McDonalds to Remove Artificial Additives from Some Foods

In an effort to improve its public image or public demand for healthier food choices, McDonald’s has announced that it will remove the colors, flavors, preservatives like calcium propionate and sodium benzoate from their burgers, namely Big Macs, Quarter Pounders and burgers in Happy Meals. According to the company, it is also removing all of these artificial ingredients from its burgers, cheese and sauce. That’s a victory for everyone!

When you consider that up until today a typical McDonald’s burger bun (not accounting for the burger, cheese-like product, pickles or condiments) contained: 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 and silicon dioxide. Whew, that’s a mouthful in itself! McDonald’s could have removed these ingredients just to make it cheaper to print their nutritional information on a smaller brochure.

Needless to say, it was long overdue for McDonald’s to get on board with fewer additives in their food. If you’ve been reading my blogs for the last several years, you may recall my article about the Disgusting Ingredients in McDonald’s Burgers. I’ve been a long-time food advocate, trying to help consumers make informed choices and encouraging corporations to consider the health of their consumers—the precise people who keep them profitable.

But, before you run down to McDonald’s under the false notion that the company’s foods are now healthy, you might want to think again. While this latest move is in the right direction, few of McDonald’s food options could be considered healthy. Here are just a few of the reasons:

First, McDonald’s has a lengthy list of other foods that may still include artificial ingredients. The company had already announced its plan to eliminate high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from its buns and preservatives from its McNuggets back in August 2016. Again, it’s a move in the right direction considering HFCSs have been linked a wide variety of serious health concerns, including: diabetes, fatty liver disease, reproductive disorderscancer,  obesity, cellular energy depletion (adequate cellular energy is essential to all bodily functions), chronic inflammation, learning impairment and high blood pressure and heart disease.

Additionally, there are issues with so-called natural ingredients as well. Many ingredients may still be genetically-modified (GMO) which is highly likely given the use of yellow corn flour and modified corn starch in many of their food items. The company typically cooks their food in canola, corn and soybean oil, all of which are typically genetically modified.

Companies are still allowed to include many less than desirable ingredients in their food under the guise of “natural flavors.” Monosodium glutamate, which is linked to a host of health problems ranging from headaches to neurological issues is still considered a “natural flavor.” And, it may be shocking to learn that dried beaver’s sac, sheepskin excretions or insect excretions also fall under the auspices of “natural” ingredients. Without a laboratory analysis, it’s not clear whether you’ll find residues of any of these ingredients in your meal at McDs but it still bears mentioning.

Then there’s the issue of excessive amounts of salt in McDonald’s food. A Big Mac contains nearly 1000 milligrams of salt, which is close to half of a total day’s maximum amount recommended by nutrition experts (2300 milligrams). And, items that appear healthier at first glance, such as the McWrap Chicken and Ranch (crispy or grilled) contains a whopping 1340 mg of sodium—almost as much as a Quarter Pounder with bacon and cheese which has 1380 mg. Excessive sodium consumption has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack  and other health issues. According to a study published in Nature Neuroscience it is also linked to brain damage. So, McDonald’s still has some serious work to do before they start celebrating these small moves in the direction of healthier food.

According to a news source, McDonald’s also plans to be “sustainably sourcing all McCafe coffee by 2020” and “transitioning to cage-free eggs in the US and Canada by 2025.” If the company delivers on these plans then they too will be moving in the right direction. But, I’m ready to see a lot more real food like fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes and non-GMO ingredients, in McDonald’s menu items. Then, maybe I’ll actually be happy about kids eating Happy Meals, but for now I’m still NOT Lovin’ It.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, & Cooking.  Follow her work.

 

47 comments

Lesa D
Lesa D6 days ago

just from 'some foods'???

thank you Michelle...

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Elizabeth M
Biz AWAY M10 days ago

many thanks.

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Renata B
Renata B10 days ago

It remains sh*t.

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Mike R
Mike R10 days ago

I still won't eat there. Thanks

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Glennis W
Glennis W11 days ago

Very infotmative harly ever eat it Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W11 days ago

Great information and advice Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W11 days ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W11 days ago

Should be removed from all their[ foods Thank you for caring and sharing

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Elisabeth T
Elisabeth T11 days ago

Too bad it's taken so long, thanks for the information

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Amanda M
Amanda M11 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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