats. According to Livestrong, McDonald's chicken nuggets are 57% fat (via Livestrong). If you're trying to cut down on unhealthy fats in your diet, you should stay away from this menu item.

That all being said, McDonald's chicken nuggets aren't the worst option on their menu and can be enjoyed in moderation. According to Eat This, Not That!, they contain a decent amount of protein and aren't horrible for you if you enjoy them without an added sauce, which can pack a lot of sodium and sugar.