People from all over the world have been enjoying McDonald’s fast food ever since they first opened in 1948. Numerous other fast food chains have opened since then but McDonald’s French fries have remained a fan favorite food.
Starting in October 2014, McDonald’s began a transparency campaign with the aim to create a more health- and consumer-conscious image of the company.
Their ingredient lists and processing techniques were made available on their website so that the public would be informed how their food is processed, cooked and served. McDonald’s even hired a former “Mythbuster”, Grant Imahara, to look into common consumer questions about different items on the fast-food chain’s menu as part of the campaign, “Our Food. Your Questions.
It would be logical to assume that there are three ingredients in McDonald’s French fries: potatoes, oil, and salt. It turns out that there are 19 ingredients! Unfortunately, the only ingredient in that list that’s not questionable is the potatoes.
Here are the other ingredients:
• Canola oil
• Soybean oil
• Hydrogenated soybean oil
• Natural beef flavor
• Hydrolyzed wheat
• Hydrolyzed milk
• Citric acid
• Sodium acid pyrophosphate
• Hydrogenated oil
• TBHQ (Tertiary butylhydroquinone)
Let us inspect the harmful effects of some of the ingredients.
Most canola oil is now genetically-modified.-Hydrogenated soybean oil—Like canola oil, most soybean oil is now extracted from genetically-modified soybeans. The hydrogenation process makes the oil more saturated than it would be in its natural form, and unhealthy. Regular consumption of hydrogenated oils has been shown to cause serious harm to people.
According to the researchers from the Harvard Schools of Public Health and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, at least 100,000 cardiac deaths in the USA could have been prevented if people had replaced trans fat with healthier, non-hydrogenated polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils.
A type of sugar. It causes fat storage, hypoglycemia, and hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia refers to spikes in blood sugar levels. It is especially dangerous for people with diabetes. When dextrose enters the body, a quick and significant spike in blood sugar levels takes place. When this happens, the pancreas overworks itself and the body doesn’t know how to respond to the insulin being released.
On the other hand, hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels, can affect people who do not have diabetes. The cells in our bodies understand that large quantities of insulin produced via hyperglycemia are detrimental to our tissues.
The cells start absorbing way too much of the blood sugar, which results in low blood sugar levels. This can lead to the following symptoms: rapid heartbeat, sudden mood changes, unexplained fatigue, headache, hunger, shaking, and sweating.
Sodium acid pyrophosphate
This ingredient is used to maintain the color of the fries. It is apparently the reason why each of the fries has the same perfect golden color. On the chemical industry’s own safety data sheets it is listed as hazardous for ingestion, which is what you’ll be doing if you eat those French fries.
Used as an anti-foaming agent, this industrial chemical is mostly used in aquarium tank sealants, hair conditioners, and silly putty. It comes with a list of safety concerns. It can even contain formaldehyde, a toxic chemical, which is linked to brain damage, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
TBHQ is a petroleum-based, butane-like ingredient, used to prevent oxidative deterioration of food. Its main purpose is to extend the storage life of a product. This explains why McDonald’s food products do not show signs of decomposing even after several years.
For example, Manhattan artist Sally Davies has photographed a McDonald’s Happy Meal every day for six months. And it looks almost as fresh as the day it was bought, with no trace of decay.
TBHQ is also used as a fixative to lower the evaporation rate and improve stability in perfumes. It is also used in biodiesel as a corrosion inhibitor.
It has been linked to asthma, skin conditions, hormone disruption, hyperactivity in children, rhinitis and in long-term animal studies to cancer and damage to DNA.
McDonald’s have made no indication of any plans on changing their ingredients yet.
Their slogan may still claim: “I’m lovin’t it!” We can just pose the question: Are you sure?