Why 20 McNuggets for $4.99 is Actually a Bad Deal For You

McDonald’s is aggressively pushing its Chicken McNuggets with a deal that prices each nugget at just one quarter.

Sound good?

What you need to know:

A serving is 4 McNuggets, according to McDonalds. So this deal is supposed  to feed 5 people. Yeah, right…

Each “serving” is 190 calories, 10 grams of protein, and 400 mg of sodium. There’s no fiber or any other nutrients worthy of mention. If you share the deal with one friend, you need to multiply the data by 2.5. You’ll be consuming 500 calories, and 1000 mg of sodium (over 40% of the daily max).

Here’s the ingredient list (over 30):

White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, seasoning [yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid], sodium phosphate, natural flavor (botanical source). Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, dextrose, corn starch. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.

What do you think?

Shouldn’t chicken nuggets be made from just 4 ingredients – chicken, bread crumbs, eggs, and frying oil?

Only if you made them at home. But McDonald’s over-processes the chicken meat to a point where what you are eating has nothing to do with the original meat.

So why is this a bad deal?

- Because the second ingredient is WATER! Water is cheap. So is the food starch, that when mixed with the water and added to the pulverized chicken bits creates a much bulkier product than just chicken.

- Because the product itself is made from the lowest quality ingredients, including controversial additives such as TBHQ and Dimethylpolysiloxane.

- Because most likely you’ll be tempted to add a coke and fries for another $5.

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  • http://ginabegin.blogspot.com @ginabegin

    Just wrote a post on the movie “Fathead” this morning. (http://cot.ag/gw7C1Q) I can’t believe some of the statements they made & tried to send off as fact. It seems like propaganda from the Fast Food Industry… Thank you for furthering the correct cause!

  • http://twitter.com/lauren_015 Lauren Smith

    And, let’s be honest, chicken nuggets are ridiculously easy to make at home and way better for you, especially if you oven-fry them.

    • http://www.mcdonalds.com Ronald McDonald


  • http://www.culturezest.org/home/users/detail?UserHexID=73427218-9BE9-4919-8842-F2D519B90147 Morgan

    The fact that there are so many ingredients in McDonald’s chicken nuggets is terrifying. It’s no wonder that they don’t taste like actual chicken. It would be so much better for people to make their own nuggets at home, they’re not that difficult to make.

  • Mirandarice

    Ewww….gross! And people wonder why I don’t eat fast food – “how do you resist it?” they ask…LOL!

  • http://www.thefrugaldietitian.com Nancy – The Frugal dietitian

    Sounds like the new Dominos chicken ads too!!
    3 pieces: 150 calories, 6g of fat, 440mg of sodium, and 12g of protein. The sauces range from 50 to 200 calories per package.

    • ThirdEye

      Y’all are all dumb, this is what you government wants, all this shit Facebook, twitter, fast food in every corner, TV, when was the last time you saw a DARE commercial on TV??? They sure sell cars … It’s call Capitolism, the system it’s set up for the blind, which sadly it’s 8 out if 10 people

  • http://www.thefrugaldietitian.com Nancy – The Frugal dietitian

    Sounds like the new Dominos chicken ads too!!
    3 pieces: 150 calories, 6g of fat, 440mg of sodium, and 12g of protein. The sauces range from 50 to 200 calories per package.

  • Vividrose

    Not only is this “food” bad for your health, it supports the very inhumane treatment of living creatures who are being exploited and abused for the sake of our misdirected taste buds. I encourage everyone to do their own investigation into all of the damage done to our health, the animals and the environment through “factory farming”. We can surely do better than this as humans, and we can vote with our pocketbooks to demand healthier and more human alternatives.

    • Vividrose

      Sorry, “humane” alternatives.

    • Mark Dimson

      Get over yourself. :)

    • Roman Serna

      Well animals were made for a reason and so were humans but like pigs chickens and cows well all they have to do is a eat crap sleep role so they are mindless so i will turn the mindless chickens cows pigs to a meal its called a food chain every animal does it hawks eat mice n such while we eat these animals so ya ima eat

    • http://www.mcdonalds.com Ronald McDonald

      Fak you. “Bad health”

  • T Gariepy

    I’ve seen pictures of mechanically separated meat before it is your nugget kind of thing and man … I can’t believe I ever ate them, and yet at the same time … man i love the taste of them. its a thin thin line.

  • Lisa

    “Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.”

    Yeah, you know you’ve got a problem when you have to keep your food from FOAMING. Rabid chickens? ;)

    • Neil

      I get its a joke and all but some people don’t. It’s really just to stop the chicken meat from giving off its substances into the oil when its being fried.

  • http://www.cspiscam.com/background.cfm OriginalBuddha

    “- Because the second ingredient is WATER! Water is cheap. So is the food starch, that when mixed with the water and added to the pulverized chicken bits creates a much bulkier product than just chicken.”

    You’re splitting hairs here. If fresh chicken from your local market was required to put percentages of water / protein / fat etc on a label water would be pretty high up there.

  • Nick

    or because you can get just as many wendy’s spicy chicken nuggets, which are WAYYYY!!! better, for $4

    • http://www.mcdonalds.com Ronald McDonald

      Wendy’s stuff is stupid.

      • DarkJet

        Amen Ronny

    • Seth

      You just blew my mind

  • Paranormalkitty

    I’ve made a lot of chicken in my day and never had a problem with it foaming … how is that even possible?

  • devilwymyn

    @ Mirandarice. people ask me the same thing & I say ‘How do you NOT resist it?”

    Just the thought of putting over processed food into my body makes my belly gurgle. You are only as healthy & happy as your colon after all. Since my son suffers from severe depression I changed our diet to organic, minimal amounts of meat & high doses of vitamins and no fast food or processed foods. I make what we eat and proud to say no Rx meds & he is doing splendid.

    • DogwoodSmugglesRomaine

      His improvement is probably due to the increase of interest you exhibit in his daily life, even if it is just his diet. Not to say that overly processed foods do not have any neurological side effects, but spending tons of money on barely-organic (yes, barely, as in you’re trusting a label and eating something that isn’t much different from non-organic) only produces a placebo effect. Peace of the mind is pretty powerful, eh?

      • Eazy

        Preach!!!! No such thing as organic anymore lol.

  • http://lookgoodfeelgreatalways.com Chong Su Lee

    Good to let mothers know what they are feeding their kids with!

  • zyzz

    Lettuce be reality for a second. Unless you never marinate your chicken, never use salt and pepper, and never buy it from a normal chain store, you’re never going to get “chicken” as an ingredient. Hell, there’s probably a handful of ingredients in ketchup alone. Who the hell cares. If you want pure chicken, go slaughter one and cook it on a stick over a fire. Better add stick particles to your list of ingredients, though.

    • 100% Human – Unprocessed

      Maybe you should put that as the epitaph on your gravestone.  Then the rest of us can use you as an example to educate our children why they should care about what’s in their food.

    • Perem

      You are a moron… And one of the reasons our food industry is in the state it’s in. Educate yourself, or
      not, I don’t care. Reading your comments make me feel better about myself.

      • http://www.ImkingofTROLLING.com/ Xworl

        Eat a dick, skrub.

      • Neil

        Youre the stupid one to begin with because hes totally correct. Unless you actually kill the chicken, dont marinate it and use even a pot, It will never be only chicken. Even if you cook it over a fire youll need to add what the C02 and whatever else fire turns the protiens of the chicken into because thats not a natural part of the chicken now is it?

        • Ota kun

          You’re a fucking idiot. That’s not how listing ingredients work.
          Stop trying to distract from the truth of this message.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WolverinesFan99 Beau McClelland

    McNuggets are awesome. I can eat 20 in one sitting and still not be full.

    • Ota kun

      That would be a testament to them NOT being awesome. 20 nuggests should be more than enough to fill one person up. Wtf are they feeding you then?

  • Chuck Brock

    and god love em

  • Ben Gray

    I enjoy mcnuggets… It is pretty self explanatory that when you step foot into mcdonalds you are going to be consuming absolute rubbish that is bad for your health… From the delights of sweetened drinks to processed “meat” and chemical filled bread. However on occasions I still enjoy going to eat this crap. Thank you fooducate for presenting this information! It is vital that foods remain clearly advertised and labelled and that everyone can make an informed decision on their lifestyles. At least then we only have ourselves to blame.

    • http://www.mcdonalds.com Ronald McDonald

      That’s bull.

    • Anonymous

      I agree

  • Alejo

    I think the “argument” that water is cheap is kind of void. That said, I was expecting to find financial reasons why it isn’t a great deal. Misleading title, good article, but not what I was looking for. As someone said before, it’s pretty well-known that fast food is not healthy, but I eat what I like to eat, who knows, maybe tomorrow I get hit by a bus and I never did what I like, in order to be healthy

    • rick

      or maybe in 10 years you’ll die of colon cancer because you ate processed shit every day of your life

      • bjj106

        That is the most ridiculous think I’ve heard, wishing someone to die from colon cancer.

      • nmwashin

        There has been no proof that colon cancer is directly caused by consuming processed food, dumbass. It’s only been theorized

      • http://www.mcdonalds.com Ronald McDonald

        Colon cancer? Bull.

  • Ian

    The packs of ham on the supermarket says right there that they are 30% “added product” which is basically just water and salt, why are we just focusing on McDonalds? we should focus on the act of adding water to the food which they sell us by weight,

  • Jennifer L. Anderson

    You do know that “bread crumbs” isn’t ONE ingredient, right?

    • Carl Swaygan

      Shhhhh let’s not bring SCIENCE into this!

  • Bohratom

    20 Nuggets just weigh about 12 ounces so it’s no wonder they do not fill you up.

  • PrincessBLARITY

    can i buy the 20 piece for $5 in Georgia? O3O

  • Dumb

    “This is a bad deal because it’s not good for you!”

    No fucking shit idiots. It’s fast fucking food.

  • Brian Blair

    It is absolutely amazing the prices Mcdonalds asks now for that crap food! WTH Mcdonalds? You are not a friggin 5 star restaurant! You are not even considerd a real restaurant! And yet people are actually so dumbed down, instead of refusing to pay it and finding alternatives like they should! They just go ahead and pay it! And that is how we the consumer get screwed over! Because of stupid people!

  • Eli

    i hate mcnuggets they may taste nice but there is no way id give any money to those power, money hungry mongrol captitalist

    • PandoraBoxx

      I bet you shop at Wal-Mart…

    • http://www.mcdonalds.com Ronald McDonald

      Fak you.

  • linuxdood

    click bait and I fell for it

  • Harvey Smeadon

    This is one of the worst debates I’ve ever read. McDonald’s is certainly not a corporation, whose cause, I’d advocate. What I cannot stand, however, is horrible arguments. Does McDonald’s “likely” use low-quality ingredients? Yes. Are TBHQ and Dimethylpolysiloxane controversial additives? Yes. What you’ve done, though, is argue three main points that say eating 20 Chicken McNuggets for $4.99 is a “bad deal.” Let’s look closer at those points:
    1) ‘The Water/Starch content bulks them up’
    - Absolutely! Unfortunately, there’s also the matter of proving your point to go along with that statement, which that statement doesn’t. Comparing general chicken costs and using appropriate food data to compare with the nutritional information provided by McDonald’s seems like the only way to agree/disagree with whether or not it’s a “bad deal.”
    2) I think the statement about the quality of ingredients/additives used has already been sufficiently debated
    3) ‘You’ll PROBABLY be tempted to buy a Coke and fries for another $5′
    - Seriously?! You put this out in the world of food blogs?! Now you aren’t even questioning whether or not the McNuggets are a good deal anymore!!!
    I says “Good Riddance!!”

  • Mike Huang

    Um, most vegetable oils you buy in the supermarket has all those ingredients McDonalds lists including TBHQ and Dimethylpolysiloxane. Stop spewing uneducated fear mongering.

  • PeteK

    delicious mcnuggets! Take a family of four: 4 doublecheese and fries combo for $2.50 each and a 20 piece for $5 THAT’s a big dinner for the whole family for $15 and everyone drinks water OR you’re still under $20 with 4 drinks for $1 each WOW way cheaper than healthy food at the grocery store, and you don’t have to make it or clean up after!

  • Carl Swaygan

    So much chemophobia on this blog. I’m surprised you didn’t change the 2nd ingredient name to “Dihydrogen Monoxide” and explain that it’s deadly in large amounts!

  • Reasonable Assurance’s Broseph

    McNuggets should be a separate food group…

  • Omnom Bacon

    “Shouldn’t chicken nuggets be made from just 4 ingredients – chicken, bread crumbs, eggs, and frying oil?”

    No. Marinate chicken, dip in milk, bread with flour and spices, dip in egg, bread with seasoned bread crumbs, fry in an oil blend.

  • Anonymous

    Nuggets are good and what ever they put in them an we buy it’s not their fault!! Don’t hate cuz they are bankn BILLIONS!!!!!

  • John

    The real question is, ” why is a 20 pc nugget $5.00 and a 10 pc (half the nuggets) $4.49?