Take Time to Care: About what's in the fast food you eat

Let me say this first: I've never been a big fast food eater. While my dad needs his fast food fix, it's never been something that I've loved. I always preferred mom's homemade meals (unless it was salmon patties) and I now prefer my own meals.

That information makes it easy for me to tell you this: fast food isn't good. Not only does it taste bad, but it's filled with non-food ingredients:

Eaten in large amounts, McNuggets can be toxic b/c the FDA allows dimethylpolysiloxane, a type of silicone, and tertiary butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), a form of butane. If we saw either of these chemicals in our house, we would likely stay clear of them for fear that they were harmful. If our child were to grab hold of a bottle, we'd panic and call poison control. However, when it comes to fast food, the chemicals are considered safe in small amounts. Really? Butane is edible? Who knew?

Oh. Wait. There are side effects. tBHQ is known to cause nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.

This post isn't to dog McDonald's. It's to ask you to take time to care about what you're feeding your kids. Is it really that hard to make a sandwich before you leave the house. We picnic all over the place. You can, too. I promise.

I challenge you to bring all your own snacks and picnics for three weeks. Don't drive through the fast food lane when you're kids are hungry. Plan ahead. Bring them a snack. See how you all feel afterwards.

Some references:
Omnivore's Dilemma 


DandW said...

Do you have a salmon pattie recipe? If so, please share it.

Kim said...

Ok, so whenever you mention chemicals, I have to consult my resident chemical engineer for his take on the subject :) Now, I'm not defending the McNugget, I personally go for Chick-fil-a b/c of the REAL chicken they use. Mostly I find them offensive b/c they're blended. Blech.

From my "chemical man":
The fat & salt in mcnuggets will kill you far quicker than either of these chemicals (still doesn't mean they should be eaten). If people are concerned about chemical components of TBHQ, they should be far more concerned about the benzene ring than the isobutane structure. Buy the book 'Napoleon's Buttons'. It should help with the fear of chemicals, also will definitively show that when you combine chemicals, the resulting molecule isn't always the sum of its parts. :)

check the chemical structures in these Wiki articles
TBHQ wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tert-Butylhydroquinone
Butane wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isobutane

PDMS wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethyl_polysiloxane - has no known toxicity as a food additive
Fun fact - PDMS is also used in silly putty.

Christopher Kimball, the founder and publisher of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and host of the syndicated cooking show America’s Test Kitchen, says he suspects these chemicals are required for the nuggets to hold their shape and texture after being extruded into nugget-shaped molds.

Kim's comment: Ugh. I can't stand it when he uses the word "extruded" when it comes to food! So to sum up, I don't think they're yummy OR good for you, but hopefully not toxic!

Kim said...

He sent an update. Apparently, he doesn't have much to do at work today ;)

Followup...just saw an interesting link in one of the articles - 6 scary-sounding food additives - and what they really are

Excerpt: 2. Tertiary butylhydroquinone

In his book "The Omnivore's Dilemma," Michael Pollan wrote that this additive –- known as TBHQ -– was "perhaps the most alarming ingredient" in a chicken nugget. He listed a bunch of terrifying symptoms that might result from ingesting a single gram of the stuff. Of course, to get a whole gram, you'd need to eat over 300 nuggets at one sitting. So while TBHQ is pretty nasty stuff, it probably won't do anything bad to you in the short term. It's an antioxidant; it keeps cooking oil from going bad. Derived from petroleum, it's also popularly used in paints and varnishes.

.....from your debunker of food & packaging myths..... :)