Disgusting Ingredients in McDonald’s Burgers

If you’ve been following my “Not Lovin’ It” series on ingredients in McDonald’s foods, you’ve already seen some disgusting and shocking ingredients in McNuggets and French fries. Many people contacted me to ask “what’s in those burgers?” I have to admit, even though I haven’t eaten a McDonald’s burger in many years, I too have wondered what’s in them.  Before I share information from McDonald’s own ingredient lists, let’s consider the processing of their burgers.

There’s been a tremendous amount of controversy over McDonald’s burgers since celebrity chef Jamie Oliver demonstrated how meat scraps and sinew are spun in a centrifuge and “washed” with ammonium hydroxide, which has also become known as ”Pink Slime.“ This chemical is used in fertilizers and cleaning products.  According to Oliver it is used in 70 percent of ground beef in the United States but does not require inclusion on ingredient lists because the US Department of Agriculture classifies it as a “process” not an “ingredient” even though residues of this process are left behind in the meat consumed. He says, ”Basically, were taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest way for dogs, and after this process, is being given to human beings.

Recently, McDonald’s announced that “we made a decision to discontinue the use of ammonia-treated beef in our hamburgers.” But, there is no way to know if it is still in use at McDonald’s, other than to trust McDonald’s to do what it says.  As an aside, McDonald’s reportedly never used pink slime-treated beef in the UK and Ireland, but was comfortable including it in North American burgers.

Before you decide whether you want to trust McDonald’s let’s take a look at ingredients in their burgers (according to the company’s own website) along with some information I’d like to share about these ingredients.

Here are the burger ingredients:

Beef Patty—according to the corporation, it is using 100 percent pure beef.  The moniker “100% pure” actually means nothing.  It may or not be pure. We really don’t know for sure whether McDonald’s is using Pink Slime in its processes and whether its beef is among the 70 percent of ground beef in North America that contains Pink Slime.

Grill Seasoning contains “salt, spice (pepper), sunflower oil (‘as a processing aid’).”  Most sunflower oil used in commercial processes has been heated to extreme temperatures prior to use. This process denatures the oil, causing it to become inflammatory when consumed.

Ketchup—contains “tomato paste (made from fresh ripe tomatoes), liquid sugar, white vinegar, salt, onion powder, and spices.” Liquid sugar is usually high fructose corn syrup which is almost always from genetically-modified corn and has been linked to obesity.  “Spices” can actually mean any number of ingredients, including herbs, but it can also include monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is commonly found in most fast, processed, and even restaurant foods.  Monosodium glutamate is frequently used in laboratories to create obese animals for testing.  Here’s an example of this practice. And another.

Discover the possible ingredient that causes seizures and fibroymalgia pain…Mustard—”vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, turmeric, spices.”  Again, we have no way of knowing whether “spices” contain MSG, which is a well-established excitotoxin (contrary to what some comments on my other articles have indicated).  Excitotoxins are just what they sound like:  toxic chemicals that literally excite brain and nervous system cells until they die off.  Here are a couple examples for the skeptics: A study in the journal Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology found that MSG significantly increased fibromyalgia pain. Scientists concluded “dietary glutamate may be contributing to FM (fibromyalgia) symptoms in some patients.”  Another study in the journal Brain Research found that giving MSG to animals caused them to have seizures.

Onions—dehydrated onions.  Is it too much to ask that they use fresh onions that actually have some nutritional value?

Pickle Slices—include “cucumbers, water, distilled vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, potassium sorbate, potassium aluminum sulphate, natural flavors (plant source), polysorbate 80, extractives of turmeric (color).”  Some of these ingredients are fairly obvious.  Potassium sorbate has been shown in human studies to be both genotoxic and mutagenic. That means it damages the genetic material and can cause mutations linked to disease.  Polysorbate 80 is a suspected carcinogen. Turmeric is a spice.

Regular Bun—”enriched wheat flour, water, sugar and/or glucose-fructose, yeast, vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola), salt, calcium sulphate, calcium propionate, monoglycerides, enzymes, azodicarbonamide, and may contain any or all of the following in varying proportions: diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides, BHT, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate, wheat starch, calcium peroxide, wheat gluten, inactive yeast, sorbitol, dextrin, malted barley flour, ascorbic acid, citric acid, calcium stearate, calcium iodate, silicon dioxide.” Whew! Considering that bread can be made with flour and water (not even yeast is essential since true sourdoughs don’t need it), that’s a disturbing number of ingredients–28 possible ingredients just in the bun!

More about the bun ingredients:

BHT—a known neurotoxin (substance that is toxic to the brain and nervous system), a hormone disruptor, immune system toxin, and irritant to the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides (DATEM)—This is a synthetically-created “stabilizing ingredient” that is usually made from vegetable oils but can also contain animal fat like pork.

Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate—not much is really known about the safety of this ingredient.  Since it can be sourced from dairy products, there is a potential risk of allergy for those with dairy allergies.

Most of the other ingredients are widely-used in food processing even though there is little research on their long-term and cumulative effects.

The more I research MickeyD’s food, the more I’m definitely NOT lovin’ it!  What about you?  Are you lovin’ it?

Subscribe to my free e-magazine Worlds Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on my site HealthySurvivalist.com, Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.

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Nancy W.
Nancy W.28 days ago

I've been noticing McDonalds are not as easy to find as they once were, not as popular now. Most people I work with are opting out for Subways more than McDonalds.

Philippa P.
Philippa Powers29 days ago

McDonald's should be closed permanently. God only knows how many peoples' health has been adversely affected by their food.

Mari 's
Mari 'sabout a month ago

That's fast food for ya!

Fi T.
Fi T.about a month ago

No more junk food again

Wendi M.
Wendi M.about a month ago


H M.
H M.about a month ago

Is the low hanging fruit this "investigative research" produced safe for us to swallow? I note hints of codswallop. Maybe Jamie Oliver can cry his crocodile tears over that.

Marianne R.
Marianne R.about a month ago

...and this is new?

Elaine W.
Past Member 1 months ago

No thank you. I'm not hungry now.

Stephanie S.
Stephanie S.2 months ago

In June of 2015, it was discovered that I had type 2 diabetes. By the end of the month, I was given a prescription for Metformin. I stated the ADA diet and followed it completely for several weeks but was unable to get my blood sugar below 140. With no results to how for my hard work, I panicked and called my doctor. His response? Deal with it. I began to feel that something wasn’t right and do my own research. Then I found Lisa’s blog (google " HOW I FREED MYSELF FROM THE DIABETES " ) . I read it from cover to cover and I started the diet and by the next morning, my blood sugar was 100. Since then, I have a fasting reading between the mid 70s and 80s. My doctor was so surprised at the results that, the next week, he took me off the Metformin. I lost 30 pounds in the first month and lost more than 6 inches off my waist and I’m able to work out twice a day while still having lots of energy. The truth i.e can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods

Pablo B.
Pablo B.2 months ago