What was more natural some time ago than, on coming back home, sit down at the dinner prepared in the microwave from processed food in fifteen minutes? Or, the whole family used to chomp it down in the sitting room watching TV. Now it seems that these habits are going, different eating habits are stepping in. People begin to get more interested in the food they eat – and what ingredients it is made from.
It also goes for dining out, and restaurants alter their menus to include dishes with natural ingredients. Now instead of stuffing yourself and allaying hunger at your favorite eatery you can have new experience eating. Dishes and offers are apt to be scrutinized for the quality of food, and while restaurants are more equipped to cope with the new approach, fast food outlets are hit much harder.
The situation is fast becoming a concern for the most patronized fast food chain worldwide, McDonald’s. There are few spots on the Earth where you aren’t able to feast on a Big Mac, Cola and fries. It looks like a veritable conquest, McDonald’s having introduced itself to different cultures with overwhelming success. But now that people begin to read menus with a changed perception of what constitutes a good meal, the famous chain can start to lose ground.
McDonald’s always tried hard to attract a new clientele and keep the old one by refreshing their menus and tricks like giving children toys with their Happy Meals. Recently they have to compete fiercely with food chains like Panera Bread that offer natural foods. Here are 15 why’s revealing reasons to pass McDonald’s by – because you know what you have been digesting for years and years.
Meat-containing French fries
With so many vegetarians and vegans around McDonald’s rather stuck its neck out cooking French fries in beef fat. The company attempted to come to terms with the strong vegetarian movement back in 1990, announcing that they would be using only vegetable oil for frying. The restaurants introduced the promised changes and switched to preparing French fries in vegetable oil, but the product is sent to restaurants partly fried already, and it is still done in beef fat. As the information leaked out, McDonald’s had to mitigate the negativity caused by the discovery by posting an online statement where they offered an apology for possibly causing confusion and admitting that French fries do contain beef flavoring which is added when potato is processed. Accentuating that McDonald’s policy has always included communicating with customers, the company voiced its regret that in this case the information proved incomplete.
Buns are not quite bread
The fast food chain goes a long way to make food more lasting, undoubtedly too long a way for many people’s liking. When you go to the grocery and get a loaf of bread you know that you’ll have to eat it within a period of time or it will go mold on you. It’s not the way with McDonald’s buns that can remain for months on end without growing moldy. It means that the buns contain a lot of chemistry that could make a scientific article, not a recipe for bread. There is an ingredient that contains calcium sulfate which is sold at stores as plaster of Paris. It can cause digestive problems. Another ingredient, ammonium sulfate, when swallowed, causes diarrhea and nausea. Burgers at McDonald’s coming too many and too often may result in your wanting to use the bathroom more frequently than you used to before.
Taking too much money for unhealthy meals
We all know that eating healthy can be more expensive than purchasing processed foods in the store where they come cheaper. You go and get a pack of noodle soup priced 25 cents and you save money that could go to pay for organic vegetables that just came from a farm. True enough, but it works the other way round when you buy a meal at a fast food outlet. As you take your family of four to McDonald’s to treat yourselves to a common kind of snack with nothing special thrown in, be ready to fork out about $30. Now if you go to spend that money at a grocery store, you can buy a lot of healthy food that can last you through the day – while an unhealthy meal at McDonald’s will have you wanting more in a relatively short time.
The pork sandwich dubbed McRib is offered as a seasonal treat which customers are expected to anticipate and savor. But the big question is what the rib is really made from. Looking more closely you notice that the patty is shaped quite like a baby-back rib; but you won’t find any rib bones in it! The fact is, the meat patty is no rib meat at all, but pork that is restructured from the cheapest parts of pigs like innards. It is further treated with azodicarbonamide, a very useful chemical for manufacturing gym shoes and yoga mats. That’s your McRib broken down, and though some people can feel pleasantly nostalgic when they think of the pork sandwich at a McDonald’s resaurant, for others the main point is what it is that they put inside themselves.
Gaining weight in earnest
Nowadays we know quite well that we won’t be eating healthily at McDonald’s, but as for the exact meaning behind these words, it is often lost on the general public. A documentary called Super Size Me released in the year 2004 was aimed at proper understanding of what unhealthy eating really means. Morgan Spurlock sustained himself on McDonald’s food solely for a whole month documenting the bodily alterations it caused during the month and afterwards. The researcher ended up gaining a stunning 25 pounds showcasing the inner and outer impact of taking in so much fast food in a short timespan. Such an increase of weight takes a heavy toll on the body which is not meant to put on that amount of extra pounds so quickly. Apart from the way the body looks after the experience, insidious inner processes are initiated: the cholesterol level goes up dramatically, the liver accumulates excessive fat and becomes vulnerable. It can even lead to heart attacks. Of course hardly anybody would want to eat their every meal at McDonald’s the way Spurlock did, but it gives you food for thought about stopping by McDonald’s any time when you’re in town and feeling hungry.
Inveigling children into bad eating habits
A 2005 report in The New England Journal of Medicine predicts that the current younger generation of the United States may have a shorter life expectancy compared to their parents. That comes as a surprise because it was proved before that our children were actually going to live longer. But the new report states that the problem of childhood obesity has strongly and adversely impacted life expectancy. Since childhood obesity became epidemic in the country it has led to development of numerous diseases and health complications ranging from Type 2 diabetes to cancer. All these issues arise because of unhealthy food we give to our children, and all this time McDonald’s makes a point of drawing children in and making loyal customers of them. They give toys with Happy Meals, offer Playhouses and issue a special kind of advertisements to sell their fatty foods to our upcoming generation.
The way they raise meat for their burgers
As the popularity of organic food is growing and human attitude to animals is becoming a momentous issue for the meat industry, the meat that goes for preparing McDonald’s famous burgers causes acute interest. The company has attempted to introduce some changes lately, but they need much more of it to make their burgers healthy. They practice CAFOs, or confined animal feeding operations, to bring meat to their restaurants. Now, confined animals live in unhygienic conditions and are fed with antibiotics and hormones that are supposed to make them produce more meat which would be disease-resistant. People who eat this meat are sure to intake these with their burgers. Extra bacteria can even cause death induced by an excessive amount of bacteria in the body. While the prevalent idea is that grass-fed beef has much better taste, McDonald’s continues to rely on CAFOs with their negative effects.
Phosphates in plenty
McDonald’s menus contain many items that have ingredients with high content of phosphates. The body does need to have some phosphates, but not in the amount that you receive with McDonald’s food. So much of them added to food when it is being processed inflict damage to the body. The aggravated risks involve higher rates of heart and kidney diseases – what’s more, excess of phosphates can affect many parts of the body. Studies conducted on people suffering from renal diseases show that too many phosphates can increase death risks for some patients. So when you get down to reading the list of the ingredients of a dish you don’t want to see words that don’t usually belong with food, like phosphates; reading about cabbage and tomatoes and grass-fed beef is much nicer. At McDonald’s, however, you can come across many words that invite suspicion.
French fries contain sugar
When you order French fries at McDonald’s you hardly expect them to be the healthiest part of your meal, but reading up their ingredients you begin to understand fully why it is so. Among other things, you will find dextrose in fries, and that means they are actually sugary. It’s not a common occurrence that fried food has such a lot of sugar in it – even though French fries don’t have a sweet taste! But the flavor is of minor importance compared to the effect dextrose produces on the sugar level in the blood. People suffering from diabetes can get their blood sugar spiking and their pancreas significantly aggravated. People who have no diabetes begin to feel as if their sugar level in the blood dropped. They can develop symptoms like trembling and perspiring, feeling tired and having a headache. Moreover, the change in your sugar level will make you feel as if you were still hungry in spite of all the French fries you ate.
French fries that never age
So many dishes that we eat have been treated to prevent them from aging too soon. You can often be served with lettuce that is drizzled with sulfate preservatives in order to hold the ongoing browning in check. But what McDonald’s does to its French fries is way beyond compare. Of course they want your food to keep looking fresh and delicious for a long time, but just how long a time? Research done a few years ago produced stunning results. A portion of French fries from McDonald’s and KFC were left to decompose for a long period of time – and the difference turned out to be tremendous, with McDonald’s French fries retaining their fresh looks almost as if they were served today. It couldn’t happen without a heavy addition of preservatives that make them practically indestructible – not the most winsome quality for French fries you would like to eat for lunch.
Buns made with corn syrup
There was a 2015’s Infographic that showcased the adverse influence on the body caused by the Big Mac, the famous product by McDonald’s. If you started to suspect the meat patty part, you are quite right, but McDonald’s buns come a close second. Considering how much fructose corn syrup and sodium they contain, it’s the buns of the famous burger that make you want more of the same half an hour after the burger has been devoured. Having imbibed almost 1000 milligrams of sodium and a lot of salt, the body feels dehydrated and hungry. The glucose level falls due to insulin response of the blood sugar going out of control, and you want more food. Since you eat with a view of satiating your hunger, you don’t reach your goal if you eat at McDonald’s. On the other hand, eating a lot of fatty food and keep wanting more is why you might want to stop by the nearest McDonald’s.
Mechanically prepared nuggets
One of the exponents of healthy eating habits in the U.K. is Jamie Oliver with his show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution by which he tries to raise awareness of what children eat at school lunches. Oliver adapted the show for the United States, and surprisingly the part about chicken nuggets failed to produce the desired result. What the famous cook did was demonstrate to some children how fast food chains prepare chicken nuggets by the process of mechanical separation. When all the meat got cleared off a chicken, Oliver put the bony carcass into a food processor, turning it into an unidentifiable gooey mass, then shaped it into a nugget and took it to the stove. The watchers in the U.K. were repelled by what they saw, but the American kids who were present at the experiment thought they looked like McDonald’s nuggets and ate them up with no apparent concern. McDonald’s denied their employment of the method for preparing nuggets, still they don’t look like chicken meat at all.
Unhygienic habits of employees
Once the health department has blacklisted a restaurant for unsanitary practices, local people are apt to take notice and shun it. A word that allegedly unhygienic cooking or serving is taking place in the venue can shake its reputation seriously – but somehow it doesn’t always go for fast food outlets. People assume that their large parent companies have been examined for sanitary procedures and adhere to the regulations. Sadly, that is far from the case. Dateline NBC conducted an investigation of a hundred venues belonging to McDonald’s and discovered 136 major transgressions of food industry guidelines. While visitors take it for granted that the management keeps an eye on what is going on, many practices hang on the attitude of individual employees who have too much on their hands and go without proper training. Now if you drive through McDonald’s you may not see enough to start to care, but if you step in you know the chain isn’t famous for its cleanliness. It’s a matter of minimal wages and too much work which is a bad sign for restaurants.
Trans fat gets burned very slowly
Every food and drink carries a nutritional tag where you can find information about the contents of saturated fat and trans fat. The very word fat has become somewhat scary for people about to take their meals, but fat is something the body needs to function. You get energy from the right kind of fat which is a macro-nutrient, and it helps dissolve the vitamins that get into your body. It is only when fat begins to accumulate that the body gains weight. Moreover, there is saturated fat which has natural animal sources, and trans fat which gets into food from oils during its processing, especially during partial hydrogenation. Practically all McDonald’s burgers contain an unhealthy amount of trans fat. For the Big Mac, for instance, the trans fat content runs to 1.5 grams. As a striking example of the negative impact of processed food on the health, you will need 50 days for your stomach to digest the fat from one Big Mac.
“Pink slime” for burgers
Jamie Oliver has done a lot to make people understand what exactly they get into their stomachs with his Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. He is invariably down on fast food chains like McDonald’s revealing their guilty cooking secrets – like in the case with so-called “pink slime”, the episode which swept over the United States. It dealt with leftover meat patty trimmings that are banned for human consumption in the U.K. because purging them of the bacteria is done chemically. McDonald’s use of this kind of meat was flakked in the wake of the show, and it is believed that the episode made McDonald’s management give up the practice, although their statement said that they had arrived at the decision to discontinue using meat trimmings before the exposure. We can grant them the truth of that, but what they changed was undoubtedly an unhealthy process, and it stands to reason to assume it is not the only one they employ.