Let’s face it, we have all had a fast food burger at some point. Either out of convenience or craving, it is a cheap meal on the go.
Or is it? Is using the term ‘meal’ being generous?
When you think about it, how is it possible to buy a full hamburger (bun, patty, cheese, and condiments) at a restaurant (which has significant expenses to cover) for less than $1? The answer is probably something you have known deep down inside, but were too afraid to ever acknowledge. In essence, you get what you pay for. Today I came across an article published in Annals of Diagnostic Pathology via an article on Yahoo! in which the authors sampled ‘meat’ from 8 fast food restaurants. They tested the ‘meat’ for water content and performed microscopic analysis for recognizable tissue types. The findings were not all that surprising, but disturbing nevertheless. The tested fast food hamburgers were actually made from very little meat (median, 12.1 %; range 2.1-14.8 %). Approximately half of their weight was made up of water. Besides having high fat and water content, other things found in some of the hamburgers included: ground bone, cartilage, and plant material. Luckily, no brain tissue was present (i.e. no risk of ‘Mad Cow Disease’). Sarcocystis parasites were discovered in 2 hamburgers. Let me highlight something…….ALL THE BURGERS CONTAINED LESS THAN 15% MUSCLE (MEAT), WITH THE LOWEST BEING 2.1%. Now, while eating cartilage, nerves, blood vessels, etc. may sound gross, in reality it is not uncommon. Think about how animals consume meat in the wild (and how humans probably did thousands of years ago). You don’t see a lion with a fork and knife eating a meal….no, they eat everything. The same with most of the animal kingdom. I am not saying it is very appetizing, but it is reality.
This does not just pertain to hamburgers. Chicken and fish nuggets don’t exist in nature. ‘Rib-wiches’ are a delicious, but entirely unnatural phenomenon. These items are cheap, but are highly processed and likely contain very little ‘meat’.
As noted above, you get what you pay for. So, the next time you wonder why the burger at a restaurant costs $15 compared to $1 at a fast food chain, you probably have your answer. Better yet, make the burger yourself at home, this way you know exactly what you are eating.
- Penney TL, Jones NRV, Adams J, Maguire ER, Burgoine T, Monsivais P. Utilization of Away-From-Home Food Establishments, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Dietary Pattern, and Obesity. Am J Prev Med. 2017 Aug 14; PubMed PMID: 28818414