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15 Horrifying Reasons to Never Let Anyone You Love Near a McDonald's
By Sarah Irani
The Golden Arches: the ultimate American icon. Super Size Me taught us that fast food culture brings obesity, heart disease, hypertension and a whole slew of other problems. How bad do you really want that Big Mac? Here are 15 reasons you'll never let anyone you love get near those Golden Arches.
1. Real food is perishable. With time, it begins to decay. It's a natural process, it just happens. Beef will rot, bread will mold. But what about a McDonald's burger? Karen Hanrahan saved a McDonald's burger from 1996 and, oddly enough, it looks just as "appetizing" and "fresh" as a burger you might buy today. Is this real food?
2. You would have to walk 7 hours straight to burn off a Super Sized Coke, fries and Big Mac. Even indulging in fast food as an occasional treat is a recipe for weight gain...unless you're planning to hit each treadmill in the treadmill bay afterwards.
3. Containing less fat, salt and sugar, your pet's food may be healthier than what they serve at McDonald's.
4. In 2007, the employees of an Orlando-area McDonald's were caught on camera pouring milk into the milkshake machine out of a bucket labeled "Soiled Towels Only." That particular restaurant had already been cited for 12 different sanitary violations. Though McDonald's proudly stands by its safety standards, and not every restaurant has such notorious incidents, the setting of a fast food restaurant staffed with low-paid employees at a high turnover rate arguably encourages bending the rules. (McDonald's isn't alone in this, of course - Burger King is actually ranked as the dirtiest of all the fast food chains.)
5. McDonald's supports the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Much of the soy-based animal feed used to fatten fast-food chickens is grown in the Amazon. Are those chicken nuggets really worth acres of irreplaceable trees? (Especially considering how important carbon sinks like the rainforest are to halt global warming!) Fast food supports a completely unsustainable system of agriculture. It's cruel to animals, unhealthy for humans, and bad for the planet.
6. Even Prince Charles, while touring a diabetes center in the United Arab Emirates, commented that banning McDonald's is key to health and nutrition. Don't let the salads and chicken breasts fool you. The "chicken" at McDonald's, by the way, comes with a whole lot more than chicken.
7. As if feeding children high-fat, high-sodium, low-nutrition "food" weren't bad enough, some Happy Meals in 2006 contained toy Hummers. It's as if McDonald's was encouraging a whole generation of kids not only to guzzle food, but to guzzle gas as well. Would you like a few barrels of petroleum with that?
8. The processed fat in McDonald's food (and other fast food) promotes endothelial dysfunction for up to 5 hours after eating the meal. Endothelial tissue is what lines the inside of blood vessels.
9. For those who enjoy sex, take note: erectile dysfunction is connected to endothelial dysfunction. Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me commented that his normally healthy sexual function deteriorated in just one month when he ate only food from McDonald's. Even his girlfriend commented on camera that "he's having a hard time, you know, getting it up."
10. How many cows does it take to keep the world loaded with Big Macs? I had to do a some research and a little math, but according to a brief video inside one of McDonald's 6 meat processing plants, about 500,000 pounds of beef is processed per day, per plant. If an average beef cow weighs 1,150 pounds, that means 2609 cows a day are turned into burgers. That's 952,285 cows per year. And that's just in the United States. Eating a hamburger may not be worse than driving a Hummer, but it's bad. One hamburger patty does not necessarily come from one cow. Think about that. You're eating bits of hundreds of cows.
11. Maybe you just pop in for an inexpensive latte. Watch out for the caramel syrup (Sugar, water, fructose, natural (plant source) and artificial flavor, salt, caramel color (with sulfites), potassium sorbate (preservative), citric acid, malic acid) or the chocolate drizzle (Corn syrup, water, hydrogenated coconut oil, high fructose corn syrup, glycerin, nonfat milk, cocoa, cocoa (processed with alkali), food starch-modified, disodium phosphate, potassium sorbate (preservative), xanthan gum, artificial flavor (vanillin), salt, soy lecithin). Please don't put that stuff into your body. Eat healthy cheap food instead - you can be well and still save cash.
12. Are you a vegetarian with a French fry craving? You better skip McDonald's because their fries actually contain milk (and wheat) and though they're fried in vegetable oil, the oil is flavored with beef extract. (McDonald's famously misled customers for years.)
13. Do you want high blood pressure? Hit the drive-through. Eating a McDonald's chicken sandwich (any of "÷em, take your pick) will give you about 2/3 of the recommended daily amount of sodium. And if you actually do have high blood pressure, that's way more than you really need.
14. Finally unveiled: the secret of the Big Mac's "secret sauce."
Soybean oil, pickle relish [diced pickles, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, vinegar, corn syrup, salt, calcium chloride, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate (preservative), spice extractives, polysorbate 80], distilled vinegar, water, egg yolks, high fructose corn syrup, onion powder, mustard seed, salt, spices, propylene glycol alginate, sodium benzoate (preservative), mustard bran, sugar, garlic powder, vegetable protein (hydrolyzed corn, soy and wheat), caramel color, extractives of paprika, soy lecithin, turmeric (color), calcium disodium EDTA (protect flavor).
Yum. Cheap oil and cheap syrup. Many people depend upon cheap food such as the sort offered at McDonald's, whether due to the economic conditions we currently face or low incomes. So shouldn't we be examining regulations that subsidize corn syrup but consider fruits and vegetables - the building blocks of a healthy body and green planet - to be "speciality" crops? Shouldn't we be promoting urban gardening, community gardens and spreading information about low-cost farmers' markets and CSAs? And focusing on the abundant choices of cheap food that are tasty and green?
15. Still not convinced? Maybe this 1970s trip through McDonaldland will give you enough nightmares to keep your loved ones away forever.
(c) 2009 EcoSalon All rights reserved. View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/
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