My Mate McDonald’s

I work as a sales rep out on the road so I’ve become very acquainted with my “mate” McDonald’s over the years.

Whether it be for a cup of coffee or for lunch, over the past 70 days alone I have spent $213.65 over 21 different transactions. I purchased something unhealthy from this restaurant chain once every three days.

Yep, and I wonder why I’m unhealthy?

My favourite thing from McDonald’s is a large big mac meal. This is what I purchase most frequently. I have quite an affinity to this product and have been consuming it since a very young age, however, I never really knew what I was putting into my body. McDonalds do provide calorie information about their food but the funny thing is, I’ve never read it. I never really cared. I never gave a shit.

Now I’ve actually read the diet information for this meal and this is what I found;

Nutritional information for a Large Big Mac meal

1,350 calories. 1350 CALORIES! The average daily intake for an adult male is 2500 calories in a day. That means more than 50% of my daily intake is through this one meal THAT I NEVER FEEL FULL FROM! (source: MyFitnessPal.com)

What does 1,350 calories look like? Well. There are 52 calories in an apple (per 100g). I would have to eat almost 26 apples to hit the same calorie intake as a Large Big Mac meal. I would need to eat 15 bananas or 29 oranges. These figures are insane.

I never actually realised how unhealthy this junk is and better yet — Have a look at the % of Vitamin A, C, Calcium and Iron — 0%! This means there is no nutritional value in a big mac meal at all! Instead you are ingesting 54g of total fat, 95g of sugar and 1,410mg of sodium. Looks like an easy train for a heart attack if you ask me.

I did actually check a few different websites and the calories vary from website to website but it’s the same story: Over 50% of your daily intake is reached by consuming this one meal.

Okay, let’s check out all of the shit that is in just the big mac special sauce;

BIG MAC SAUCE:

Soybean Oil (Antioxidant (330)), Water, Relish [ Pickles, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Thickener (415), Preservative (202), Spice Extract, Emulsifier (433)], Mustard [Water, Vinegar, Mustard Seed, Salt, Sugar, Colours (100, 150d), Spice], Salted Egg Yolks, Distilled Vinegar, Onion, Thickeners (1442, 415, 405), Spices, Sugar, Salt, Hydrolysed Protein (Corn, Gluten, Wheat, Soy), Colours (160c, 150d, 100), Preservative (211), Emulsifier (433), Garlic, Antioxidant (385). (Source: Mcdonalds.com.au)

All those lovely colours, thickeners and preservatives, YUMMMMM! Even the damn pickles have preservatives on/in them (PICKLES: Cucumber, Water, Vinegar, Salt, Preservatives (202, 211), Flavour). The buns are also another source of preservative/emulsifier goodness.

So, let’s have a look at some of these thickeners and other things that they are putting into what I’ve so naively and happily gobbled up.

Let’s start with Thickener 415. This thickener is Xanthan gum. A powerful thickening agent, and also has uses as a stabliser to prevent ingredients from separating.

“It can be produced from a range of simple sugars using a fermentation process, and derives its name from the strain of bacteria used in this: Xanthomonas campestris.”

Sounds promising. This stuff is also used in toothpaste, salad dressing, ice cream and used in industry to thicken drilling mud. Although it is rare for this stuff to make you sick, it is a “highly effective laxative” as it binds water very efficiently to significantly aid you in taking a shit.

However, it has been known to cause intestinal bloating, diarrhea and xanthan gum dust has been linked to causing respiratory system issues among workers handling the product. There is also a concern that the product may cause premature infants to suffer nectrotizing enterocolitis which is basically portions of the bowel tissue dying. Lovely.

Preservative 202

This preservative is a potassium sorbate, a white salt very soluble in water. This is a derivative of sorbic acid and is synthetically manufactured. It is used in a very wide variety of applications as it inhibits mold and yeast.

Whilst this preservative isn’t inherently dangerous it is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant… But what salt isn’t? I’m more amused by the fact that it is synthetically manufactured.

Emulsifier 433 AKA Polysorbate 80

This is an interesting one.

Used in some influenza vaccines, soaps, eye drops and used to make ice cream smoother and easier to handle. It has not found to be carcinogenic but is considered an irritant and potentially harmful to people with Crohn’s Disease.

This stuff “ induced low-grade inflammation and obesity/metabolic syndrome in wild-type hosts and promoted robust colitis in mice predisposed to this disorder. Use of germ-free mice and fecal transplants indicated that such changes in microbiota were necessary and sufficient for both low-grade inflammation and metabolic syndrome.”

And the list goes on but you get my point. These are just some of the preservatives and thickeners found in the sauce alone. This is definitely not to be considered “fresh food” nor is it conducive to any healthy diet.

Now I actually know what it is I’ve been consuming it is time to make a decision. I will no longer consume McDonald’s products as regularly as I have been. It will be one of my first of many steps to control my weight and my overall health. If I limit my McDonalds consumption to just once a month I feel this will benefit my health immensely.

This is just a quick look into only one of many fast food menu items and fast food chains and frankly, what I have found does concern me quite a lot. All of these products are literally just a science experiment. Different chemicals and ingredients added, most of which isn’t going to give you any health benefit whatsoever. These products are to be consumed rarely or not at all.

I will 100% rethink the decisions I make when pulling up to a drive through window at any fast food outlet. Maybe, I’ll just order a water next time.

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