silly putty tonguePhoto: fuxoft via FlickrDrooling over those food-like substances!Moms across the nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief every time their toddlers pop Silly Putty in their mouths with the news that that childhood mainstay is not completely unlike another one: McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. As it turns out, these two amorphous items share the yummy-sounding chemical ingredient, dimethylpolysiloxane, which acts as an “anti-foaming agent.”

Why does your chicken need an anti-foaming agent? To keep all that delicious deep-frying oil from getting too frothy, of course!

“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,” reports CNN.

Neither this nor the petroleum-based chemical preservative tBHQ are found in British McNuggets, due to the differences in preparation to account for regional tastes. As a result, U.K. McNuggets are less fattening (but are they more foamy?).

Either way, these things aren’t food so much as Michael Pollan’s oft-derided “food-like substances.” No wonder some kids can’t tell the difference between food and Silly Putty.

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