It would be fair to assume that there are three ingredients in McDonald’s French fries: potatoes, oil, and salt. But if you assumed that you’d be far from correct. Starting last year McDonald’s began a transparency campaign most likely to create a more health- and consumer-conscious image of the corporation. As a result the company has made their ingredient lists and processing techniques available on their website. Out of curiosity, I had to know exactly what is in those fries. It turns out that there are 17 ingredients in Mickey D’s French fries!
- Potatoes (whew! I’m glad that was the first ingredient)
- Canola oil—Most canola oil is now genetically-modified
- Hydrogenated soybean oil—Like canola oil, most soybean oil is now extracted from genetically-modified soybeans. Plus the hydrogenation process makes the oil more saturated than it would be in its natural form, and unhealthy
- Safflower oil—Believed to be a healthier cooking oil, most safflower is unfortunately heated to high temperatures long before it is ever used for cooking, causing it to be chemically-altered from the heat, and a source of inflammation in the body when that is the case.
- ”Natural flavor”—McDonald’s natural flavor is apparently obtained from a vegetable source, but the “natural” moniker means nothing since it can even potentially contain the nerve- and brain-toxin monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Vegetable oil for frying, which is a blend of 7 ingredients, including: canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), citric acid, and dimethylpolysiloxane. We discussed most of these ingredients above. Corn oil, like its canola and soybean counterparts is now primarily made of genetically-modified corn
- TBHQ is a petroleum-based, butane-like (yes, that’s lighter fluid!) ingredient used as a preservative. It has been linked to asthma, skin conditions, hormone disruption, and in long-term animal studies to cancer and damage to DNA
- Contrary to what McDonald’s may claim in its slogan, I’m NOT lovin’ it!