Back in the good old 70’s, it was considered a treat to visit McDonalds for a Big Mac. It was an occasion in itself. The food tasted good, the surroundings were clean and pleasingly ultra-modern, and the service was, of course, fast.
Unless you were a vegetarian, everything seemed totally above board; we had no reason to mistrust the food industry. Fast and processed foods were there to make our lives better, giving us more free time to watch The Six Million Dollar Man or play Space Invaders.
What was once an occasional visit, is now for some a daily occurrence, and what were once – we assume – ‘real’ ingredients, have now become something far more sinister.
The Big Mac may well be an icon of that period and one that has endured, but like the flared collars and denims of the era, the real ingredients seem almost obsolete now. And as the ingredients have degenerated, so our health has crumbled too.
Forty years on and the impact of fast and processed foods is visible in our flared waistlines and in the industrious doctors’ waiting rooms across the country where we complain of aches, pains and far more truculent illnesses.
Mackey D’s (the affectionate term for McDonalds – the equivalent of calling Charles Manson ‘Chuckie M.’) website contains a laughable section on nutrition.
The 100% pure beef patty they purport the Big Mac to contain could indeed be 100% beef, but which parts of the cow does it consist of, and did it spend its ‘life’ in conditions of abject misery? How nutritious are the body parts of animals ‘raised’ in these facilities and subjected to what amounts to torture; pumped full of chemicals and hormones; and fed the remains of other animals?
Moving on to the bun: according to British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to make bread you require flour, water, yeast, sugar and sea salt.
According to the “registered dieticians” (presumably headed by Homer Simpson) at McDonald’s to make a Big Mac bun you also require the following concoction:
- high fructose corn syrup
- soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil
- calcium carbonate
- calcium sulfate
- ammonium sulfate
- ammonium chloride
- sodium stearoyl lactylate
- ascorbic acid
- mono- and diglycerides
- ethoxylated monoglycerides
- monocalcium phosphate
- calcium peroxide
- calcium propionate (preservative)
- sodium propionate
All of which you can find growing in your backyard of course. Apparently, the sesame seeds are real though (but probably GM).
The Big Mac sauce contains another role call of natural wonders such as more high fructose corn syrup, polysorbate 80 (which damages fertility), potassium sorbate, propylene glycol alginate (may inhibit the nutrients of food it is mixed with – so not a problem in this case), and vegetable protein.
Vegetable protein sounds benign doesn’t it? It’s got ‘vegetable’ and ‘protein’ in the title and what could be more healthy than that? We all need vegetables and protein, right? Well that’s what we are supposed to think. You may also know it by its more pernicious name of monosodium glutamate. Yes, good ol’ MSG. Everyone’s favourite excitotoxin – the chemical transmitter that excites brain cells to death and precipitates neurological disorders is a big player in the Big Mac.
[adsense]And that’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce (which is genetically modified to last longer on shop shelves and probably in your gut too, besides having little-to-no nutritional value).
Given that the Oxford Dictionary, defines ‘food’ as any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth, it’s risible that McDonalds can even mention the word ‘food’ on their website, or sell the Big Mac as quality fare.
As a nation and as a species we need to eliminate processed faux food and pay more attention to the often carefully worded and misleading claims on labels, websites and sales literature of these industry monsters. For our own sake. Every time we buy a Big Mac, we are condoning cruelty to animals, including ourselves.
Obesity in the US is at epidemic proportions. According to Eric Schlosser in his book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, obesity claims 300,000 lives a year. Not as many lives as genocidal Addy H or Gengy K, but a reasonable number all the same.
If visits to the golden arches were limited to once a month or less, then the damage we were doing to our bodies, the bodies of our children and animal life would be greatly reduced, but at the rate we are headed, the only golden arches we will see, will be formed by daffodils placed above our graves. Genetically mummified. Amen.
Please tell us your feelings about McDonalds and their misleading health information regarding the Big Mac by leaving a comment.
images: collegeboredom.com, flickr.com