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Dutchess_III's avatar

Is a burger from McDonalds really any more fattening or less healthy than one you'd make at home?

Asked by Dutchess_III (27166 points ) March 25th, 2011

Or any other fast food. If you made the same foods at home, say, french fries, wouldn’t that be just as fattening and unhealthy? I’m eating an Egg McMuffin right now. If I made my own at home it would be cheaper, but would it automatically be healthier?

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109 Answers

chyna's avatar

You have more control at home over the amount of fat content in the ground beef you buy, so the burger you make at home could be less fattening depending on the ground beef you buy, how you fix it and how big your burger is. Also with fries, it would depend on what you fried them in. Canola oil should be a bit healthier than vegatable oil. Not sure what kind of oil McDonalds uses.

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

It depends on how you make it, the size, and what you put in it. It can easily be more less than what you eat at a fast food place. You should watch these two documentary’s about fast food: “Supersize Me” and “Fat Head”.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, when you cook a burger most of the fat rends out, doesn’t it? The more fat the smaller the burger in the end.

@xjustxxclaudiax Like, what would I have to put in a homemade burger to make it as “bad for you” as McDonalds? Also…I’m confused! You said, “It can easily be more less than what you…”

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

oh sry i meant “more or less”..
Like if you add more salt, your body will retain more water.
Adding mayo, ketchup, or any other sauce that’s high on syrup will increase the calories in your food….and also, it depends on the bread your using too.
And not all calories are bad. The egg and meat that you consume from an egg McMuffin will easily turn into energy and muscle if your active..

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s kind of my philosophy…an Egg McMuffin is an English muffin. Just a regular English muffin like what I might have at home. The egg is an egg. A regular egg. The Canadian Bacon is just that…one of the lesser fattening of the pork family, and you only get one little piece. The cheese is just cheese. Is any of it really any different than what I could make at home (albeit a lot less expensively.)? Is there something evilly special that the fast food chains add to their food to make it abnormally unhealthy?

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

Well on their big mac boxes they say its 100%. And their chicken nuggets and patties are 100% all white meat.

Taciturnu's avatar

@Dutchess_III In the sense of being different from home-cooked, everything in a fast food chain is heavily processed, whereas you have the option of fresh at home.

I have no qualms about making my own bread products. It is less expensive and tastes better. In my opinion, anyway. I suppose I’m biased. Fast food chains load theirs with preservatives. They cook an egg, freeze it, ship it all across the country where they separate them and reheat. Same goes for the Canadian bacon. I’m not sure if McD’s uses products that have been pumped with hormones. At home, you can guarantee hormone-free options. The cheese isn’t really cheese, either… It’s “cheese food.”

It wouldn’t be a big difference to some people, but I try to be conscious about what I put into my mouth in the sense that it’s “real food.” An over-used term but appropriate.

EDIT: I should disclaim that being vegan, an egg McMuffin wouldn’t appeal to me anyway. :)

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

all beef.* I’m sorry about all the spelling errors, I’m a bit tired and wired on caffeine.

Seelix's avatar

I think the unhealthiness of fast food really comes in with regard to ingredients. Like others have said, most of the ingredients in an Egg McMuffin are the same as those that you’d use at home, but a lot of the other stuff (not just at McDonald’s, but at all fast food places) include a lot of extra sugar and other chemicals I know nothing about. Even, say, a salad with grilled chicken from a fast food place, uses their brand of chicken which likely has been glazed with some kind of sugary-chemically stuff.

Also, you have to take into account the preservatives found in those foods – a lot of stuff is precooked and chilled or frozen, like @Taciturnu said. McDonald’s may claim that their beef is 100% beef, but all that means is that there’s no other type of meat mixed in there – that says nothing about sugar, spices, chemicals, additives and preservatives. Same goes for their chicken.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thank you @Taciturnu…do you have a link? I can imagine them doing dasterdly things with the “folded” eggs that they put on, like the bagels, but they crack the eggs themselves for the McMuffin (I think. Anyone with some fast food experience here?) And why would they feel the need to freeze the egg? They get deliveries at least once a week. And grocery stores sell far more eggs than Mickey D’s. Do they freeze their eggs?

The cheese is processed American, I’m sure. Which I have at the house for sandwiches, although I prefer Cheddar in most things.

Thanks @Seelix….I’d really like to get more information. We cook and freeze at home a lot….how would that be any different? Why would they need more preservatives? What about KFC…they cook their chicken right there. They also get deliveries. I’m sure they freeze them to preserve them…

Just FYI…when I eat fast food I really stay away from the chicken and stuff. Any chicken that doesn’t look like a piece of chicken, I say there’s something wrong!

Taciturnu's avatar

@Dutchess_III What kind of link?

optimisticpessimist's avatar

@Taciturnu I think she means a link concerning all the added chemicals, etc.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Im going to have to venture a guess at saying that you cant even find the quality of “meat” used at fast food places in your average super market. That alone will make it about a million times healthier.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

Here is a link to the ingredients list for McDonalds.

Aster's avatar

I thought McD’s used the cheapest, fattiest ground meat available (which would make it the best tasting to some) but at home you can use ground sirloin or ground chuck. All of it is terribly fattening and has hormones and antibiotics in it, right? );
I’m easing into veggie burgers.
I think the fries would be the same except at home you could make baked ff.

jonsblond's avatar

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/foods-from-mcdonalds/6230/2

I’ve found this site very helpful the past day or so. You can enter any food item in the search at the top.

liminal's avatar

At home you have control over what is going into your food. At McDonald’s you have pink slime going in, yuck!

edit: (The pink slime is basically “a product made from beef that included fatty trimmings the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil.” They then add ammonia to kill contaminants.The stuff looks like slimey bubble gum and gets mixed in with the ground beef.)

SpatzieLover's avatar

Considering I only eat organic, grass fed beef???? McD’s burgers are made from the meat that falls on the floor of meat plants——YUCK!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks OP. Well, about the meat it states: _“100% Beef Patty:
100% pure USDA inspected beef; no fillers, no extenders. Prepared with grill seasoning (salt, black pepper)“_

Egg McMuffin: _“Egg McMuffin®:
English Muffin, Egg, Pasteurized Process American Cheese, Canadian Style Bacon, Liquid Margarine_”

All in all it doesn’t sound any different than what you’d buy at the store.

Checking out @jonsblond‘s link…just looking through the burger…I can’t seem to find a comparison to the beef you find at the store. When I google “how many grams of fat in 1 lb of hamburger” all I get is “Depends on how lean it is.” Also….in a higher fat content burger, doesn’t the fat rend out anyway, leaving you with a smaller burger than when you started? So (this is just a thought) you don’t actually ingest much more fat from ground chuck than from ground beef?.....

@liminal That’s exactly what I’m trying to determine. Not having much luck! Still looking….

Aster's avatar

@SpatzieLover how is the taste of organic, grass fed in comparison to the dreadful meat at the stores? Was thinking of ordering some from some place.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wound up on this website. When I plugged in “Does McDonalds use the same beef that’s found in grocery stores?” it said, “Wow! We’‘ve never been asked this question before!!” Made me feel impotent. : )

It’s been said for so long that fast foods use “pink slime” (as @liminal said!) that we assume it’s true. I’m just trying to find out for sure.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Aster It is indescribably fresh, and whole tasting. It tastes like beef…not filler or water or waste. It also digests cleaner.

I don’t know where you live. Here in the Midwest, I recommend Tallgrass Otherwise, maybe you can look up a local farm that only grassfeeds and slaughters onsite, or slaughters in a Temple Grandin designed facility.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, this is interesting. First link shows the calories and fat content of 105 g McDonald’s hamburger.

Second link shows ground beef in general, at 85 g….the amount of hamburger in the second one is smaller than the amount of hambuger in the MD’s thing, but the fat content, etc. in the second one is higher than the 105 g McDonald burger…. ?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III It’s not just about the fat calories, it’s also about the type of fats you get. In grass-fed beef, you get good for you fats

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, this explains some of it! Interesting!
“According to McDonald’s, it cannot satisfy its need for lean beef by buying solely from American sources and has to turn to beef exporters outside the USA to make up the shortfall. It’s not a question of there not being enough beef in the USA; it’s a matter of the beef available for sale not meeting McDonald’s standards for leanness. American beef cattle are primarily grain-fed and produce fattier meat, while grass-fed cattle produce leaner beef. Yes, the imported beef is 8 to 15 cents per pound cheaper than U.S.-produced lean beef, which definitely sweetens matters for the Golden Arches. Yet, price difference aside, there’s still not enough lean beef available in the USA to meet the needs of the restaurant chain. American ranchers, however, claim that McDonald’s leanness standards are too high, and that if McDonald’s lowered its standards to a more reasonable level, it could easily purchase all the lean beef it needs without resorting to foreign imports.”

I understand @SpatzieLover, but the premise of the question is, Is the beef any different than what you would find in most people’s freezers? It’s looking more and more like the answer is “No.”
From the link that @liminal provided us, McDonalds meat is processed the same way as the meat found in grocery stores. “With the U.S.D.A.’s stamp of approval (of the pink slime,) the company’s processed beef has become a mainstay in America’s hamburgers. McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food giants use it as a component in ground beef, as do grocery chains.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III
—_Is the beef any different than what you would find in most people’s freezers? It’s looking more and more like the answer is “No.”
From the link that @liminal provided us, McDonalds meat is processed the same way as the meat found in grocery stores. “With the U.S.D.A.’s stamp of approval (of the pink slime,) the company’s processed beef has become a mainstay in America’s hamburgers. McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food giants use it as a component in ground beef, as do grocery chains_—
Will the meat processors let you in to see & witness this supposed truth? No.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, that’s a suspicion, @SpatzieLover, not a fact. What about the link above, about the American beef ranchers complaining that McDonald’s meat standards are too high?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III No it’s not a suspicion. Several authors and documentarians have tried. They will not allow access. Here’s a lovely thought about where that stuff McD’s call burger meat comes from:

The most disturbing parts of the book show the nasty world of slaughtering and processing beef. Schlosser chronicles one worker named Kenny who climbed into gigantic blood tanks and gut bins to clean up a salmonella problem at a Monfort meat plant in Nebraska. For eight hours, he scrubbed the tanks with chlorine. His lungs were burned from the chemicals. He had numerous other injuries from his nearly 16 years at the plant. Eventually, he was fired. No one from the company told him. He learned the news when he called Monfort with questions about his health insurance coverage. “They used me to the point where I had no body parts left to give,” Kenny said. “Then they just tossed me into the trash can.”

Source

JmacOroni's avatar

I think @Seelix hit the nail on the head by bringing up how processed the food is, and how many chemicals and preservatives are involved. There are certain things that are added to food that have been shown to trigger cravings, or even addiction, MSG and aspartame for example. Also, not everything that is in your food is required to be put on the label.
I’m not saying that McDonald’s is being malicious. I think McDonald’s is giving the people what they want… food that “tastes good” (I’m going to use that phrase lightly, because I think their food is effing disgusting, but that’s me) for a low price. I think, personally, the biggest health issue with fast food is portion sizes. The same goes for restaurants. Fast food, in particular, gives you high fat, fried foods in very large portions… of course it will make people sick. If you ate that much crap, even if you made it at home, it would make you just as sick.
However, if you ask me… just because you’re buying it yourself, doesn’t mean you’re getting a quality product. Our food industry is totally out of whack. Factory farming and GMO companies have all but destroyed the quality of our food supply.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JmacOroni I agree. The beef industry is screwed up all the way around, including what you take home from the grocery store. Se @SpatzieLover‘s link above. We have beef packing plants in Kansas. I sure wouldn’t want to work in one. But, again, that is discussing the beef industry in general. It’s not anything that was caused by McDonalds. According to the link above, MD’s has higher standards than the American norm. It’s America’s demand for beef in general that created the problem.

For the life of me I can’t find anything showing preservatives in MD’s beef that isn’t in grocery store beef. Why would they really need it when all they need to do is freeze the meat? It has a rapid turn around, to boot. I’ll be the patties spend less time in the freezer there than my hamburger meat does in my freezer here at home…..

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SpatzieLover Those beef packing plants are not owned my MD. They send the same meat out to grocery stores that they send to MD’s. And…I don’t eat much beef anyway, and now I think I’ll eat even less!

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III And our country isn’t “owned” by corporations? Right.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Aster Just reading through the posts~ You said, “I thought McD’s used the cheapest, fattiest ground meat available” Actually, it’s not true.

faye's avatar

One of the student nurses on my unit did a test on a mcdonalds burger for some class. They sent a hamburger to a lab for analysis. The lab said it was made from beef- beef lung, kidney, testicles, stomach, etc This is in Alberta.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@faye as I said…the stuff that falls on the floor of the packaging plant

Dutchess_III's avatar

@faye…. Where could find something that verifies this?

Seelix's avatar

A huge company like McDonald’s is going to try its damnedest to keep any secrets like that secret. They have billions and billions of bucks, so nothing like that will ever come out. Just watch Super Size Me if you have any doubts as to whether McDonald’s is healthy. I haven’t eaten anything from McD’s since I saw that movie.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Seelix neither have I nor will I ever again @Dutchess_III McD’s may not say they own the packing plants, but when they are the only customer, or the only customer spending millions at one plant….they own it…semantics aside.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wish I could get some hard evidence for this. Yes, McDonalds is a major purchaser. That’s easily verifiable. So, yes, they certainly would have influence over the packing plants, but why do we assume it’s all for evil? They all have to pass USDA inspection (for what it’s worth,) in the same way grocery meat does. Grocery stores would have the same “motivation” for inexpensive meats that McDonalds does. And from what I’ve read MD’s standards for lean beef are pretty high. Other cow parts, like kidneys, lungs, etc. aren’t dangerous to eat and are only a very small percentage of the overall cow. It wouldn’t be economically feasible, really, for the bulk of their beef to consist of that.

Also…..how could they determine which part of the cow a random sample of meat came from, like the lungs or whatever? It’s all chopped up and squished together….

The main question is, is McDonald’s hamburger any different than the store-bought hamburger you’d find in the average freezer? I know there are suspicions, but are they really founded? The USDA is standing right on top of them, more so than even the grocery stores.

Facade's avatar

Yes. At home, you can bypass all the non-foods used in fast food chains– preservatives, artificial flavorings, excess salt, etc.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III That’s not quite how the USDA works
Grading for quality is voluntary, and the service is requested and paid for by meat and poultry producers/processors. See link above as the source.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have to ask @Facade….why would they need any more preservatives than meat you buy at the store? They freeze it right away. They probably sell it out within a week. Why would they need more preservatives than anyone else?

Hang on @SpatzieLover… I’ll go find the link…

Facade's avatar

@Dutchess_III Honestly, i have no idea. But what I do know is that you can purchase meat without fillers, hormones, and all that, and I doubt McD’s goes that route.
When a McD’s burger looks like this, and a regular, homemade one looks like that after being left out for a period of time, I’d say they use too many preservatives and chemicals in their food.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Facade Precisely. They have so many preservatives even the meat doesn’t break down.

Facade's avatar

@SpatzieLover Exactly, which is why you will never catch me voluntarily eating McDonald’s. My colon would kill me.

JmacOroni's avatar

Yeah, I forgot about that experiment. That’s pretty creepy, I can’t lie.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Facade I prefer my food to digest cleanly as I mentioned above I wonder how many little children get sick on this stuff regularly.

Facade's avatar

@SpatzieLover The thing is, they are sick without even knowing it, and they don’t know because it has become their “normal.” Very sad.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Facade my son’s bestie was eating like this regularly…he now informs her loudly that she should not eat poison

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK, I’m reading. It says, “Inspection for wholesomeness is mandatory….” before it goes on to say that inspection for quality is voluntary….but that’s for ALL meat and poultry, not just that earmarked for fast food.
That was interesting @SpatzieLover. Especially the grades listed toward the bottom. Thanks for the link.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III You should really watch a few documentaries on the food industry if you haven’t already. One thing you will see is how quickly the USDA grades the carcasses…then their job is done.

Inside of the plants where the processing happens is where the answer to your questions lie. And, former packers will tell of how the meat at their feet goes into those burgers you eat.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Facade he is hilarious! He regularly asks his BF’s mom if she’s been drinking diet soda…she always says yes. He says, “Do you read the can? It’s full of chemicals!”...we are working on his manners, but he’s five and has a strong sense of right vs. wrong

Seelix's avatar

@SpatzieLoverAnd, former packers will tell of how the meat at their feet goes into those burgers you eat.

Yup. My grandfather worked as an electrician in a Maple Leaf plant when my mom was little, and although he didn’t go into detail, he refused to allow the family to eat any processed meat.

Facade's avatar

@SpatzieLover That’s so awesome. Who needs manners anyway!

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK. I’m convinced that overall, hamburger meat processed for sale either to individuals or to fast food restaurants isn’t real whoopy, but we’ll continue to buy it, I’m sure. (Have a MAN in the house!) However, is the meat at McDonalds any WORSE than what you’d buy in the grocery store? Everyone has the same motivation, if there is one, for buying “crap,” not just the fast food stores.

Also, @SpatzieLover you said, “They have so many preservatives even the meat doesn’t break down.” What do you mean, exactly? That if I picked up a raw hamburger patty at McDonalds and let it sit out at room temperature it would never spoil? That should be easy enough to test.) Although….the Mickey people here would think I was nuts for ordering a raw patty!)

Facade's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’d be VERY surprised if Whole Foods’ ground beef was of the same grade as the stuff McD’s uses.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Facade It is not. It could be the same grade for wholesomeness…but not for quality.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why? Doesn’t Whole Foods have the same motivation for profit as McDonald’s does?

Here’s something Interesting, from “Wikipedia”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_McDonald%27s “It did not help that the company made several notable blunders in the United States in the 1990s. The McLean Deluxe sandwich, which featured a 91 percent fat-free beef patty, was introduced in 1991, never really caught on, and was dropped from the menu in 1994.” Hmmmm.

Facade's avatar

@Dutchess_III One reason is that the whole concept of Whole Foods and companies similar is that the food they sell is healthy and mostly organic, so it’d be bad for business if they were selling garbage.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III Whole Foods does have a desire to profit from carrying whole foods with ingredient labels you can read every word of…McDs is lobbying hard against ever having to show everything.

BTW- Lots of luck getting a raw burger out the door. You could buy a burger and make one and do your own test though to see it w/ your own eyes.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They’re lobbying hard against showing what their ingredients are? You can find them right there on the internet, in the links above. If they’re lying and getting away with it, then what’s to stop Whole Foods from lying too?

You lost me. Do you mean buying a cooked hamburger from McDonalds for my test? I’ll do that…...What will I be looking for @SpatzieLover?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Facade Oh….I have no idea what Whole Foods is then! I’d never heard of it, so that’s a good point. I’m thinking of regular old Dillions hamburger and stuff.

Seelix's avatar

You won’t be able to buy a raw burger from McDonald’s. They likely have a company policy which disallows it to ensure that improper cooking isn’t a cause of illness.

I worked at Harvey’s (a major Canadian fast food chain) for 6 years and we had a policy against selling raw product.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III No one has to tell that the word “spices” means MSG. Trust me they are lobbying hard to never have you find out what goes on inside the packing plants or what all of their ingredients are.

Facade's avatar

@Dutchess_III You should go one day and look around. It’s definitely different from your average grocery store.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Seelix but…couldn’t I just get a regular hamburger that’s cooked and see what happens? Surely if there are that many preservatives in it, even the cooked hamburger would have a vastly different reaction than a burger from the store….?

@Facade I just did a search….the nearest one is in Tulsa which is about 3.5 hours away… :( I will check it out when the chance arises.

I’m trying to find something that tells us how long it takes to go from a packing plant to being sold at a McDonalds. I don’t know why they might need above average preservatives, when freezing does the job.

Seelix's avatar

@Dutchess_III – Absolutely you could – I was just responding to your suggestion of leaving a raw patty out to spoil.

Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) left McDonald’s food in a jar to spoil for a number of weeks, and did the same with homemade food (I don’t remember whether he made the food himself or bought it from a mom & pop type diner that served freshly-made patties and fries – I don’t think it matters much anyway). The results were shocking – like the photo that was linked earlier. You really should watch the movie if you haven’t seen it. It’ll open your eyes (not to say they’re totally closed – let’s say it’ll widen them)!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I missed the photo @Seelix…..but I’ll try the experiment.

Here something interesting about MSG
For @SpatzieLover “MSG is added to a variety of foods and can be labeled with many other names. If you see hydrolyzed protein, yeast extract, sodium caseinate, textured protein or glutamic acid on the label, then you can be sure that food contains monosodium glutamate.” There is a link in there for Hidden names for MSG

jca's avatar

I advise everyone to read the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. He is a food writer for the NY Times, and the book is about the food we eat and it’s origins. He talks a lot about McDonalds and the other fast food places, and what is in their food and how it’s processed. He also talks about alternatives, such as grass fed beef, subsidies for farmers for corn, all kinds of food related stuff. It’s a paperback book, probably not more than $10.

All I know about McDonalds is that the last time I ate there, which was about two weeks ago, I was thirsty in the middle of the night, which never happens normally, and I took to mean the food was salty.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hmmmm From Wikipedia
“There are health concerns about the use of monosodium glutamate in food, but few are scientifically supported.[6][7][8] (See: Health effects research into glutamic acid.)”

(I’m just telling you what I’m finding as I find them guys….)

Seelix's avatar

@Dutchess_IIIThis is the photo I mentioned – @Facade posted it up there somewhere.

Facade's avatar

@Dutchess_III I wouldn’t get too hung up on needing scientific support for things. Most of the time, the scientific studies are funded by companies who have a lot to gain from support from their hired guns.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Are you referring to the Wiki posts? I guess you’d have to decide that for yourself too. Just look at their references and sources and just….look.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Seelix Thanks…I should be able to duplicate that easily. I can see the bun looks perfectly preserved, but they didn’t show the meat, just a tip of the cheese. I’ll let you guys know what I find out.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III MSG makes my feet, ankles, hands & fingers swell…it also gives me an almost instantaneous migraine. It is hidden in most processed food. It is hidden in as many things possible in fast food….Why? It makes you drink more which means higher profits. It’s cheap and brings their profit margin up.

@Dutchess_III FYI, MSG manufacturers have lobbyists too. They have shut down funding on most studies linked to MSG and children’s neurotransmitters. Here’s an article from a few years ago

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SpatzieLover I just asked a question about MSG’s. That should be interesting…and now I have to go! I’ll look at your article before I do, though….

Dutchess_III's avatar

From what I saw, there is about as much evidence that MSG’s cause autism as vaccinations cause autism.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III Most people don’t think it causes autism. They think it creates or enhances the symptoms of: ADD, ADHD, Diabetes, Autism/Asperger’s/PDD, Migraines and more. Why don’t we know for certain since it’s inception to our food production in the 50’s??? Corporate lobbyists. (Campbell’s, McD’s, & more have billions backing the science to say…“No, no, it’s safe——look, no one’s dying from it”)

JmacOroni's avatar

I don’t need a scientific study to know that if I eat something with MSG in it, I crave more. I had no idea that was even a possibility. I just noticed that if I ate something like, packaged Ramen.. that suddenly I would find myself rummaging around for Doritos, and on and on. And these are things that I don’t normally care to eat. I started reading the labels, and lo and behold, all of the things that appeared to be triggering these cravings contained MSG. The food that I was craving, of course, also contained MSG.

I thought I was crazy, until I looked it up and other people have experienced the same. It does something to my body that other food does not. I would think that if any percentage of the population was more susceptible to find MSG addictive, it would be great for business.

Facade's avatar

@JmacOroni I’m the same way. I used to binge eat snack cakes, candy, etc., and wouldn’t even notice. MSG really does make you crave certain foods.

JmacOroni's avatar

@Facade same. I only wanted it if I had been eating it before. I don’t care what the studies or the officials say, I experienced it.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Facade & @JmacOroni I used to be the same way with HFC (High Fructose Corn Syrup) before I went and cut it out of my life

gondwanalon's avatar

At McDonalds they let the fat soak into the meat and the bum as it adds to the flavor. We use a George Foreman Grill at home for cooking because it lets the fat drain out.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, they throw it on a grill @gondwanalon and some of the grease does drain away. But, I’m asking, if you cooked a hamburger at home in the same way, in a frying pan that would be sure to keep all the grease in, would it be any healthier?

gondwanalon's avatar

If you used the same ingredients and methods of cooking at home as they do in a fast foods restaurant then the final food product would equally bad for you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@gondwanalon That’s what I’m trying to determine…are their ingredients any different than the ones you’d buy at the store? From what I’ve been able to determine, they aren’t. There are a lot of rumors about their ingredients, but I can’t find any hard, factual studies.

I think that the reason fast food is so “fattening” and unhealthy doesn’t have anything to do with the food itself. It’s the convenience of getting it quickly. If you had to go home, make your own burger, cook it, cut up your own potato and fry it, and mix up your own milkshake, it’s only logical to assume you wouldn’t eat those foods as much or often.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: You should read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. He talks extensively about McDonalds.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@jca I agree. It’s clear, concise and factual. Pollan is the best!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jca sounds l like exactly what I’m looking for! “Pollan follows each of the food chains that sustain us—industrial food, organic or alternative food, and food we forage ourselves—from the source to a final meal….”

Ladymia69's avatar

Wow, I can’t believe I missed this…haven’t you read “Fast Food Nation”??? There is fecal matter in the meat!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ladymia69 There is probably trace fecal matter is ALL meat, including what you buy at the grocery store. Why would McDonalds be any different? Also, do you have a link for your claim?

jca's avatar

I have only had one angus burger from McD’s – forgot what they call it – but I was reading reviews on the internet and people (“foodies”) were talking about it having garlic injected flavor. I would think if you make one at home, it would not have any flavoring in it, or if you did, it would be spices or sauces of your choosing, not something mysterious.

Ladymia69's avatar

@Dutchess_III There really is no rationalization for how disgusting fast food (and meat) really is. Sorry.

I forgot to mention meat probably contains ground-up tumors, as well.

Ladymia69's avatar

@Dutchess_III I gave you a source…the book “Fast Food Nation”. If you want to know about fast food, read it.

Ladymia69's avatar

And the only way to know if grocery store-bought meat has fecal mater in it is to send it off and test it at a lab…do you really want to have to do this with every pound of meat you buy?

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK, that’s two books I gotta get on payday!

@ladymia69 This isn’t an issue about meat v vegan. It’s simply about whether the hamburger you get at McDonalds is somehow different from the hamburger you’d buy yourself at the grocery store. The rumor is “yes,” but I have yet to see any proof (still have homework to do though, guys. Payday is next Wed! I also have an experiment to put together….) All of our food has some sort of ground up gross in it, if we pick it apart molecule by molecule, and that includes veggies. They have ground up bird poop and various and sundry bugs and who knows what in them, I’m sure.

@jca Do you have the link for the “garlic injection?” Actually…that sounds like a good idea!

Ladymia69's avatar

I’d rather eat bugs and bird doody than shit and tumors from a huge mammal. You can rationalize/validate your food choices any way you like, but there it is. :)

Ladymia69's avatar

If you really want to have control over the food you buy, do your research. Ask your butcher where he gets his cows. Ask the grocer’s meat department where they buy their beef from, and read up on them on the internet (DO NOT go to the company’s website or all you will find is bias). It is sad to say. but it has become a time when we can’t trust most growers/producers of our food.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Re your first post, @ladymia69, as I said the question has nothing to do with vegan v omnivore.

As to your second: That is exactly the point I was making. McDonalds is no better and no worse than what you’d buy in the grocery store. And I don’t think you can trust the growers and producers of ANY of our food, including the veggies.

Ladymia69's avatar

@Dutchess_III Are you even going to try and do some research to back up your view?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes I am, @ladymia69. Read through the thread. Mine will be as valid, unbiased and accurate as I can possibly make it considering I’ll just be doing it temporarily as a hobby. I have a couple of books to read, and of those books I’ll have to double check their sources.

But for now, how about we start with your claim that the meat contains “ground up tumors.” I have a few questions:

1) How do you know? Do you have a source?

2) Does all of the hamburger that McDonald’s buys contains tumors? What kind of tumors? Many tumors are perfectly benign. (Yes, gross to think about, but not necessarily any more unhealthy than the fungus we eat on a regular basis.)

3) Which part of the cow is used for hamburger? Is that part of the cow more prone to tumors than other parts of the cow?

5) What about the rest of the meat from each cow that McD’s buys the hamburger off of, the steaks and roasts and ribs that get sold to other restaurants? Do those cuts contain tumors?

Ladymia69's avatar

http://www.organicconsumers.org/irrad/diseased.cfm

You’d be better off asking a farmer about where the tumors are more likely to appear on cows, etc. or researching that info yourself.

As far as some of the rest of your questions, they beg for serious details, and you will be hard-pressed to get truthful answers from any of those companies on the quality of their products. That’s why people often have to go undercover into these farms and report it back firsthand. there is too much information secrecy in this nation altogether, but having such secrecy around food is insane.

I admire your efforts to take this all seriously. Few people do, and everyone gets careless at times (I go into “what the hell” mode several times a month), but the effort is what counts. I just feel so sorry for the lives of those poor slave-driven animals. That is my main motivation against meat.

Dutchess_III's avatar

K, reading the link:

First thing I’m noticing, right off the bat, is they offer no citations or links to their claims, which always raises a flag for me. I can’t find any other source that’s verifying their claim.

Second, as it applies to this question: Is McDonald’s food less healthy than food you prepare yourself? I’m thinking that is isn’t, and your article seems to bear this out. Quote “But Jones and consumer groups say production lines are moving so fast that they can’t catch all the diseased carcasses, and some are ending up on supermarket shelves. They don’t even mention McDonalds in the article.

Third. I’m goggling their experts….. Wait. @ladymia69! You’ll like this! I got to Delmar Jones. I had to plug in his city and state to get anything, but I did get this Now this could be interesting. Anybody want to help me puzzle this out? It’s going to take some research! I’m getting the gist of it, but….it’s not very clear, actually. I need to look at statutes and stuff. I can’t do it alone!

Dutchess_III's avatar

61 Fed.Reg. 38806. HACCAP. It appears from this that in 1996 they mandated that the slaughter organizations were to follow federal guidelines concerning examinations of the carcasses for wholesomeness. I don’t know what they were doing before that, but it doesn’t sound like a bad thing….

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK, the complaint in the lawsuit above seems to be that they are claiming that there was a system in place prior to 1996 that was a better system of meat inspection, but then HACCAP was introduced. HACCAP means that the companies inspect the meat themselves rather than…whoever did it before (million dollar question there..who did it before?) The suit is claiming that HACCAP is some sort of “honor system” of inspection by the various companies that process the meat. In other words, they suggest that the companies could lie and say they inspect the meat, but don’t. Well…that’s possible, but the companies wouldn’t last long because I’m sure their records and facilities are inspected several times a year by federal agencies….so I don’t see that HACCAP is a bad thing.

Gawd. Can we talk about Quantum Mechanics instead? I have such a head ache already! OK. Reading on…

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow…from the 61 Fed.Reg. 38806. HACCAP

“The Kansas City session included an informational briefing and public meeting for owners and representatives of small meat and poultry establishments and other affected small businesses to discuss the…HACCP proposal. ..many small business owners said that…HACCP proposal might…inhibit small businesses from competing with larger entities because the resulting additional costs could be borne more easily by larger companies…. Consumers requested that FSIS base its decisions on the Pathogen Reduction/HACCP proposal not on industry impacts, but on what will best protect the public.”

Doesn’t sound like the businesses will be be able to cheat to me. To me it sounds like they will be required to inspect their own food, but the government requirements will be much more stringent. Could the increased costs come about because they’ll have to throw out more meat? That would be harder for a small business to suck up….

Dutchess_III's avatar

And this, FSIS has historically focused on the manufacturing of meat and poultry products through its inspection program, but the Agency’s public health mandate requires that the Agency also consider pre- and post-processing hazards as part of a comprehensive strategy to prevent foodborne illness. What I’m reading is HACCP was implemented to inspect the meat at three stages, the post death stage, after the cow is slaughtered, and again when it’s processed, not just at the processing stage as the FSIS did previously.

But…I’m going to watch some TV and decompress before I go to bed in 45 minutes! Any body want to field this ball??

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