The chicken nugget can conjure purity. No buns, pickles, or bones. Not many carbs, apart from the breading. This is simplicity delivered economically, flightless birds, protein for the protein-hungry America of today—or, to followers of Michael Pollan, the corn-fed-meat-wrapped-in-corn-preserved-breading-dipped-in-corn-sweetened-goo kind of purity.
Richard D. deShazo, MD, is a distinguished professor of medicine and pediatrics at University of Mississippi Medical Center. He does not see purity. At least, not anymore.
“I was floored. I was astounded,” deShazo said of the moment he looked at a chicken nugget under a microscope.
Dr. deShazo has been concerned about the American diet for a while. Recently, he says, he "got a little curious about chicken nuggets" because "it almost seemed like they were habituating—that kids were addicted to the chicken nuggets."
So he asked a colleague, pathologist Steven Bigler, MD, to see what's inside the nuggets by cutting them open "just like a human being [in an autopsy]."
Bigler and deShazo dissected two random chicken nuggets from different restaurants. They will not tell us which—because this is meant as an interesting reminder, not a Sinclarian exposé—beyond that they are "national fast-food chain restaurants near [the] academic health center in Jackson, Mississippi." (Probability is high that one of these restaurants has a clown for a mascot and professes to literally sell happiness to children, in that there are four of said restaurants within two miles of the medical center. One is within the hospital.)