Why Does The UK Get Healthier McNuggets Than We Do?

When one thinks of British cuisine — bangers and mash, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie — one doesn’t necessarily think of health food. But, at least when it comes to McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, our funny-speaking friends across the Atlantic are getting the less-caloric end of the deal.

According to some science performed by CNN:

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.

McDonald’s says the UK McNuggets absorb less oil and have less fat because the chicken is cooked first and then coated, whereas stateside we coat the nuggets before cooking them.

As for the U.S.-only chemicals, a Golden Arches rep says dimethylpolysiloxane, which the World Health Organization says has no adverse health effects — is used to keep the oil from foaming during cooking.

Meanwhile, tBHQ is a preservative for vegetable oils and animal fats, which McDonald’s says is limited to .02% of the oil in the nugget. That’s good, because CNN says 1g of the stuff can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.”

All McNuggets not created equal [CNN.com]