Chicken McNuggets Contain Disturbing Additives

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7.24chicken_nuggets_932092029.jpgPosted By Dr. Mercola | July 24 2010

In response to reports that the ingredients may pose health risks, McDonald's China claims that additives in its chicken McNuggets are "harmless".

They said that the use of tertiary butylhydroquinone meets Chinese food safety standards. However, "the chemical is toxic to some extent," according to Liu Qingchun, a nutritionist at the General Hospital of Armed Police Forces.

Bloomberg reports:

"McNuggets served in the U.S. also contain tertiary butylhydroquinone, a petroleum-based product, and dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent used in cosmetics and other goods.

McDonald's Holdings Co. Japan also serves chicken with the additives".

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Most people don't realize this, but McDonald's fare, as unhealthy as it is in general, is even worse in some countries than others.

According to McDonald's, the reason for the differences in ingredients is "local tastes." For example, US McNuggets not only contain more calories and fat than British McNuggets, they and also contain chemical additives not found in the British nuggets, according to a recent CNN report.

And although Bloomberg made it sound like China's McNuggets are tainted with questionable chemicals, it turns out the samechemicals are used in American McNuggets as well.  

The two chemicals in question are:

  1. Dimethyl polysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent used in cosmetics and a variety of other goods
  2. Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a petroleum-based product with antioxidant properties

According to CNN:

"Dimethyl polysiloxane is used as a matter of safety to keep the oil from foaming, Lisa McComb [who handles global media relations for McDonald's] says. The chemical is a form of silicone also used in cosmetics and Silly Putty.

A review of animal studies by The World Health Organization found no adverse health effects associated with dimethyl polysiloxane.

TBHQ [tertiary butylhydroquinone] is a preservative for vegetable oils and animal fats, limited to .02 percent of the oil in the nugget."

Are these Food Additives Really Safe to Eat?

After searching for information about these two chemicals, I'm left with more questions than answers.

At its 19th and 21st meetings, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives determined that tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) was safe for human consumption at levels of 0-0.5 mg/kg of body weight.

More recently, the Codex commission set the maximum allowable limits up to between 100 to as much as 400 mg/kg, depending on the food it's added to – chewing gum being allowed the highest levels of TBHQ.

However, according to CNN:

"One gram (one-thirtieth of an ounce) [of TBHQ] can cause "nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse," according to A Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives."

So what IS TBHQ anyway?

TBHQ, although listed as an "antioxidant," is a SYNTHETIC chemical with antioxidant properties, commonly used as a food stabilizer. It prevents oxidation of fats and oils, thereby extending shelf life of processed foods.

It's used in a wide variety of processed foods, including:

  • Vegetable oils
  • Baked goods
  • Flavoring and spices
  • Margarine
  • Cereals and grains
  • Snack foods like potato chips

But you can also find it in varnishes, lacquers, resins, oil field additives, and pesticide products, and it is commonly used in cosmetics and perfumes to reduce the evaporation rate and improve stability.

So, I decided to check and see how the cosmetics industry rates the chemical.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates TBHQ as a "moderate hazard," but most interestingly, Canada has prohibited and restricted its use in cosmetics.

Perhaps Canada decided to pay attention to the limited research available on this chemical… The EWG lists a number of health hazards associated with TBHQ, such as:

  • One or more animal studies show liver effects at very low doses
  • One or more in vitro tests on mammalian cells show positive mutation results
  • One or more animal studies show biochemical changes at very low doses where the human health implications are not yet well understood
  • One or more animal studies show reproductive effects at high doses

The good news is that it is not suspected to be a persistent toxin, meaning your body is probably able to eliminate it so that it does not bioaccumulate.

As for the anti-foaming agent dimethyl polysiloxane, although it "sounds" bad, it does not appear to have any known toxicity, although I have to wonder if it's because it hasn't undergone any significant safety studies in the first place…

Other Dangerous Ingredients Found on McDonald's Menu

Whether or not TBHQ and dimethyl polysiloxane are necessarily worthy of significant concern, McDonald's foods contain plenty of other ingredients that can seriously harm your health.

If you have not yet seen Morgan Spurlock's documentary Super-Size Me, I highly recommend it. It's a real-life illustration of just how dangerous – life threatening, in fact – a fast food diet can really be! Morgan's life; his physique and his health, dramatically changes in just FOUR WEEKS when he switches to a 100 percent Mickey-D diet.

It's quite clear that fast food leads to obesity and insulin resistance – and just as Spurlock proved in his film, it doesn't take long.

It also doesn't take much: One 15-year study found that those who ate fast food twice a week or more gained 10 pounds more and were twice as likely to develop insulin resistance than those who ate it less than once a week, even after other lifestyle factors were accounted for.

But that's not all.

Many of the foods on their menu, especially those that contain "natural flavors" or "hydrolyzed protein" as ingredients, contain MSG.Glutamic acid (MSG) is a toxic substance that literally kills your brain cells.

For more in-depth information about MSG, I highly recommend reading Dr. Russell's Blaylock's book, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills.

MSG makes the food taste good, no matter what it's made of, and it's inexpensive, making it the perfect processed food additive.

The bottom line is that if you want to stay healthy, and keep your children healthy, you have to avoid fast food and other processed foods, and invest some time in your kitchen, cooking from scratch.

Cooking for your children may actually have extremely far reaching benefits, because it is now well known that dietary changes can prompt epigenetic DNA changes that can be passed on to future generations. For instance, pregnant rats fed a fatty diet had daughters and granddaughters with a greater risk of breast cancer.

Could it be that we're just now starting to see the generational effects of our grandparents' and parents' penchant for processed foods?

Perhaps.

But the good news is you can change the trend, and you can "override" genetic predispositions by choosing your foods wisely today.

Do You Suffer from Biophoton Deficiency?

The more I study nutrition the more I am convinced that we need to eat raw, uncooked, unprocessed food. Yet the average American spends 90 percent of their money on processed food.

In my mind, it's no wonder we have an epidemic of chronic degenerative disease!

Part of the problem is related to the lack of live food.

I've written about biophotons a few times over the years, but it's still an area that many people are unaware of, or have trouble "believing" in. But biophoton research clearly explains the underlying principles of why it's so vital to eat a diet of mostly RAW food.

As you know, without the sun it is virtually impossible for most life forms to exist. For example, we now know that without appropriate sun exposure, you will become deficient in vitamin D, which will have very far ranging consequences for your health. Vitamin D influences up to 3,000 genes (that we know of), and without sufficient amounts of vitamin D, your body becomes susceptible to a staggering amount of diseases.

But you can absorb sun energy via your food as well as through your skin (although this should not be confused with being able to alter your vitamin D status).

Dr. Johanna Budwig from Germany has stated that live foods are electron-rich, and act as high-powered electron donors and "solar resonance fields" in your body to attract, store, and conduct the sun's energy in your body.

The greater your store of light energy, the greater the power of your overall electromagnetic field, and consequently the more energy is available for healing and maintenance of optimal health.

Every living organism emits biophotons or low-level luminescence, and the higher the level of light a cell emits, the greater its vitality and the potential for the transfer of that energy to the individual who eats it. Hence, the more light a food is able to store, the more nutritious it is.

Naturally grown fresh vegetables, for example, and sun-ripened fruits, are rich in light energy.

The capacity to store biophotons is therefore a measure of the quality of your food.

That said, how much light energy do you think processed- and fast foods might have?

I can guarantee you it's not much, if any at all.

I firmly believe it's only a matter of time before these truths will become common scientific- and medical knowledge, but until then, you can help speed things up by sharing what you know with your family and friends.

Taking Control of what You Eat

Remember, taking control of your health requires you to pay close attention to what you eat. Ideally, you'll want to consume as much whole, raw, organic and/or locally grown foods as possible.

That's one of the major reasons why vegetable juicing works so well – you're consuming living raw food!

Most vegetables also have very low carbohydrate levels that minimally disturb insulin metabolism – another important trait of a healthful diet -- but there is something very special about vegetable juicing and eating live raw foods in general.

In addition, I believe optimal health is also largely dependent on eating the right foods for your nutritional type. I think it's so important, in fact, I am now offering the entire Nutritional Typing program to you for free.

Once you've determined your nutritional type, you'll know which foods to add to your diet, and which to limit or avoid when cooking. As I said earlier, reclaiming your kitchen is part and parcel of healthful living, so you know exactly what you're putting in your body.

If you need help to get started, see Colleen Huber's helpful tips on how to eat healthier organic food, free from many additives and preservatives, on a budget.

And if you're "hooked" on fast food and other processed foods, please review my recent article How to Wean Yourself Off Processed Foods in 7 Steps. It's one of the absolute most positive life changes you could ever make!

(Send your news to foodconsumer.org@gmail.com, Foodconsumer.org is part of the Infoplus.com ™ news and information network)