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Shocking Ingredients in McDonald’s French Fries

Shocking Ingredients in McDonald’s French Fries

It would be fair to assume that there are three ingredients in McDonald’s French fries:  potatoes, oil, and salt.  But if you assumed that you’d be far from correct.

Starting last year McDonald’s began a transparency campaign most likely to create a more health- and consumer-conscious image of the corporation.  As a result the company has made their ingredient lists and processing techniques available on their website. Out of curiosity, I had to know exactly what is in those fries.

It turns out that there are 17 ingredients in MickeyD’s French fries!  They contain:

-Potatoes (whew! I’m glad that was the first ingredient)

-Canola oil—Most canola oil is now genetically-modified.

-Hydrogenated soybean oil—Like canola oil, most soybean oil is now extracted from genetically-modified soybeans. Plus the hydrogenation process makes the oil more saturated than it would be in its natural form, and unhealthy.

-Safflower oil—Believed to be a healthier cooking oil, most safflower is unfortunately heated to high temperatures long before it is ever used for cooking, causing it to be chemically-altered from the heat, and a source of inflammation in the body when that is the case.

-”Natural flavor”—McDonald’s natural flavor is apparently obtained from a vegetable source, but the “natural” moniker means nothing since it can even potentially contain the nerve- and brain-toxin monosodium glutamate (MSG).

-Dextrose—a type of sugar.

-Sodium acid pyrophosphate—This ingredient is apparently used to maintain the color of the fries.  On the chemical industry’s own safety data sheets it is listed as hazardous for ingestion, which is exactly what you’ll be doing if you eat those French fries.

-Citric acid—used as a preservative.

-Dimethylpolysiloxane—used as an anti-foaming agent, this industrial chemical is typically used in caulking and sealants and comes with a list of safety concerns.

-Vegetable oil for frying, which is a blend of 7 ingredients, including:  canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), citric acid, and dimethylpolysiloxane.  We discussed most of these ingredients above.  Corn oil, like its canola and soybean counterparts is now primarily made of genetically-modified corn.

TBHQ is a petroleum-based, butane-like (yes, that’s lighter fluid!) ingredient used as a preservative.  It has been linked to asthma, skin conditions, hormone disruption, and in long-term animal studies to cancer and damage to DNA.

Contrary to what McDonald’s may claim in its slogan, I’m NOT lovin’ it!

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Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 15-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim, Weekend Wonder Detox, Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Subscribe to her free e-magazine World's Healthiest News at to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.


+ add your own
7:25AM PDT on Sep 1, 2014

Interesting article, thank you!

2:15PM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

This article is wrong. This is the ingredient statement straight from their website. The author sensationalized it by counting the same ingredients multiple times. There are only 12 ingredients and they aren't nearly as bad as the author makes them out to be.

Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]*, Citric Acid
[Preservative]), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain Color), Salt. Prepared in Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean
Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid added to preserve freshness), Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.

This is their ingredient statement broken down into the components
1. Potatoes
2. Canola Oil
3. Soybean Oil
4. Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5. Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]
6. Citric Acid [Preservative]
7. Dextrose
8. Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain color)
9. Salt
10. Corn Oil
11. TBHQ (added to preserve freshness)
12. Dimethylpolysiloxane (added as an antifoaming agent)

This is their ingredient statement with things grouped appropriately.

1. Potatoes
2. Vegetable Oil Blend
3. Beef Flavor
4. Dextrose
5. Salt
6. Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate
8. Dimethylpolysiloxane

1:22PM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

I wish I'd never had them.

10:28AM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

How disgusting.

7:41AM PDT on Aug 8, 2014

Thank you!!

10:21AM PDT on Aug 7, 2014

haha whatever, in moderation eating fries once in a while won't kill you.

10:42AM PDT on Jul 27, 2014

Yuk! I am never eating McDonald French Fries again!!!!

8:07PM PDT on Jul 25, 2014

not too surprising considering the garbage they generally serve

3:08PM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Ick, ick, ick. I've heard rumors that their fries are vegan, but that doesn't mean I'm going to eat them.

10:01AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Long story short: stay away from McDonalds.
but seriously though, don't eat it often.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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