What’s in your Happy Meal?

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McDonald’s Scrambled Eggs

Foodfacts.com takes a deeper look into the ingredients in some of McDonald’s most popular foods!McDonald’s scrambled eggs are not just made with whole eggs; they are also filled with preservatives, hydrogenated oils, food coloring, and other additives. In fact, there are approximately 20 different ingredients in the 3.3oz serving that McDonald’s provides each morning to millions of consumers that may possibly believe they are receiving a well-balanced meal.

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One of the first ingredients listed on the nutrition label is sodium acid pyrophosphate. This food additive helps scrambled eggs maintain their “appealing” yellow color. What some may not know is that this product is also used in petroleum production. The chemicals in this compound help to prevent clumping in oil-well drilling mud. Still think that’s appetizing?

Some other ingredients listed in this product are sodium benzoate, and beta carotene colors. This is quite controversial considering that some studies recently done by the Food Standards Agency, have shown that sodium benzoate in the presence of food coloring may cause hyperactive behavior in children. Although this study is still being investigated, it is good information to know for the next time you bring your kids to the McDonald’s drive-thru window.

Aside from all the food additives and preservatives, these scrambled eggs also have 4g of saturated fat, and 520mg of cholesterol. These numbers represent 20% of the daily value for saturated fats and 173% of daily value for cholesterol, just in this one serving alone. Sounds like it may be healthier just to prepare your eggs at home.

McDonald’s Big Mac

McDonald’s Big Mac is 3 buns, 2 beef patties, and 100 other ingredients. This sandwich lists high fructose corn syrup, ammonium chloride, propylene glycol alginate, sodium benzoate, and calcium disodium, just to name a few.

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What sticks out most in the above list is probably ammonium chloride. You may have heard of this ingredient because it is very commonly used in shampoos as a thickening agent, cleaning products, various glues, fertilizers, textiles and leather, and even fireworks and explosives. In the Big Mac and many other foods, ammonium chloride is used as a food additive. This inorganic compound helps maintain color in food products, changes the texture of foods, and sometimes adds a “spicy” flavor. Would you want the same ingredients listed on your cleaning products also listed on the foods you eat?

A possible positive for this sandwich, there is a lot of protein, about 25 grams. Also, because of the 2 beef patties, the Big Mac also provides 25% of your daily value for iron. However, you also get 1,040mg sodium, 29g total fat, 10g saturated fat, and 75mg cholesterol. This sandwich is also 540 calories, 260 of these calories are just from fat alone.

McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap

A few years ago, McDonald’s introduced snack wraps to their long-chain of restaurants. These snack wraps are considered the “healthy” quick items to grab during the day that can help hold you over until dinner time.

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This Grilled Chicken Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap from McDonald’s is about half the size of the quintessential Big Mac, but lists more ingredients. Due to the fact these snack wraps are marketed to be the healthy options, one would think it would have fewer, and simpler ingredients. However, one of the ingredients that stick out most is sodium metabisulfite. This substance is commonly used as a disinfectant in home brewing and winemaking to sterilize process equipment. In this snack wrap, it is a food additive that helps to preserve the product over a period of time.

Sodium metabisulfite has also been shown to cause allergic reaction within the respiratory system to those who are sensitive to sulfites. The acceptable daily intake is about 0.7mg per kg of body weight. However, the amount is not specified in this product, so those who are sensitive to sulfites may want to be extra careful.

McDonald’s Large French Fries

McDonald’s french fries are a staple at the thousands of restaurants. Commonly, most people visit the drive-thru just to order a side of fries. Although they may taste good, and be somewhat fulfilling for many consumers, the list of ingredients is a turn-off for some.

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For those that may not be as familiar with the chemistry behind hydrogenated fats, it is basically a process to convert monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to the less-healthy saturated fats. This is done because changing the level of saturation, also changes a products physical properties. The more saturated the product, the better it bakes or cooks.

These McDonald’s French fries include hydrogenated oils so that the product maintains its form during the frying process. However, this process increases the amount of total fat and saturated fat in the product. These French fries contain about 18% of the daily value for saturated fat, and 38% of the daily value for total fat, which are pretty high numbers.

Another ingredient in this product is dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent. McDonald’s reported that this compound is used in a matter of safety, to prevent the oil on both the fries and chicken nuggets from foaming. This chemical is a type of silicone-polymer that is commonly used in hair shampoos, lubricating oils, contact lenses, medical devices, and so on. If more people knew about this ingredient, would it still be such a huge seller?

McDonald’s M&M McFlurry

The McDonald’s McFlurry came into production around the late 90’s. This was an instant hit with consumers because it beat the ordinary vanilla soft-serve they had originally offered. Snickers, M&Ms, Oreo, and other flavors have been featured in McFlurry items to increase sales of these popular desserts. Not only are there candies and cookies, but also a long list of ingredients that some may consider controversial. Among these ingredients are 10 different food colorings, and also carrageenan.

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Food colorings have been reported to increase hyperactive behavior in children diagnosed with ADHD. Although clinical studies have shown mixed results in this matter, many parents believe that food colorings eliminated from the diet improve their children’s behavior. The McFlurry is equipped with Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6, and Blue 2.

Carrageenan has raised eyebrows in recent years because many people believe it causes certain health implications. Results from studies have shown that rats, monkeys, and guinea pigs consuming a certain amount of carrageenan may not only obtain ulcerations in the GI tract, but also GI cancer. Current studies are also examining the relationship between carrageenan consumption and inflammatory bowel disease and also Crohn’s Disease.

(FoodFacts.com)

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