This article about McDonalds started going around Facebook like some kind of big expose. Honestly, I have one question, did anyone seriously think that french fries had only two ingredients? Why is the idea that fries have 17 ingredients alarming or concerning in the least? Is the number of ingredients the main identifier for “healthy” and “unhealthy” food? Because when you order french fries you are kinda already making a mistake before you even ask for the fucking ingredients list. Let’s take a look at the ingredients just to see how harmful they really are. Here they are as listed by this article, I have put each on a separate line for ease of understanding.
- Canola oil
- Hydrogenated soybean oil
- Safflower oil
- Natural flavour (vegetable source)
- Sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain colour)
- Citric acid (preservative)
- Dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent)
- Cooked in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with THBQ, citric acid and dimethylpolysiloxane)
- Salt (silicoaluminate, dextrose, potassium iodide)
The first thing I don’t get is how there are 17. I can only count 11, unless they are counting every individual oil inside the vegetable oil mix, but then I get 19? Whatever it isn’t important. Let’s go ahead and eliminate the ones that you should already assume like salt, potatoes and oil. What evil does that leave!?
natural flavour (vegetable source)
A typical flavor enhancer they put in, not only to make the fries taste better, but also to make them all taste consistent. It’s like marinating the fries in vegetable stock for flavor, you can even do it at home! Try it.
This is a type of sugar which acts a preservative and color enhancer. This is another case of keeping the fries consistent. Of course, preservatives are needed to transport millions of tons of fries all around the world without having spoilage.
sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain colour)
citric acid (preservative)
These are acid preservatives and color stabilizers. You know how acid keeps food the color you want? Keeping apples with a lemon keeps them from brownings, adding lime to a salad keeps the greens green? Well potatoes quickly turn brown unless you somehow maintain the white color. Also both salt and acid act as preservatives.
dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent)
This is the only ingredient that gave me any pause. I had to actually look it up. It is, as stated, an antifoaming and anti-caking agent. I guess this is just a emulsifier that keeps things from clumping up or creating any unpleasant textures. You know like the thin film that appears on the top of gravy? This makes sure that doesn’t happen. Another move to keep consistency. I found this adorable tidbit while looking for information and an obviously biased website.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) hasn’t found any adverse health effects associated with dimethylpolysiloxane. However, the additive hasn’t undergone any significant safety studies either.”
So I guess this one is guilty until proven innocent!? At least they had the decency to admit that no adverse health effects have been found.
Ok well that was fun. So what do we have in McDonalds french fries? Potatoes, oil, salt, flavor enhancers, and preservatives. This is exactly what you SHOULD expect to find in pretty much any processed food. Do you know why? Because the most important factors are: taste, consistency, cost, and shelf-life. McDonalds needs to ship the fries hundreds of miles from place to place and keep them from spoiling. They use potatoes from different states (maybe even countries) which could have different flavor profiles, however, no matter where you go, the fries taste the same.
It’s science. That is what science looks like when you list it as ingredients.
You know what I was EXPECTING to find when I read the headline? I was expecting to find something like bacon grease, yellow 5, asbestos, arsenic or just straight up “carcinogens.” Obviously none of those are involved. Just preserved potatoes cooked in oil, seasoned with salt. Please read this poignant paragraph from this garbage article.
“At a glance, many of the ingredients above are hazardous to human health, including those which are genetically modified (canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil), hydrogenated (soybean oil), chemically preserved and antifoaming (THBQ, citric acid, dimethylpolysiloxane), and artificially colored (sodium acid pyrophosphate).”
Yes, at a glance, many of the long words are frightening to people who are incapable of thinking for themselves. After about 45 seconds of googling I found out they are all perfectly normal, common, and FDA approved. I especially love how it singles out canola, corn and soybean oil as hazardous to human health. Compared to what? No oil at all? I mean they are french fries, I hope we aren’t forgetting that they are fried.
Basically what I get out of this is McDonalds finally revealed that its fries are fried in … oil. Now we should boycott.