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Consumer Reports Weighs In On Chicken Nuggets

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By Susan Brady

Anything that is breaded and fried is bound not to be good for you, but in the case of chicken nuggets a staple in many households with young children there can also be the additional unhealthy amount of fat and sodium. Consumer Reports, the nonstop reviewer of all the things we use on a daily basis, has taken on 15 different brands of this quick menu item.

The Consumer Reports lab tested 12 brands commonly found in grocery and retail stores, along with two soy versions, as well as the nugget that started the whole craze: McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. The results were published in the June 2010 issue of the magazine which has just hit newsstands.

The lab utilized ratings of Poor, Fair, Good, and Very Good when testing the recommended 3 to 4 ounce serving, and employed young taste-testers (aged 6 to 17) to evaluate taste and compare flavor among the different brands. In the end, only one brand earned a “Very Good” rating (Health Is Wealth), while at the same time deemed not very tasty by the youngsters.

The top three in taste, all of which were rated Good, were Targets Market Pantry, Bell & Evans Breaded, and Costco's Kirkland Signature Disney nuggets. Consumer Reports noted that if a larger portion were served than recommended, these products would actually get a lower rating, such as “Fair” or “Poor” due to the fat and sodium content of the larger serving.

The taste-testers were not fooled by the soy products, according to the report, finding them with little chicken flavor. Nutritionally the Boca and Morningstar Farms nuggets have 3 to 4 grams of fiber per serving, which beat out their competitors by at least 50 percent. Not surprisingly, the original McNuggets were scored Good in taste by the panel, but only rated Fair in the nutrition arena. A typical serving size of McDonald's Chicken McNuggets is 6 pieces (3.4 ounces).

It contains 276 calories, of which 155 calories comes from fat. Total fat is 17 grams (26 percent of the recommended daily value). Sodium content is 600 mg, or 25 percent of the amount recommended for a whole day. On the upside, there is no sugar and 14 grams of protein.

Market Pantry Chicken Nuggets have a serving size of 5 nuggets, 201 calories (90 from fat), 35 mg of cholesterol, and 500 mg of sodium. A 4-nugget serving of Boca Meatless Chicken Nuggets is 180 calories (60 from fat) and has no sodium content (and no protein).

In all fairness, eating 6 of the Boca nuggets the same number in the McNugget serving would have a similar number of calories 270 but only 90 of those would be from the fat.

The lesson here is that there are better alternatives, but if you do serve chicken nuggets to your children, try to do so within the serving guidelines to restrict fat and sodium intake. No more 10 or 20 piece McNugget meal, or filling half the plate with those nuggets out of the oven.

Credit: www.healthnews.com



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