June 25th, 2010
03:44 PM ET

All McNuggets not created equal

All McDonald’s   nuggets are not created equal.

U.S. McNuggets not only contain more calories and fat than their British counterparts, but also chemicals not found across the Atlantic.

CNN investigated the differences after receiving a  blog comment asking about them.

American McNuggets (190 calories, 12 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat for 4 pieces) contain the chemical preservative tBHQ, tertiary butylhydroquinone, a petroleum-based product. They also contain dimethylpolysiloxane, “an anti-foaming agent” also used in Silly Putty.

By contrast, British McNuggets (170 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat for 4 pieces) lists neither chemical among its ingredients.

“I would certainly choose the British nuggets over the American” says Ruth Winter, author of  “A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives.”

McDonald’s says the differences are based on the local tastes: In the United States, McNuggets are coated and then cooked, in the United Kingdom, they are cooked and then coated. As a result, the British McNuggets absorb less oil and have less fat.

"You would find that if you looked at any of our core food items. You'd see little, regional differences," says Lisa McComb, who handles global media relations for McDonald's, which has more than 32,000 restaurants in 117 countries. "We do taste testing of all our food items on an ongoing basis."

One apparent difference is only a matter of labeling, according to McComb. U.K. McNuggets list ground celery and pepper, which are labeled simply as "spices" in the United States, she says.

Marion Nestle, a New York University professor and author of “What to Eat,” says the tertiary butylhydroquinone and dimethylpolysiloxane in the McNuggets probably pose no health risks. As a general rule, though, she advocates not eating  any food with an ingredient you can’t pronounce.

Dimethylpolysiloxane is used as a matter of safety to keep the oil from foaming, McComb says. The chemical is a form of silicone also used in cosmetics and Silly Putty.  A review of animal studies by The World Health Organization found no adverse health effects associated with dimethylpolysiloxane.

TBHQ is a preservative for vegetable oils and animal fats, limited to .02 percent of the oil in the nugget. One gram (one-thirtieth of an ounce) can cause "nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse," according to “A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives.”

In 2003, McDonald’s launched smaller, all-white-meat McNuggets after a federal judge dubbed the food “a McFrankenstein creation of various elements not utilized by the home cook." Among the ingredients that remained in the new McNuggets: tBHQ and dimethylpolysiloxane.

Christopher Kimball, the founder and publisher of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and host of the syndicated cooking show America’s Test Kitchen, says he suspects these chemicals are required for the nuggets to hold their shape and texture after being extruded into nugget-shaped molds.

“The regulations in Europe, in general, around food are much stricter than the U.S.,” Kimball says.

soundoff (1,904 Responses)
  1. ford transit connect


    May 4, 2021 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. truck suspension maintenance


    May 5, 2021 at 06:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. online anxiety coach


    May 5, 2021 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. online financial coach


    May 5, 2021 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. avanafil

    buy avana avana india

    May 5, 2021 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. JebgEncox

    all med pharmacy https://pharmacylo.com/ price pro pharmacy canada

    May 5, 2021 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. car rentals near me

    I used to be able to find good information from your content.


    May 5, 2021 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Optometrist Near Me

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the most useful websites online. I am going to highly recommend this blog!


    May 5, 2021 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Interior Remodeling Los Angeles


    May 6, 2021 at 04:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. gmc truck repair near me


    May 6, 2021 at 07:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    May 6, 2021 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. dennys near me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also the rest of the website is also really good.


    May 6, 2021 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. cell phone repair near me

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I found this in my search for something regarding this.


    May 6, 2021 at 17:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv park orange county ca


    May 6, 2021 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Forklift Dealer

    Great info. Lucky me I recently found your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I've book marked it for later!


    May 6, 2021 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Beer Mini Kegs


    May 6, 2021 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Forklift Maintenance Shop Los Angeles


    May 6, 2021 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Forklift Dealer Orange County

    You are so awesome! I don't suppose I've read through a single thing like this before. So good to find somebody with genuine thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with some originality!


    May 6, 2021 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. driving schools near me

    I love it when folks come together and share thoughts. Great site, continue the good work!


    May 7, 2021 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. rv repair in riverside ca

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after looking at some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!


    May 7, 2021 at 06:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Forklift Dealer Los Angeles

    I blog quite often and I really appreciate your information. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I am going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.


    May 7, 2021 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Kegs Sizes


    May 7, 2021 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. nintendo switch near me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and also the rest of the site is very good.


    May 7, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. aralen for sale

    does chloroquine work https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine malaria

    May 7, 2021 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. progressive repair center

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who had been doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner simply because I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this topic here on your web site.


    May 7, 2021 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. paint shops near my location


    May 7, 2021 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Social Media Marketing Services


    May 8, 2021 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Content Marketing Master


    May 8, 2021 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Content Marketing Business


    May 8, 2021 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Video Marketing Near Me

    Hi! I simply would like to give you a huge thumbs up for the great information you have here on this post. I am returning to your web site for more soon.


    May 8, 2021 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. LbsoZisse

    cialis cheap http://ucialisdas.com/ what is better viagra or cialis or levitra??

    May 8, 2021 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Internet Marketing Center

    Excellent blog post. I absolutely appreciate this website. Stick with it!


    May 8, 2021 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RebfZisse

    cialis buy [url=https://rcialisgl.com/ ]cialis buy india[/url] how to buy cialis from us stores

    May 8, 2021 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Internet Marketing Reviews

    Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 8, 2021 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Seo Marketing Job

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal site now 😉


    May 8, 2021 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. mission hills collision center

    Very good post. I am dealing with a few of these issues as well..


    May 8, 2021 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. nivaquine

    malaria drugs list https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine

    May 8, 2021 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Social Media Marketing Services

    You have made some really good points there. I looked on the internet for more info about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.


    May 8, 2021 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Social Media Marketing Service

    Wonderful article! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    May 8, 2021 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Internet Marketing Review


    May 8, 2021 at 22:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. priligy

    buy avanafil online dapoxetine 10 mg

    May 8, 2021 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Digital Marketing Agencies


    May 9, 2021 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Eda Tisi

    Most of whatever you articulate happens to be astonishingly legitimate and that makes me wonder why I had not looked at this in this light previously. This piece really did switch the light on for me personally as far as this subject matter goes. But there is actually just one issue I am not really too comfy with so while I try to reconcile that with the core idea of your position, permit me see just what the rest of your visitors have to say.Very well done.


    May 9, 2021 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. LbsoZisse

    what color is cialis pill https://ucialisdas.com/ cheap cialis overnight

    May 9, 2021 at 05:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Local Marketing Business


    May 9, 2021 at 05:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Digital Marketing Specialist


    May 9, 2021 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Social Media Marketing Contractors


    May 9, 2021 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. AnooEncox

    tadalafil stronger than viagra https://llviagra.com/ kann man viagra kaufen ohne rezept

    May 9, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Digital Marketing Firms Orange County

    Aw, this was a very good post. Taking the time and actual effort to generate a really good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don't seem to get anything done.


    May 9, 2021 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. FmrfEncox

    cialis no prescrition [url=http://cialisee.com/ ]cialis purchase canada[/url] buy cialis uk

    May 9, 2021 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

Leave a Reply to NncsZisse


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.