Archive for the tag - mcdonalds

What’s Really In Your Food: 101 Ingredients in McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish.

20081210-filetofish-sandwichThe fast food industry is a very interesting place. Though many chains are working to improve the nutritional content and ingredients of their offerings, we have a very long way to go.

Case in point, my previous blog post about the nearly 20 ingredients in Subway’s chicken breast. No, not 20 ingredients in the entire sandwich. That’s 20 ingredients in just the chicken breast.

Today we examine another popular food item: McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish. With a piece of fried fish between two slices of bread, topped with cheese and some sauce, how bad could it be?

Pretty bad.

In fact, the entire sandwich has 101 ingredients. I don’t have that many ingredients in my entire kitchen.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 1.56.16 PMSome of the less appetizing ingredients include cellulose gum (which isn’t harmful, but can’t be digested by humans), Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (also called TBHQ, which the FDA limits to 1 gram per 5,000 grams in cooking), azodicarbonamide (the so-called yoga mat compound that the Environmental Working Group recommends removing from the food supply) and more than a teaspoon of sugar.

A few things to note. First, I don’t think anyone is under the assumption that a McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich is healthy. Second, just because the sandwich contains some pretty bizarre ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean that the level of those ingredients are toxicologically significant.

Still, there’s something to be said for eating simple foods with recognizable ingredients. It’s about making our food more like actual food. And even if a little bit of TBHQ isn’t going to poison us, it’s about honoring your body with food that it actually deserves. And in that regard, a 101 ingredient Filet-o-Fish sandwich is a fish out of water.

What’s Really In Chicken Nuggets?

Hey Davey,

I’m actually a bit afraid to ask… but what’s really in a chicken nugget? I’m afraid to ask because I really like them, but maybe it’s time for me to learn the truth.

From,
Ben

6a00d834520b4b69e20147e203ea64970bHey Ben,

While it sometimes seems better not knowing what’s in the food we eat, ignorance isn’t bliss. Once we know the truth, we can make smarter and better informed decisions about our consumption habits.

As it turns out, the University of Mississippi Medical Center did a study on fast food chicken nuggets to find out what’s really inside. By essentially performing a chicken nugget autopsy on two different brands, researchers discovered that less than half of a chicken nugget is actually meat. The remainder being a mixture of fat, connective tissue, skin, blood vessels and even bone. In fact, one of the chicken nuggets was 40% skeletal muscle.

While it’s all technically edible, it’s still pretty gross – and it’s not a healthy food choice.

According to one researcher:

Some companies have chosen to use an artificial mixture of chicken parts rather than low-fat chicken white meat, batter it up and fry it, and still call it chicken. It is really a chicken by-product high in calories, salt, sugar and fat that is a very unhealthy choice.

But wait, there’s more.

McDonald’s, in particular, has stirred up controversy for including Tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) as one of their chicken McNugget ingredients. Although TBHQ is found in some other foods like Girl Scout Cookies and Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, it’s also petroleum-based and a lot like lighter fluid. The FDA limits its use to 1 gram per 5,000 grams in cooking.

For a full list of ingredients in your favorite brand of chicken nuggets, I recommend a quick Google search. Each company has the full ingredients listed on their website. While you may not recognize many of the ingredients by name, you’ll quickly realize that most chicken nuggets have a lot more in them than just chicken.

Love,
Davey

27 Fast Food Items with 1,000 Calories or More.

War-on-fast-food-006The thing about calories is that they tend to add up.

We know that a calorie deficit is required for losing weight – which means that you take in fewer calories than you burn. For those of us looking to maintain our current weight, we need to be in a calorie neutral state where we’re consuming the same number of calories that we burn.

Regardless, counting calories means being very mindful of the foods we consume and avoiding the calorie bombs on many fast food menus. Case in point, the below infographic shows 27 different fast food items with more than 1,000 calories – including a nearly 10,000 calorie burger and a 2,140 calorie order of cheese fries.

Are any of your favorites on this list? Any surprises?

Fast-Food-Items-with-1000-Calories-and-More

Does Fast Food Make You Fat? [Study]

ronaldfcdonaldsmallA few weeks ago, I posted about Subway – and how their menu is deceptively unhealthy. Today, I’m kicking up the rhetoric by sharing a fast food study that was published by the science journal The Lancet.

Following 3,000 young adults for a period of 15 years, researchers found that those participants who ate fast food more than twice per week gained an extra 10 pounds of body weight and were twice as likely to be insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is a risk factor for Type II diabetes. In other words, there’s a strong correlation between fast food and both obesity and diabetes.

Of course, this isn’t to say that you can’t make sensible selections at fast food restaurants. Indeed, McDonald’s has apples on the menu. But this is to say that most of the people who eat fast food aren’t opting for apples – and that healthy selections are difficult to find or far and few between.

I don’t share this study because I’m against fast food. I’m not. I share this study because I’m for nourishing food – and most fast food isn’t that. If your health is a priority (and I hope it is – after all, we only get one body), then focus on eating well instead of eating fast.

Eat well. Feel well. Be well.

Is Subway Really Healthy?

webmd_rf_photo_of_subway_meatball_subThere are more subway restaurants around the world than McDonalds (37,000+ and counting!) – and the chain has done a great job of positioning their menu as the healthy alternative to fast food. With a slogan of “eat fresh” and advertising campaigns built around losing weight and eating smarter (remember Jared?), it begs the question: Is Subway really that healthy?

I once heard someone compare eating at Subway versus McDonalds to jumping off the 30th floor instead of the 40th. It’s an apt analogy. Either way, the outcome is still going to be the same. In this instance, a larger waistline is the likely result.

Of course, some Subway sandwiches are healthy. For instance, I’ve opted for a six inch Veggie Sandwich on whole wheat topped with grilled chicken and no condiments. It’s low in unhealthy fats, high in good carbs and protein and loaded up with essential nutrients.

But then there are sandwiches like the foot long Big Philly Cheese Steak, Chicken and Bacon Ranch, Meatball Marinara or Tuna Sandwich – all of which clock in with nearly a thousand calories. It’s also worth distinguishing between low fat and healthy. With a respectable 9 grams of fat, Subway’s Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich is positioned as low fat. But it still has a whooping 760 calories. And then there’s all the sodium found in deli meats.

For anyone trying to eat smarter, these sandwiches can do some real damage.

If you do want to eat at Subway, be mindful of portions, calories, sodium and fat. Steer clear of cheese, mayo, creamy dressings or any other unhealthy toppings. Order your sandwich on whole wheat bread and go for six inches rather than the foot long.

The bottom line: Regardless of the restaurant, the lesson here is to look past the marketing hype. Just because a food is positioned, advertised or labeled with alleged health benefits doesn’t make it a smart choice.