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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Duerr

​Chic fil a grilled chicken Ingredients

Maybe not as healthy as you originally thought.

Over the years, I have seen different chain restaurants come and go in popularity. When I was a kid, McDonalds and Burger King were extremely popular, follows by KFC, Wendy's and Pizza Hut. Looking at the fast foods that are popular today, people are trying to be more health conscious in the decisions of where to pick up a quick bite to eat. Three restaurants that come to mind are Chipotle, Panera, and Chic Fil A. In fact most people, in my local area, think of Chic Fil A as the healthy choice for fast food, with the added benefit of a fast drive through. They primarily serve chicken sandwiches and salads. When I talk to my clients about why they choose Chic Fil A, it is because their picky eater children will eat it AND they have grilled chicken nuggets, sandwiches, and salads. Of course, we have always learned that grilled chicken is so much healthier than fried chicken. But is Chic fil a grilled chicken ACTUALLY grilled chicken? Lets take a closer look:

Ingredients: Grilled chicken (whole breast filet, seasoning [water, apple cider vinegar, soybean oil, yeast extract, salt, modified corn starch, palm oil, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, corn maltodextrin, sea salt, natural flavor, sugar, chicken stock, cane molasses, chicken fat, spice, natural flavor {including smoke}, dextrose, lemon peel, citric acid, red bell pepper, orange juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate, natural flavor, paprika, vinegar, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid, and spices]).

Hmmm, some of those ingredients definitely look a bit questionable. Lets break it down even further:

  • Yeast extract=MSG - Depression, irritability, mood changes, mutagenic teratogenic subacute and reproductive affects

  • Modified cornstarch – chemically modified starch for thickening and jelling. Could cause digestive issues in babies due to their low resistance to chemicals. Propylene oxide, succinic anhydride, 1-octenyl succinic anhydride, aluminum sulfate and sodium hydroxide. FDA ordered to reevaluate safety in 1980, still waiting….

  • Palm oil – not environmentally friendly

  • Corn maltodextrin – sugar from hydrolysis of starch. Used as a tenderizer and flavor enhancer.

  • Natural flavor – distillation and solvent extraction, or enzyme action to obtain materials from plants and animals. Process can change the chemical structure of the components.

  • 5 more types of sugar: sugar, dextrose, cane molasses, orange juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate

  • Xanthan gum – gum made from pure culture fermentation of carbs with Xanthomonas campestris. Also called corn sugar gum. Used as thickener, suspend, emulsify, stabilize water-based foods (Dairy and salad dressings). Used as a pseudo plasticizer in salad dressing to help them pour. Used in animal feed as stabilizer, thickener, suspending additives.

Wow! So grilled chicken at Chic Fil A is definitely not what it's cracked up to be. It is important to keep in mind that convenience and price don't always match up to or are better than quality. Personally, I would much rather have to walk into a restaurant and wait a few extra minutes for food than eat fake grilled chicken! Even better, prepping ahead of time and using a cooler for long days out and about would be ideal.


Winter, R. (2009). A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, 7th Edition: Descriptions in Plain English of More Than 12,000 Ingredients Both Harmful and Desirable Found in Foods (Revised, Updated edition). New York: Harmony.​

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