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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 17-time book author and board-certified doctor of 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 her new book The Probiotic Promise. 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.


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4:55AM PDT on Mar 23, 2015

Well, no wonder they made my daughter sick to her stomach.

5:11PM PST on Mar 5, 2015

Well, I'm a vegetarian but when I wasn't I wouldn't eat fast food if you paid me.

6:18PM PST on Feb 24, 2015

It is very simple:
McDonalds is NOT your friend!

7:38AM PST on Feb 24, 2015

I like to make my own. I like to take either red potatoes or sweet potatoes and cut them up in chunks, toss with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt and roast in the oven on 375F for about 25 minutes and their so yummy!

5:13AM PST on Feb 23, 2015

My daughter could never eat those, I learned quickly. They made her sick to her stomach... literally.
When she was very young, my mother-in-law thought I was "terrible" for "depriving" her of McDonald's. She took my daughter out one day, and took her to McDonald's, over my repeated warnings not to do so as she would be ill. This, to her, was her "chance" to give my daughter something her mother didn't give her. When they arrived back at my home, my mother-in-law was upset that my daughter had been "sick" in her car, repeatedly. The car smelled appropriately.
Taking care of my daughter, I looked right at my mother-in-law, who was complaining, and said, "Did you feed her McDonald's french fries, after I told her not to do so because they make her ill?" "It was only one little pack of fries. You NEVER offer any to her. You never take her there. Other kids go to McDonald's. I thought it was mean." "Why would I deliberately deprive and be mean to my daughter? Does that sound like me? Has she ever asked to go there, or was it all your idea?" "Other kids go to McDonald's. I thought it was mean, you never taking her there." "Why would I be mean to my daughter? So now she is ill and you have vomit all over your car." "Who's going to clean my car?" "Don't look to me."
Some people learn slowly. Some don't seem to learn at all.

1:46PM PST on Jan 30, 2015

Oh no, I´m glad I never visit McDonald or Burger King, if I want to eat french fries, I buy those for the oven, they contain only 3 % fat and no stuff´s added besides a little salt, and they don´t need to be from McCain, the supermarkets´ or discounters´ own brands are just as tasty and crunchy!!!

12:39AM PST on Jan 26, 2015

Thank you for sharing

5:14AM PST on Jan 23, 2015


5:19PM PST on Jan 21, 2015

I read your article and went through to validate the claims that were being made and found it very lacking in the science department.

Just because something is a GMO doesn't make it bad. Many of the GMO changes don't enter the food supply. So just claiming it is GMO and thus bad is a bad claim.

Sodium acid pyrophosphate - looked up the "food grade" version and it is safe for ingestion. All products will list on the MSDS they are not safe for ingestion unless they are the food grade type. So please make sure you are looking up what they are using not something "close".

Dimethylpolysiloxane - as been used in medicine since the early 1960s, for surgery involving the stomach for anti-foaming. The doses they use hundreds of times greater than the does you would get from the fries, and have been shown in study after study to be safe.

TBHQ is effectively inert in the human body and passes through with almost no absorption by the digestive tract, the little that is absorbed is filtered out easily by the kidneys.

All of the stuff in the fries are safe except for eating lots of greasy fries.

1:16PM PST on Jan 21, 2015

How can you be expect to be taken seriously when you make claims about MSG that have absolutely NO scientific data?

MSG stands for monosodium glutamate. So sodium — everybody knows what that is — [is] the first ingredient in common table salt. (Natural salt found in foods accounts for about 10 percent of a person’s total daily intake, according to the Food and Drug Administration.)

Glutamate, the basic component of MSG, is a synonym for glutamic acid and is a naturally occurring amino acid. It’s one of the building blocks of protein.

Most living things on earth contain glutamate, humans for example, and it’s also in many foods, including tomatoes, walnuts, pecans, Parmesan cheese, peas, mushrooms and soy sauce.

If MSG were toxic we would all be dead since it's naturally occurring in our bodies and natural foods.

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