There is no doubting the draw of McDonald’s. It’s like those golden arches are magnets and even from a distance they can pull you in whether you had planned on eating there or not. We’ve all found ourselves pulling off the highway with a sudden, almost uncontrollable, urge for delicious french fries and burgers at a wallet-friendly low price point. But before the next time you find yourself being pulled off the highway towards a McDonald’s restaurant as if your car is stuck in the tractor beam of a UFO, allow us to provide you with 10 reasons why you should not eat food at McDonald’s.
10. Eggs Aren’t Always Just Eggs
McDonald’s has made a big deal in recent years of touting the fact that they use real eggs at their restaurants. However, a closer look reveals that this is only partly true. What we can tell you is that the statement is completely, 100% true when it comes to the iconic Egg McMuffin. This classic and OG of the McDonald’s breakfast menu items is made with a real egg and nothing else. That’s great! So, if that’s your go to breakfast item you can feel good about that. But if you order anything else with eggs, that is where things get a little less than 100%! You see, one thing McDonald’s says in some of their documentation is that “we always start with real eggs.” Start being the operative word there. Eggs that are deemed too small for the Egg McMuffins are sent to a “break room” where they are cracked and turned into liquid eggs that get used for other items such as scrambled eggs, egg whites, etc. If that was all, it wouldn’t be bad at all. However, those liquid eggs have a few things added to them that don’t sound very appetizing – or even natural for that matter. Preservatives and other additives are used in this liquid egg mixture, including the likes of sodium acid pyrophosophate, citric acid, monosodium phosphate and nisin. Why they only use 100% pure eggs for the Egg McMuffin and nothing else is a mystery. If they can do it for one, why can’t they do it for everything? Hopefully one day they will 100% live up to their “real eggs” claims.
9. Most of the Beef is Still Frozen
One of McDonald’s biggest competitors is Wendy’s and one of the biggest distinguishing factors between the two chain’s hamburgers – besides the square vs. circle shape – has been the fresh versus frozen factor. Wendy’s is famous for always using fresh, never frozen, beef in all their burgers – a claim McDonald’s was never able to make. Until recently that is. However, instead of diving right into the fresh meat pool, Mcdonald’s did no more than just dip their toes in. Back a couple years ago MCDonald’s announced that they were going to use only fresh meat – not frozen – but that they were only going to do so with their Quarter Pounder hamburgers. It’s just like how they use 100% fresh eggs – no fillers – but only in the Egg McMuffin. All the other egg menu items get the liquid eggs with added preservatives just like all the other burgers are made using frozen beef patties, not fresh. For some people, this may not be a big deal, but McDonald’s did say that they sold a lot more Quarter Pounders after making the switch to fresh meat, so obviously it is something that matters to enough consumers out there. And if that’s the case, why not do it for more of your hamburgers – especially the most delicious and most important one of all, the Big Mac?!
8. All Those Toys
On the surface, the toys that come with a Happy Meal aren’t bad. In fact they are kind of cute and fun and sure, they may keep your kids happy and quiet for a good 30 minutes – which for some parents is the most amazing 30 minutes of the day. The problem with the toys is that the company uses them as a way to hook in kids at a young age – They use that little Hamburgler race car as a gateway drug to french fries and calorie-heavy Big Macs for life – or so they hope! There is all this outrage about e-cigarette and flavor vape companies advertising and targeting their products towards younger kids and teens, but what about those unhealthy fast food chains like McDonald’s who draw the kids in with toys in order to get their unhealthy, albeit addictive food, into their mouths so that next time they are hungry they plead with their parents to take them back to McDonald’s again and again and again. The Happy Meal was introduced in 1979 and it might surprise you to know that in 2004 said meal accounted for about 20% of sales for the burger chain – which actually made McDonald’s the largest toy distributor in the world!
7. French Fries aren’t Vegetarian
As a vegetarian you probably don’t go to McDonald’s much anyway. But there are times when, because of circumstances, friends, etc, you can’t avoid it and find yourself starving and needing to get something to eat at a McD’s outlet. We all know that McDonald’s has, arguably, the best french fries in the fast food world, and as a vegetarian they would probably seem like the best bet to quench your hunger and enjoy something yummy at the same time. Well, not so fast! While it’s true that the fries don’t contain any meat products in them – they are just potatoes – they are actually made with an oil that is flavored with a meat extract. The company made a big deal years ago about ensuring their vegetarian and vegan customers that their french fries were made in 100% olive oil and not beef fat. And while they technically didn’t lie. They did fail to mention that the fries are treated with a small amount of beef flavor before finding their way into the fryer. A lie of omission if you will. One can only imagine that this beef flavoring prior to frying is a key to making them the great french fries that they are. However, lying to the consumer is not a good look for a company. So, either stop adding the beef flavor or just warn the vegan and vegetarians out there. It is the right thing to do. Although, how often do large corporations do the right thing? But at least now you know.
6. They Offer Delivery
Why sit in a crowded McDonald’s, with sticky floors and questionably clean bathrooms when you can enjoy your Bic Mac, Fries, McNuggets and whatever else you want, in the comfort of your own home. McDonald’s was one of the first fast food joints to get into the delivery game going all the way back to 1993 when they introduced the service in a few locations across the United States. These days McDelivery is available in numerous countries and they have teamed up with Uber Eats to support the service in various locations as well. Whether practicing social distancing or not, eating that Big Mac while sitting on your couch at home is always better than doing so in a restaurant. And if you have kids, doing at home delivery means you can keep them away from those slides and ball pits. Which, while they may be fun, are also Petri dishes for whatever little germs all the other kids have been sneezing and coughing onto those colorful balls. And if they don’t offer delivery in your area, then they most definitely have a drive-thru window that you can take advantage of – although, if you do that, you will probably want to order an extra serving of french fries. Because we all know that one box of fries will be eaten on the drive home!
5. The McNuggets
The McNuggets have been one of the most controversial items on the McDonald’s menu for decades now – with people always questioning just how much of a Chicken McNugget is actual chicken. Well, as a result of McDonald’s trying to be more open about their foods and allay any fears people have, they do say that the McNuggets are made with 100% Grade A USDA chicken. That sure sounds good. But as Christopher Ochner, Ph.D.(a research associate at New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center) pointed out, it says “made with” and not “made of” so “there’s no way of knowing what percentage of the whole nugget is actually chicken.” He also did some detective work and it might interest some people to know that, “White boneless chicken is almost a pure protein, boasting a phenomenal 0.2 protein (grams): kcal ratio with less than 20 percent fat… McNuggets, on the other hand, have a very mediocre 0.046 protein:kcal ratio with 57 percent of kcal from fat. This seems to suggest that the other ingredients, besides chicken, are the primary driver of the macro-nutrient profile.”
4. Didn’t Get Rid of all Artificial Preservatives
As consumers have become more health conscious and more savvy about what they are putting in their bodies, McDonald’s has had to adjust and make concessions in how they produce their food and what goes in it. One of the biggest moves the company made towards producing “cleaner” food came back in September of 2018 when McDonald’s announced that the seven classic burgers sold in the United States would now be free of all artificial preservatives, flavors and colors. Those seven burgers are: The hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, McDouble, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Big Mac. At the time, McDonald’s USA president, Chris Kempczinski said, “We know quality choices are important to our customers, and this latest positive change to our classic burgers demonstrates our committed journey to leading with the customer and building a better McDonald’s.” That really was a big move on the part of the chain, but, as you are probably aware, McDonald’s has more on the menu than those seven burgers. Which means, as much as they understand removing artificial preservatives is important, it wasn’t important enough to remove it from all their food. If you would like to avoid those items, the ones that still have artificial preservatives, colors and flavors, include: Egg McMuffin; Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit; Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddles; Filet-O-Fish; and several of the Signature Crafted Sandwiches.
3. Low Wages For Employees
Ever wonder how fast food at McDonald’s can be so cheap? One of the main reasons they can offer quick service at such low prices is because most of the workers are working in these fast-food restaurants for very low pay. That also includes, no overtime pay or any other benefits of the sort, and holidays are often an afterthought. You’re probably thinking, hey at least they get minimum wage. Well, that was something else McDonald’s tried to put a stop to. As movements were growing fast around the United States to push minimum wage to the $15.00 an hour mark, one of the staunchest detractors of this movement was, you guessed it, McDonald’s. After much backlash, the fast-food giant actually took a step back and in 2019 announced they would no longer oppose the raise of the minimum wage. This is certainly a step in the right direction and McDonald’s stated that they will not use their resources, including lobbyists or staff, to oppose minimum wage increases. Here’s to hoping they become more proactive and raise the wages for their current employees.
2. Your Weight
This is the most obvious and the one we should get out of the way right off the bat. While McDonald’s has tried to introduce “healthy” options over the years, there is no denying that eating Mickey Ds on a regular – or even semi-regular basis – is bad for your health. And we aren’t just talking about the calories – although, those numbers need to be mentioned as well. Let’s take their most popular offering, the Big Mac meal, and break it down for you. A Big Mac, french fries and a coke. Doesn’t sound too bad right? Well, this trio is going to fill you up with about 1080 calories (and for many people, that doesn’t actually fill them up, which means more food and more calories). Depending on your body and fitness level, you might be able to burn 1000 calories walking on a treadmill, at a good pace, for an hour. But remember, that that hour is just burning off your Big Mac meal, in order to actually lose weight it means doing more than that. Looking beyond calories, your Big Mac meal also provides you with over 40g of fat, more than 60g of sugar and 1255mg of sodium which is over 50% of the daily recommended value. Look, if you are treating yourself to a delicious meal from McDonald’s every now and then, it is probably okay, but do it with any kind of regularity and your body won’t be very happy with you.
1. Animal Cruelty
McDonald’s talks a pretty good game as far as the treatment of animals goes. But they don’t appear to have been walking the walk to match the talk they’ve been talking. The official line from the company is as follows, “We believe treating animals with care and respect is an integral part of our commitment to serving McDonald’s customer’s safe food.” That is exactly what we all want to hear from a company that serves us food. However, in 2018, animal rights organizations got together and broadcast a VR experience meant to take people into the factory farms where the chickens are raised. According to reports, there was some disturbing animal cruelty taking place. Whether they knew the negative report was coming or not, McDonald’s did announce – right around the same time – that they were going to improve and raise the standards of care for their chickens by 2024. This is a step in the right direction at least, and it seems like McDonald’s is taking these claims seriously, and doing something about it. Because while many people have no problem with eating meat, many also take issue with cruelty to animals in order for us to eat them. Let’s hope McD’s truly heads in the right direction.