For most people no meal at McDonald’s is complete without ordering their delicious fries. What many of them don`t know, is that the world famous French fries were added to the menu only as an afterthought. They replaced the plain potato chips in 1949, nine years after the first ever McDonald’s opened up in California.
It is important however to note that this article does not suggest that these tasty fries are terrible for you. There are many fast food menus that are far worse for your health after all. Most of the information below is based on a yet to be published finding by Dr Christopher Ochner (a research associate at New York Obesity Nutrition Research centre at St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital centre). A few years ago, Ochner who holds a doctorate of clinical psychology conducted his own diet experiment. Every day for two months he ate one meal at the fast food restaurant.

McDonald’s fries are shockingly not vegetarian

To make French fries, you have to deep fry some potatoes, an otherwise healthy carbohydrate in something fatty and greasy. McDonald’s spuds get dunked in an oil bath twice. According to Ochner they are fried once before freezing and shipping them to restaurants, where they are fried again. Below is an extensive explanation on what goes on in the hot potato bath.

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Canola oil: this oil is generally considered “good for human consumption” when compared to others in its category. However, it`s still loaded with calories and therefore will make you gain weight if you consume too much of it. Due to its high price, Ochner speculates that McDonald’s most probably uses less of the good stuff and more of the others like corn or soybean oil.

Hydrogenated soybean oil: when regular soybean oil gets hydrogenated, its unsaturated fats become saturated fats, making it in turn easier to cook and helps boost preservation. The downside is that the new fat also becomes a trans-fat which has been strongly linked to disease.

Natural beef flavour: when McDonald’s switched over to vegetable oil blend, they did not want the fries to lose their famous flavour. They therefore opted to add natural beef flavour to the blend. In 2002, McDonald’s paid $10 million to members of a vegetarian Hindu community who had sued them for failing to disclose how the food was prepared. This no doubt proves that the fries are not vegetarian after all.

Citric acid: this “safe to ingest” preservative has something alarming on how it works. The acid keeps McDonald’s fries fresh for months without breaking down at all, continuing to look like you bought them yesterday.

TBHQ (Tertiary butylhydroquionone): the super potent preservative, is what helps citric acid keep long-dead fries fresh. Though it is said to be safe, animal studies have linked it to stomach ulcers and damage to DNA.

DEXTROSE: This is another word for sugar and is the third ingredient, following potato and oil. This sugar is necessary in making the fries taste better and also increases addiction and cravings. New research shows that the body may convert sugar into body fat faster than it can convert fat found in foods to body fat. This means sugar may be worse for you than fat.

DIMETHYLPOLYSILOXANE: this is an anti-foaming agent used to speed up the process (no foam spilling over) when water is added during the boiling of potatoes. Though there is no proof that ingesting this stuff is harmful, why take the risk?

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McDonald’s French fries have questionable ingredients, a high amount of fat content and a minimal amount of nutrition (protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants). The sole idea is not to completely circumvent the idea of taking fries rather you eat them less often. By ordering the small versus the larger fries, you will avoid 270 calories, 14 grams fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 34 grams of carbohydrates.