Most of us are guilty of grabbing a quick meal at McDonald’s and then not feeling great about it after. Most of us know that McDonald’s isn’t exactly the healthiest meal option, but we may not know why!
Yes, obesity is a major problem when eating excessive amounts of junk food. However, there are many secret ingredients found in these meals which would ruin our appetites if we knew about them, and some of them could affect our health as well!
Let’s go behind the scenes, into the world of McDonald’s hidden ingredients, and discover why we should stop eating it once and for all!
Potentially Dangerous: Ammonium Chloride
Ammonium Chloride is used as a leavening agent, “dough strengthener”, and processing aid. (1) You can find it in McDonald’s burger buns. While the FDA has approved the chemical for use in food processing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ammonium chloride is listed as an occupational hazard, causing nausea, sore throat, and vomiting if ingested. (2)
Gross: Silicone Oil
Silicone oil is used in eye surgery and the production of contact lenses. (3) Unfortunately for us, this ingredient can be found in McDonald’s chicken nuggets! You’ll find it listed under the name “dimethylpolysiloxane”. Silicone oil is an ingredient that’s used as a lubricant or coating in devices such as syringes, needles, and pharmaceutical containers.
I mean, let’s be honest, we can’t exactly decipher what’s in a McDonald’s chicken nugget just by looking at them, but we certainly did not expect silicone oil!
TBHQ is an additive used to preserve food for long periods of time. If you are glancing at the ingredient list on packaging and stumble across TBHQ, then it might be wise to put that product down!
It tends to be found in any product that uses fats and oils, but it is not limited to food commodities. You may also find this ingredient in varnishes, paints and skincare products.
Immediate exposure to TBHQ can cause dry skin, erythema, burning and hypersensitivity reactions. It can also cause; ‘nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, delirium, tinnitus, green or brownish urine, elevated liver enzymes, muscle twitching, and dyspnea’. (4)
TBHQ doesn’t sound too tasty to me!
Dangerous: Propylene Glycol
Propylene Glycol (PG) is technically an alcohol produced from the fermentation of yeast. Industrial grade PG is used as an active ingredient in engine coolants and antifreeze. How on earth can it be edible?
The FDA has submitted a statement saying that propylene glycol is ‘safe for human consumption’. (6) This means anything below 25 mg of propylene glycol for every kilogram of weight is safe for the human body.
This is a worrying take on propylene glycol because it is found in a lot of our fast food products, including McDonald’s!
Dangerous: Carminic Acid
If creepy-crawlies associated with food don’t freak you out, they definitely will now!
Carminic acid is produced by insects to repel predators. A red dye is created out of the insect’s bodies (including its carminic acid) to add color to a variety of products, such as food, pharmaceuticals, and toiletries.
It can be the cause of extreme eye and skin irritation, as well as causing respiratory tract or digestive problems. (7) Eating a McDonald’s meal doesn’t seem worth the health risks that carminic acid holds!
Dangerous: Prescription Medications
Shockingly, prescription drugs can be traced to McDonald’s chicken products! This is due to the feed the poultry is receiving. An extensive study was conducted that shows evidence of banned antibiotics in poultry products. (8)
With this birds-eye view into the world of our fast food chicken, it doesn’t sound appetizing at all. If we end up eating banned drugs and antidepressants ourselves, imagine what the poor chickens feel like!
Dimethylpolysiloxane is a substance commonly found in “cosmetic and hygiene products like nail polish, conditioners, make-up, contact lens solutions, sunscreens, deodorants, and shampoo.” (9) Although this substance won’t harm you, it does contain one scary product which is a known human carcinogen: formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde is used to make building materials for walls, cabinets, and furniture. (10) It’s not only a human carcinogen but has a ton of bad side effects you can find here!
With so many potentially toxic and harmful substances traced in McDonald’s food, it would be a smart idea to avoid eating there altogether! Instead, try making our healthy burgers from the comfort of your home. They’re delicious, fresh and free of toxins. Find the recipe here!
(1) CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21: Ammonium Chloride. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=184.1138
(2) Public Health Statement: Ammonia. (2004). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. doi:10.1016/s0033-3506(42)80146-8
(3) Barca, F., Caporossi, T., & Rizzo, S. (2014, June 11). Silicone Oil: Different Physical Proprieties and Clinical Applications. Retrieved from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/502143/
(4) T-BUTYLHYDROQUINONE (TBHQ). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs%2Bhsdb%3A%40term%2B%40DOCNO%2B838
(5) Propylene Glycol: The Good, the Bad and the Alternatives
(6) Toxic Substances Portal – Propylene Glycol. (2015, January 21). Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=1120&tid=240
(7) CARMINIC ACID. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/14749#section=Reactive-Group
(8) Researchers Find Evidence of Banned Antibiotics in Poultry Products http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2012/feather-meal-clf.html Published: April 5, 2012. Accessed: November 25, 2016.
(9) Frank, J., & Bloomberg School of Public Health, J. H. (2015, June 23). Evidence of Banned Antibiotics in Poultry Products. Retrieved from http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2012/feather-meal-clf.html
(10) Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/formaldehyde/formaldehyde-fact-sheet
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