Food Babe Family - Header

Burger King Ingredients Finally Revealed in the Whopper, Fries, and Chicken Nuggets

This is a very important investigation into Burger King that you need to know about. What I’m about to share with you is the ultimate example of a food corporation swindling the public into believing their food is something that it’s not.

You may have seen all over the media last September that Burger King banned 120 artificial ingredients from their restaurants. (1) They partnered with celebrities, like Nelly, to sell their new “Keep It Real” meals:

  • “Burger King Bans 120 Artificial Ingredients from Its Menu to Deliver ‘Real Food'” – People 
  • “Burger King is permanently banning these 120 ingredients from its menu”Marketwatch
  • “Burger King is banning 120 artificial ingredients from menus” – Business Insider
  • “Burger King introduces Keep It Real Meals”Marketing Dive
  • “Burger King touts ingredients with celeb ‘Keep It Real Meals’” – NRN

Burger King published a “Blacklist” of their banned ingredients on their website. (2) However, when I pulled up their blacklist, I noticed something very interesting…

BK is full of BS!

Burger King blacklisted over 20 ingredients that are NOT APPROVED by the FDA to be in our food.

Many of these ingredients haven’t been allowed in American food for decades, so of course Burger King doesn’t use them. For instance, you’ll find Violet 1 on their list, which hasn’t been allowed in food since 1973! (3) These ingredients may be artificial…but they aren’t allowed anyway. This is why it is beyond shady that Burger King would include these ingredients on their list, knowing that most consumers (and apparently also the media who covered their story) wouldn’t know this. 

Ingredients that on Burger King’s Blacklist that aren’t approved by the FDA include:

  • Brilliant Black BN 
  • Brown FK or Brown HT
  • Orange 1
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oils (4)
  • Patent Blue
  • Sudan Red
  • Yellow 1, 2, 3, or 4

(These ingredients are highlighted red in the graphic above)

Burger King lists ingredients that are essentially the same multiple times (using different names), which makes their blacklist look longer.

For example, Burger King separately lists these ingredients, which are different names for the same ingredient:

  • Red #40 and Allura Red
  • Yellow 5 and Tartrazine
  • Benzoates (All), and then Potassium Benzoate and Calcium Benzoate 
  • Parabens (All), and then Propyl-p-hydroxybenzoate and Methyl p-hydroxybenzoate
  • TBHQ, and then Butylhydroquinone

Are these duplicates a mistake on their part? Or are they trying to trick us by making their list look longer?

(These ingredients are highlighted green in the graphic above)

At least 55 of Burger King’s Blacklisted Ingredients are not used by most food companies anyway, because they are either banned by the FDA or there are better substitutes.

I have never seen a processed food product with Anoxomer added. I’ve also never read an ingredient list and saw THBP or Trihydroxybutyrophenonon the list. I basically read food labels for a living, so this is really saying something! These ingredients may sound “scary” and make Burger King’s list look legit… but I highly doubt that Burger King ever used many of the ingredients on their list in the first place, because they are so rare or aren’t permitted in products they sell. 

(These ingredients are highlighted yellow in the graphic below)

Burger King doesn’t publish ingredient lists for their food on their website like other fast food restaurants do (McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, etc)

Burger King tells us what isn’t in their food, but doesn’t want to tell us what actually is in it.

If they really want to show how “REAL” their food is, shouldn’t they publish all their ingredients online for everyone to see?

Could it be because they don’t want you to know what’s really in their food?

My team was able to uncover the ingredients in their Whopper, Fries, and Chicken Nuggets, and I will share this here with you so you can decide if Burger King is real food. 

Burger King’s bun is laced with several dough conditioners, such as Calcium Peroxide which is banned in China (5) and Potassium Iodate that’s linked to an increased risk of cancer because it can lead to excessive intake of iodine when it’s used in bread. (6) It may also break down in dough to form iodide (a Japanese study found that high doses of potassium iodide leads to cancer in rats). (6) The Whopper also contains processed ingredients DATEM and Mono and Diglycerides, which are byproducts of oil processing – including canola and soybean oils – which may contain trans fat. (7)

Burger King’s Chicken Nuggets are “Seasoned” with chemicals that are designed to keep you coming back for more, Yeast Extract (hidden MSG) and Natural Flavors (which are proprietary mixtures that make food taste irresistible).

Burger King’s Fries are coated in “Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate” (which keeps their frozen fries from turning gray) and unhealthy vegetable oils like Canola Oil and Soybean Oil, which increases the risk of obesity, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. (8) Soybean oil almost always comes from GMO soybeans – which have been shown to contain high levels of residues from the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) compared to non-GMO soybeans. (9)

Burger King might not use high fructose corn syrup….But they still use corn syrup.

They might not use artificial flavors…But they still use natural flavors (which is essentially the same thing).

They might not use MSG…But they still use Yeast Extract, which contains free glutamic acid and is used as a replacement for MSG. (10

So, what’s the verdict? Is Burger King Real Food? 

Tell me what you think in the comments below! 

Share this post with everyone you know who eats at BK and ask them to do the same. Let’s spread this like wildfire!



Food Babe Family - Book
Food Babe Grocery Guide

Sign Up For Updates

And Get A FREE Healthy Grocery Guide Sent To You Now!

Find out what to buy and where at the top grocery stores near you

Posts may contain affiliate, sponsorship and/or partnership links for products Food Babe has approved and researched herself. If you purchase a product through an affiliate, sponsorship or partnership link, your cost will be the same (or at a discount if a special code is offered) and Food Babe will benefit from the purchase. Your support is crucial because it helps fund this blog and helps us continue to spread the word. Thank you.

19 responses to “Burger King Ingredients Finally Revealed in the Whopper, Fries, and Chicken Nuggets

  1. I have not eaten Burger King in 15 years maybe even longer!
    I am so happy you are out there doing these investigations!

  2. Tastes better and looks better and is often cheaper than the other chains. Just went to taco bell, ordered 2 crunchwraps and a sweet tea. $20. At BK sometime during the year you could get a 2 for $6 on whoppers. 2 giant burgers for $6. With inflation being ridiculous right now I doubt it’ll be that way in the future but still, value for money. I’d rather pay $6 for 2 big boys then $6 for big mac sauce. Stuff is just thousand island dressing with McDonald’s branding.

  3. The fast food industry is in bed with big food and big pharma. They need you to stay fat and taking medications to mask the symptoms of your unhealthy lifestyle. The shareholders in these industries rely on your unhealthy bodies. They won’t stop at nothing to keep marketing to you to get and stay fat. Please just eat real one ingredient foods and stop with eating laboratory created ingredients. Sugar is the devil! And I am out—

  4. I thought that Burger King tasted better than the normal fast food chains. That their good was elite and fancier than most.

  5. I say what’s the big deal if you don’t like BK just don’t eat there I can bet any amount of money that all fast food restaurants are mostly the same I won’t say any names but remember the horse meat trade and people still eat there food cause it’s cheap and fast that’s what it all adds up to most people don’t care about additives ) PS) you should check the ingredients at taco bell

  6. I never eat anything I can’t pronounce or anything artificial. I have lost so much weight and I’ve kept it off just eating food the way it was meant to be. I would Never go into a fast food “restaurant”. Those places should be made illegal as they’re slowly killing people!

  7. Just sickin might as well go and eat trash daily if your eating from any drive Thurs cardboard in the food I’ve heard as well cheap and the drinks are just sugary I agree thousands of calories and fake ingredients just stick to farm and store brought items

  8. Why does your article say artificial flavors and natural flavors are the same thing? I don’t understand that.

  9. First off, thanks for this article. Knowing what’s in you and your kids food is important, ya wouldn’t think so the companies add seemingly whatever they want and people eat it as long as it tastes good. What you did should be a norm where people go out of their way to know what’s in the food and start caring – then things will change.

  10. BK sources it’s buns locally so what’s in one in California will possibly differ from It Texas which will differ from New York.

    Usually it’s one of the local name bakeries that market their own brand of white bread or whatever, so will probably be the same as whatever your local brand burger bun is.

  11. I used to work at BK…they use hfcs for their pop machines…so it may net be in the food but it certainly is in the drinks…the one I worked at went thru at least eight 25 pound containers a week of hfcs for their pop machines

  12. I read through this and studied the contents of The Whopper. Seemed relatively innocuous, considering we’re talking about fast food. In fact, I think I’m going to grab me one.

  13. We farm organically…”forage natural to the animal” now (hint: cows aren’t msde to eat corn!) and what has stood out the most to me is just how much PEOPLE are fed in the modern diet like CAFO conventional cattle are. We are just missing troughs and the tractor driven device that blows the food into the trough like insulation. And the cows just stand there and eat and eat and eat the exact same stuff day in and out. And their health has to be propped up with pharmaceuticals or disease runs rampant. The only difference in people food is they have to make the brain think it is eating different foods/products by adding dyes, sugar and flavorings. Did you know they feed cattle candy in the wrappers and the wrappers pass thru them? Corn, soy, canola, synthetic mineral fortifications….. And then you check human food packages and all you see is corn, soy, rice, vegetable oils, preservatives, sugar, salt and flavorings. High glycemic, totally lacking in nutrient density or diversity except the fortifications. Same idea. Someone gave us Dyno Bytes cereal, Cocoa Pebbles, and some sort of candy, and they were about 70-80%+ same ingredients, just marketed differently. We are using it as as mouse trap bait. When you look at BK ingredients above, notice how many ingredients are the same despite being a bun vs a nugget vs a fry.

    We grow a lot of food ourselves, we cook from scratch, and the food we eat is vastly different one from the other. Meat is meat, potato sides are potatoes, salt and milk and butter from our farm. Butternut squash puree is squash, cinnamon, cooking liquid from it, and our butter. Salad is extra virgin olive oil, sea or pink himalyan salt, raw apple cider vinegar and raw chopped fresh garlic. So diverse. We don’t need natural flavors when the meat tastes so vibrant from being raised properly, or when meat stock is simmered with love on the stove. Or we appreciate the natural taste of squash vs pumpkin. I didn’t know I appreciated variety in food so much as healthy eating exposes us to. My kids eat bone marrow and oxtails and sauerkraut, and salad. They literally enjoy fruit for dessert. Other people complain their kids are picky (sure even my kids sometimes don’t LOVE some things) but maybe eating the same processed ingredients in all the foods they have ever eaten doesn’t really encoursge the palate to venture into new territories does it? One person I know allowed her child to eat nothing but chicken nuggets for THREE YEARS STRAIGHT.

    I really would love for people to regain a love for real food and not line up like CAFO livestock at a trough.

    A friend tasted our pork, organic feed plus their area is natural wooded so they can root and forage as they please. To us, it is just pork, raised happy and cleanly and natural environment. The person said even the fat tastes delicious! Yes, it does!!! With no ARTIFICAL flavorings!! Fancy that!

  14. There are rumours going around everywhere that Bugger King is using crickets as “meat filler” in their franken food. You couldn’t pay me to eat there.

  15. I haven’t eaten out at any of those fast food places in many years because I have to be on a gluten free diet and I question how they are prepared and cross-contamination. Better to be safe than sorry.

    Vani, what do you think of I am really impressed by their products which I haven’t tried yet but plan on soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

food babe with grocery cart - footer image