The Bizarre Ingredient Found in Many Fast Food Items
We all know we should get enough dietary fiber in a healthy eating regime, but what if I told you that some of that fiber (found in processed foods) comes in the form of wood pulp? Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and other popular fast food joints have found a way to beat inflation, and keep the poor, the hungry, the fast-fed nation fattened up. Wood pulp in burgers.
Sure, they list the ingredient for all to see, but most wouldn’t know that microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) or “powdered cellulose” in plain English is wood pulp.
This has been a surreptitious addition to fast food burgers for several years now, and it seems to be on the rise. Oh, and it isn’t just in your burger. It is also being added to fries, shakes, sauces, onion rings, and just about every other item served at a fast food chain. It even allows fast food companies to use less ‘chicken’ in their nuggets and ‘cream’ in their ice cream. Yuck.
Wood pulp, or MCC, is an emulsion-stabilizing, cling-improving, anti-caking substance with many names. Sometimes it is called powdered cellulose (cellulose powder), other times it is called methylcellulose or cellulose gum. It is non-absorbable fiber that allows them to manufacture cheap food even cheaper – and you can bet it is lacking any nutritional value if their food had any to begin with.
Want to think again about hitting the drive through where those Golden Arches reside? If not, maybe, maybe a little bit of horse meat in your burger (admitted by Burger King) will turn you off, as it has for so many others.
McDonald’s specifically ranked highest on the list with cellulose integrated into 14 of their menu items, including their renowned fish fillets, chicken strips and biscuits.
The king could lose his crown over this:
Burger King ranked second on the list with 13 menu items containing wood fiber. What’s worse is that many cellulose-laden ingredients, such as their honey mustard, bbq sauce, and cheese blends, can be found in multiple items on the menu, making the filler difficult to avoid.
It is unclear just how safe adding wood pulp to your diet is. Nevermind, though. The FDA has approved powdered cellulose for human consumption in moderate doses.
Studies on the effects of microcrystalline cellulose are on-going, but do you really want to add wood pulp to the list of other toxic ingredients in your food?
Last time I checked, the public isn’t full of beavers, guinea pigs, ants, termites, or goats. Our diets might want to change accordingly.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.