Let’s discuss a basic concept about eating real food.
Food has to rot! If it doesn’t, we’ve got a huge problem!
Real food naturally goes bad – that’s what it is supposed to do. So when I see bread that lasts over 10 days, I start to squirm thinking about all the additives it must contain to keep it looking “fresh.” Bread only has a few basic ingredients: flour, yeast, water, salt – and then maybe some fat (oil or butter) and sugar. However, the buns at popular fast food restaurants are designed to last much longer than fresh baked buns, sometimes longer than 2 weeks. In order to achieve this long shelf life that improves profitability they have to pump those buns up with artificial, man-made, chemical ingredients.
The real question is, what are these chemicals doing to our bodies? How does our health react when we load them up day after day with diets full of GMO soybean oil, azodicarbonamide, calcium peroxide, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color made from ammonia, and other artificial ingredients? Could this be the real reason that so many people feel better after they stop eating bread?
In this comparison you’ll see that popular fast food buns are nearly identical and carry many of the same toxic additives!
Azodicarbonamide – This is the “Yoga Mat” dough conditioner that we petitioned Subway to remove from their bread in 2014 (and succeeded!). This additive is banned in Europe and Australia, and The Center For Science In The Public Interest has called on the FDA to ban it in the U.S. as well. The World Health Organization has linked it to respiratory issues, allergies and asthma. When the azodicarbonamide in bread is baked, there is research that links it to tumor development and cancer. According to Dr. John Coupland, “small amounts of semicarbazide and urethane have been shown to form from azodicarbonamide breakdown during baking and these compounds may pose a health risk.” GUILTY BUNS: Burger King, McDonald’s (McRib bun), Dairy Queen and Arby’s. (Chick-fil-A removed it after our petition to Subway).
Monoglycerides and Diglycerides – This emulsifier is a byproduct of oil processing – including partially hydrogenated canola and soybean oils – which contain artificial trans fat that is detrimental to our health. The consumption of artificial trans fat is strongly correlated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The CDC has linked it to at least 20,000 heart attacks per year and the Institute of Medicine says trans fats have “no known health benefit” and there is no safe level to eat. GUILTY BUNS: Shake Shack, Dairy Queen, KFC, Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Jack In The Box and Arby’s.
High Fructose Corn Syrup – The worst of refined sugars, this sweetener increases appetite, and the risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia. Fast food companies use this man-made sugar because it has a longer shelf life and “inhibits microbial spoilage.” Almost 50% of high fructose corn syrup samples have been shown to be contaminated with toxic mercury. GUILTY BUNS: KFC, Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Jack In The Box, Dairy Queen and Arby’s.
Soybean Oil – Almost every fast food bun on this list contains this cheap GMO oil that increases the risk of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. GUILTY BUNS: In-N-Out Burger, Dairy Queen, KFC, Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Jack In The Box, Arby’s, and Carl’s Jr.
Calcium Peroxide – This bleaching agent and dough conditioner is banned in foreign countries including China (and also from some natural food stores like Whole Foods). Its use is a sign that the bun is heavily processed and not something I want to put in my body. It’s also not a necessary ingredient. McDonald’s doesn’t use calcium peroxide in their buns in the U.K. so why do they use it here? GUILTY BUNS: Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Jack In The Box, and Arby’s.
Sucralose – This artificial sweetener (a.k.a Splenda) is added to KFC’s buns even though they already add high fructose corn syrup. Research out of Europe showed rats developed leukemia after consuming sucralose. GUILTY BUNS: KFC.
Caramel Color – There are 4 different types of caramel color used by the food industry. Class III and Class IV caramel color (commonly used in bread) are made from ammonia and contain the byproduct 4-MEI, a known cancer risk. We contacted Arby’s and asked them what class of caramel color they use and have not heard back from them yet, but will update here as needed.
Natural or Artificial Flavors – Any time you see flavors on an ingredient list be aware that you don’t really know what you are eating. According to the Environmental Working Group, every flavor has their own secret list of up to 100 ingredients, including “synthetic chemicals such as the solvent propylene glycol or the preservative BHA” as well as GMO-derived ingredients. Flavors can also include excitotoxins like MSG that cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food. GUILTY BUNS: Carl’s Jr., Dairy Queen, KFC, Wendy’s, and Arby’s.
Acesulfame Potassium – According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) this artificial sweetener is anything but safe. CSPI reported the safety tests of acesulfame-K that were conducted in the 1970s were inadequate. Specifically, two rat studies suggest that the additive might cause cancer, but these studies were never properly addressed by the FDA before they approved the substance. GUILTY BUNS: Carl’s Jr.
Neotame – This is a relatively new and rarely used artificial sweetener that can be found in Carl’s Jr.’s buns. Some health experts warn that this chemical sweetener is more harmful to our health than aspartame – a neurotoxin – but its safety is still up in the air. Just like experts believed that Sucralose was safe when it first came out, people trusted what they were told and consumed it for years before it was linked to leukemia. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any reason to consume a risky chemical invention that is unnecessarily added to food, especially since it has zero health benefits! GUILTY BUNS: Carl’s Jr.
DATEM – This acronym stands for “Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Monoglycerides”, and is a dough conditioner that is usually derived from soybean or canola oil (GMO crops). Just like mono and diglycerides, this ingredient can be a hidden form of deadly trans fat in our food that most people don’t know about. GUILTY BUNS: Shake Shack, Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Jack In The Box, Arby’s, and Carl’s Jr.
Calcium Propionate – This mold-inhibitor was found in almost every fast food bun on our list – even at In-N-Out Burger! Calcium Propionate is considered a safer preservative, but beware that research published in the Journal of Paediatric Child Health links it to “irritability, restlessness, inattention and sleep disturbance in some children” and long term consumption of calcium propionate has also been shown to damage the stomach lining and induce ulcers. GUILTY BUNS: In-N-Out Burger, KFC, Dairy Queen, Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Jack In The Box, Arby’s, and Shake Shack.
All that – and I barely even mentioned the GMOs…
You’ll almost always find at least one of these ingredients derived from GMO crops in a fast food bun:
- Corn Syrup
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Sugar (from sugar beets)
- Cottonseed Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Canola Oil
- Mono and Diglycerides
GMOs are concerning because they can contain glyphosate residues from the Roundup weed killer that is prevalently used on them. Glyphosate was deemed a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO), and is also linked to kidney disease, birth defects, and autism.
Thankfully, I can’t remember the last time I ate a burger from one of these fast food places, but I’d go back in time and knock it out of my hands now if I could!
If you or any of your loved ones are still hitting up the fast food drive thru, please share this post with them!