McDonald’s Plans to Remove HFCS and Preservatives From Some Foods, But It’s Still Not Healthy

After three years of declining numbers of guests, McDonald’s is attempting to lure back customers with its latest announcement that it plans to remove high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from buns and preservatives from its McNuggets.

“We need to think about our ingredient labels as being much smaller,” said Mike Andres, president of McDonald’s U.S. That is definitely not a bad idea when you consider that foods like McNuggets contain 29 ingredients. But is it enough to remove preservatives from McNuggets when you consider the vast number of foods on McDonald’s menu that may still contain them?

McDonald’s seems to be throwing the term “Quality Food” around a lot these days, particularly on its website. But, the decision to remove only a couple of ingredients from a handful of foods doesn’t mean that the company’s food deserves the term “quality.” Let’s take a quick look at some of the ingredients in McDonald’s McNuggets, according to the company’s own site:

  • White Boneless Chicken
  • Water
  • Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil)
  • Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)
  • Bleached Wheat Flour
  • Yellow Corn Flour
  • Vegetable Starch (Modified Corn, Wheat, Rice, Pea, Corn)
  • Salt
  • Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Lactate, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Spices
  • Yeast Extract
  • Lemon Juice Solids
  • Dextrose
  • Natural Flavors

Canola, corn, soybean, and hydrogenated soybean oils are all likely genetically-modified ingredients (GMOs), since these are all heavily modified crops. There is absolutely no reason for the use of any hydrogenated oil of any kind in any foods, considering its well-established toxic effects on the heart.   And, as for bleached flour, yes, it is exactly what it sounds like – flour that has been chemically bleached. Corn flour, corn starch, corn, and corn oil…again more GMOs. As leaveners go, baking soda would suffice but no, McDonald’s offers a handful of other less-than-healthy leaveners. Sodium Aluminum Phosphate has been linked to neurological problems, and it is on EWG’s watch list.

The ingredients “spices” and “yeast extract” sound harmless enough but they are blanket terms used by a less-than-transparent food industry, usually to conceal the inclusion of monosodium glutamate (MSG). Dextrose is a form of sugar. Natural flavors sounds fairly reasonable until you learn that it is also a blanket term that can describe any number of over 100 less-than-desirable ingredients. (Not-so-fun fact: natural flavors can include dried beaver’s sac, sheepskin excretions, or insect excretions). Natural flavors also usually contain petroleum-based solvent and pesticide residues. Learn more about the ingredients in McNuggets in my blog, “25 Ingredients in McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.”

I’m all for removing high fructose corn syrup and ALL preservatives from all food. After all, HFCS has been linked a wide variety of serious health concerns, including diabetes, fatty liver disease, reproductive disorders, cancer, obesity, cellular energy depletion (adequate cellular energy is essential to all bodily functions), chronic inflammation, learning impairment and high blood pressure and heart disease. Check out my blog “9 Reasons to Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup” for more information.

You may recall from my earlier blog about their burgers that McDonald’s buns aren’t exactly impressive either. On their own, the buns contain a whopping 27 ingredients:

  • 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.

It may sound like a move in the right direction that McDonald’s announced its plans to sell buns without high-fructose corn syrup and McNuggets without artificial preservatives. But after reading “quality food” so many times on McDonald’s own website I’m feeling a little nauseated at the spin-job that the company seems to be selling customers. Sorry, MickeyDs, you’ll need to remove a lot more than HFCS and a few preservatives, as well as add some real, wholesome food before I’ll ever come back as a customer. While investors may be excited about the positive press, I’m still NOT “Lovin’ It.”

Related:

A Guide to Cutting Sugar Out of Your Diet
The Spice that Kills Breast Cancer Stem Cells
The Beverage that Cuts Your Colorectal Cancer Risk by 50%

 

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Burn Fat Fast!

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