Google “fast food truths” and a slew of gruesome results offer a behind-the-scenes peek at the chemical-laden nasties that tantalize and entice your taste buds, all brilliantly disguised by grilled aromas and appetizing colors.

These results mean nothing to your 30-minutes-for-a-break rush, or your growling belly. You just want it fast, without knowing about all the additives and horrendous processing techniques. After all, people have been eating Chicken McNuggets and vat-deep-fried fries, and drinking strawberry shakes for years, right? Yet the amount of chemicals hidden in these foods is astounding, and here are a few of the highlights.

The Usual Suspects

  • Deep-fried fast foods. If you want a simple recipe of potatoes plus oil without chemicals, then you had best skip the drive-thru and take a few minutes to julienne those potatoes yourself. One common denominator in food research results is the chemical ingredient dimethylpolysiloxane: used for breast implants, silly putty and as an additive to prevent the oil from foaming in the deep fryer as it cooks your French fries, chicken nuggets, chicken breasts, and so on.  Here’s more information for you if you care to read on.
  • Strawberry milkshakes. Did you expect that real strawberries were coloring and flavoring your fast food shake? Eric Schlosser’s research quashed any hope for that when he penned “Fast Food Nation” and exposed a laundry list of chemical flavorings and colors used to create a simple strawberry shake. These included but are not limited to: amyl acetate, rum ether, solvent, butyric acid, ethyl acetate, and cognac essential oil.
  • Hamburgers. Did you know that you are risking contamination by eating just one hamburger? According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention food safety fact sheet, that one hamburger “may contain meat from hundreds of animals,” which means if one animal was infected with something nasty, the whole batch of food is infected.

More fast food horrors

Did you see the Facebook video circulating in newsfeeds showing a pinkish glob of bones and tissue being pumped through a processor to eventually become hot dogs, bologna, and even Chicken McNuggets? Long-time vegans and clean eaters discovered the grim horrors of what was really gracing the grocery store shelves long ago, and still the list of fast-food horrors seem to be never-ending. Yet rather than take the time to prepare our own food, we rush for the quick fix and turn a blind eye to everything except the good smell and taste of the food in front of us.

Chances are most of us would never tolerate any of these rumored fast food restaurant conditions in our own homes:

  • Mold in the ice dispenser
  • Fecal bacteria on drink fountain dispensers
  • Cooking grills with layers of caked-on fat and food particles.

Or how about:

  • Seaweed (carrageenan) in our ice cream
  • Beetle juice (carminic acid) in meats, cookies, sausages, juices, and preserves
  • Duck feathers (L-cysteine) in our hamburger buns
  • Bee vomit (honey) as a natural sweetener
  • Wood pulp (cellulose) in cheese and salad dressings?

Cancer-causing ingredients

It’s not only the unhygienic cooking methods that can make you sick. There’s a chemical cocktail in there that can have long-term effects too, such as:

  • Acrylamide. Foods fried or baked at high temperatures (think fast foods) produce this carcinogen.
  • Sodium nitrite. Also cancer causing and found in pepperoni, sausages, hot dogs and bacon.
  • TBHQ (tertiary butyl hydroquinone). This is not cancer causing, but is lethal in high doses. Found in Chicken McNuggets, according to this article levels of more than 0.02% of this chemical in foods are dangerous. One gram can actually cause “nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a feeling of suffocation.”

Fast food places suit the “progression” of the American lifestyle: hurry up and get it done, no matter that this method may kill us. The real truth is, when we eat fast food, we’re eating processed food designed for mass consumption. We focus on the “fast” instead of what’s healthiest for our bodies.

Featured photo credit: Alvimann via mrg.bz

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