Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What’s in Fast Food? What’s in the Non-Chicken Half of the McNugget


Do you put dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent made of silicone, in your chicken dishes? How about tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a chemical preservative so deadly just five grams can kill you?
These are just two of the ingredients in a McDonald’s Chicken McNugget. Only 50 percent of a McNugget is actually chicken. The other half includes corn derivatives, sugars, leavening agents and completely synthetic ingredients.
There’s no doubt processed food like that from McDonald’s is not part of a healthful diet, and I’m grateful I’ve never had a chicken McNugget. But many Americans cannot say the same.
This sentiment was echoed by Federal Judge Robert Sweet in a lawsuit against the restaurant chain in 2003: “Chicken McNuggets, rather than being merely chicken fried in a pan, are a McFrankenstein creation of various elements not utilized by the home cook.”
Time Magazine reported that Judge Sweet “questioned whether customers understood the risks of eating McDonald’s chicken over regular chicken.”
Seven years later, I still wonder whether McDonald’s customers truly understand the risks of consuming fast food on a regular basis.
If you missed Morgan Spurlock’s documentary “Super-Size Me,” I highly recommend you watch this real-life illustration of just how dangerous an excessive fast food diet can be. And excessive 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 only once a week. (Insulin resistance one of the primary driving factors behind most Western diseases, from diabetes to cancer to 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? 

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