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Why you shouldn't try the Chick-fil-A 'cleanse'

I am an English Literature major at Long Island University. I am the Head Copyeditor for the school newspaper the Pioneer. In my spare time I impulsively watch the Twilight Saga in one sitting more times than I care to admit. I am also a...

Chick-fil-A is promoting a grilled chicken nugget 'cleanse'

Can you imagine living in a world that allows you to indulge in one of the most adored delicacies in life without feeling guilty about it? Behold the chicken nugget. One of the most delicious foods is being promoted as a healthy choice on Chick-fil-A's takeout bags. The chain has subliminally proposed a body cleanse that requires us to eat an eight-piece chicken nugget meal — without the fries, soda and sauces — every three to four hours. Can this really work?

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Chick-fil-A does seem to be one of the more nutritional fast-food franchises the U.S. has seen over the years, depending on what you order, of course. There's a nutritional counter on the company's website that lets you select items you want to eat and add them to a meal calculator that displays nutrition information on the items.

The chicken nugget cleanse is the latest move by the company to market a healthy lifestyle. Their carryout bags now sport this diet tip: "Kick off the New Year by adding one healthy habit to your routine. Here's a good one: Eat smaller meals (like an 8-count pack of grilled nuggets) every three to four hours."

Similar to the "pizza cleanse" and "taco cleanse," this could be the real deal or another desperate fast-food hoax?

According to the Chick-fil-A website, each eight-count serving of grilled chicken nuggets is only 140 calories and just three grams of fat. On paper, yes, these nutrition facts seem promising, but it is a matter of how individuals who read the bag interpret the diet plan.

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According to registered dietitian and author Dr. Felicia Stoler, "Grilled chicken can be a healthy food choice and even a healthy snack. However, so are fruits, veggies, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy. It's all about energy balance." In essence, there has to be a variation to what you consume, or else your body is in danger of lacking the most integral parts of nutrition. Stoler added, "Non-fried, non-breaded option[s] from a quick-serve restaurant is great. However, eating pure protein does not stabilize blood glucose levels as their bags/website implies."

People tend to get into the habit of overconsuming certain foods, which can turn healthy foods into unhealthy ones, starving your body of the varied nutritional values it needs. A similar situation may unfold if too many grilled chicken nuggets are eaten in one day. In a more technical sense, Stoler explains, "When blood glucose levels drop, people need to eat a source of carbohydrates, not protein, to bring up glucose levels." So although grilled chicken nuggets can be a healthy option, it will not give you the nutrients your body needs as a full diet plan or cleanse.

Stoler agrees that eating every three to four hours to maintain blood glucose levels and minimize overeating is a good recommendation from Chick-fil-A, but she does not advocate eating only chicken.

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