There’s no doubt about it. Processed food like that from McDonald’s is just not part of a healthful diet – in fact, much of it cannot even pass for real food.
I am very grateful I can say I have never had a Chicken McNugget from McDonald’s. If you can’t say the same at least you can commit to never having another one again.
This sentiment was echoed by Federal Judge Robert Sweet in a lawsuit against the restaurant chain back in 2003 when he said:
“Chicken McNuggets, rather than being merely chicken fried in a pan, are a McFrankenstein creation of various elements not utilized by the home cook.”
At the time, Time Magazine reported that Judge Sweet “questioned whether customers understood the risks of eating McDonald’s chicken over regular chicken.”
That was seven years ago, and I still wonder whether or not McDonald’s customers truly understand the risks they take when consuming fast food on a regular basis.
If you missed Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me, I highly recommend you watch it with your entire family. It’s a real-life illustration of just how dangerous – life threatening, in fact – an excessive fast food diet can really be. And “excessive” consumption is likely far less than you imagine: Eating fast food just twice a week doubles your risk of developing insulin resistance, compared to eating it just once a week, for example. Insulin resistance, as I’ve discussed on many occasions, is one of the primary driving factors behind most of the diseases we currently struggle with, from diabetes to cancer and heart disease.
The truth is, McDonald’s fare contains non-food ingredients that can seriously harm your health.
This shouldn’t come as any great surprise. After all, how healthful can something be that shows no signs of decomposing after being left on a counter for more than a decade?
Clearly there’s more chemicals in there than actual, real foodstuff.
Chicken McNuggets: “Made With White Meat”… and What Else?
According to McDonald’s, their chicken nuggets are “made with white meat, wrapped up in a crisp tempura batter.” But as the article above shows, these chicken nuggets are a far cry from what you might expect, based on that description.
About half of it is actual chicken. The rest is a mix of corn-derived fillers and additives (most likely genetically modified), along with a slew of synthetic chemicals, including:
- Dimethyl polysiloxane, a type of silicone with anti-foaming properties used in cosmetics and a variety of other goods like Silly Putty
- Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a petroleum-based product with antioxidant properties
The latter, TBHQ, is typically listed as an “antioxidant,” but it’s important to realize it is a synthetic chemical with antioxidant properties – not a natural antioxidant.
The chemical prevents oxidation of fats and oils, thereby extending shelf life of processed foods. It’s a commonly used ingredient in processed foods of all kinds, but you can also find it in varnishes, lacquers, pesticide products, as well as cosmetics and perfumes to reduce the evaporation rate and improve stability.
At its 19th and 21st meetings, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives determined that TBHQ was safe for human consumption at levels of 0-0.5 mg/kg of body weight. However, more recently, the Codex commission set the maximum allowable limits up to between 100 to as much as 400 mg/kg, depending on the food it’s added to. (Chewing gum is permitted to contain the highest levels of TBHQ.)
That’s quite a discrepancy in supposedly “safe” limits!
So, is the safe level zero, or 400 mg/kg? Who knows?!
According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, one gram of TBHQ can cause:
- ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- sense of suffocation
Based on animal studies, health hazards associated with TBHQ include:
- liver effects at very low doses
- positive mutation results from in vitro tests on mammalian cells
- biochemical changes at very low doses
- reproductive effects at high doses
The good news is that it is not suspected to be a persistent toxin, meaning your body is probably able to eliminate it so that it does not bioaccumulate.
REAL Food “Lives” and “Dies”
I recently commented on the curious ability of McDonald’s food to remain impervious to degradation. It’s as if the food has been embalmed to stay “fresh” forever! After sitting on a shelf for 14 years, the hamburger bun has yet to develop a single trace of mold. It’s barely even begun to shrivel…
Folks, these buns bear absolutely no resemblance to real bread, and when you read the list of ingredients, this mysterious mummification feature becomes less of a mystery.
Here are just a few of the ingredients in a McDonald’s hamburger bun:
- calcium sulfate (aka Plaster of Paris)
- calcium carbonate (antacid medication)
- ammonium sulfate (according to MSDS, “harmful if swallowed”)
- ammonium chloride (causes irritation to the gastrointestinal tract; symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea)
- calcium propionate (preservative)
- sodium propionate (mold inhibitor)
Always remember that wholesome, health-promoting food is “live” food, and the hallmark of live food is the fact that it will decompose.
The fact that these burgers, buns, and fries do not decompose, even after a decade or two, is a clear sign that it’s just not real food, and should not be part of your diet.
You Are What You Eat
The bottom line is that if you want to stay healthy, and keep your children healthy, you have to avoid fast food and other processed foods, and invest some time in your kitchen, cooking from scratch. Reclaiming your kitchen is part and parcel of healthful living, so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body.
Ideally, you’ll want to consume as much whole, raw, organic and/or locally grown foods as possible. That’s one of the major reasons why vegetable juicing works so well – you’re consuming living raw food!
Most vegetables also have very low carbohydrate levels that minimally disturb insulin metabolism – another important trait of a healthful diet — but there is something very special about vegetable juicing and eating live raw foods in general.
In addition, I believe optimal health is also largely dependent on eating the right foods for your nutritional type. I think this is such an important part of an optimal diet.
If you’re “hooked” on fast food and other processed foods, please review my recent article, “How to Wean Yourself Off Processed Foods in 7 Steps.” If you’re currently sustaining yourself on fast food and processed foods, this is probably the most positive life change you could ever make.
And if you have children, remember that feeding your children home cooked meals can have far reaching benefits, extending even to your future grandchildren. Yes, that’s right! It is now well known that dietary changes can prompt epigenetic DNA changes that can be passed on to future generations. For instance, pregnant rats fed a fatty diet had daughters and granddaughters with a greater risk of breast cancer.
Making wise food decisions can literally “override” genetic predispositions for disease.
If you need help determining what foods are actually healthful and which are not, please review the shopping guidelines listed at the end of this recent article.