I eat McDonald’s every day, ‘cause I’m a broke college student. It’s a cheap meal that I like. My friends keep ragging on me about how unhealthy it is, but its only one dollar. Plus, they’re all overweight and I’m a good size. I know everyone says it’s bad for you, but is there actually any evidence?
Dear McChicken Eater,
Several documentaries have been made about fast food chain practices and nutrition. McDonald’s customers like David Whipple have even gone so far as to see how long their hamburgers and nuggets will last before rotting. According to the Huffington Post, Whipple kept a hamburger from 1999, which looks no different today than it did the day he bought it.
Although these investigations and experiments may ruin your appetite, why does McDonald’s choose to use these products? The answer is the same reason you continue to buy it, it’s cheap.
How are cutting corners with ethical practices costing both McDonald’s and their customer? To answer this question, let’s examine the beloved McChicken. According to the Huffington Post, McDonald’s gets their chicken from Brazil, where these birds are packed so tight they can’t move and pumped with hormones to reach an edible size. If they survive these living conditions they have the pleasure of becoming “mechanically separated” chicken.
What is mechanically separated chicken you might ask? This practice involves blending the meat, bones and carcass – everything but the feathers – into a pretty pink paste which McDonald’s shapes into a nugget or patty and deep-fries.
A former McDonald’s employee testified to this chicken delicacy when he revealed, “I accidentally left a whole bag of about 100 chicken nuggets out on a counter for way too long. They melted into a pool of liquid. I never understood why, but they were completely indiscernible as being the nuggets I once knew.”
Even the McDonald’s employee wasn’t able to solve this meat mystery because in the case of cheap food and unethical practices, ignorance is bliss.
Patrick Holden, Soil Association of the UK, shed light on these evolving practices.
“We, the public, are ignorant,” he said. “And it is our ignorance that the food companies are capitalizing on. Until the public ask difficult questions, they can get away with it.”
We stop at chains like McDonald’s for a quick meal and often let the dollar menu trick us into believing that we’re saving ourselves not only time but money. However, according to a study conducted by the Society of Teachers and Famity Medicine (STFM) comparing the longterm cost of whole foods from local supermarkets side by side with the cost of a fast food diet, fast food proves that McChicken, along with the other thrilling options of the dollar menu, are anything but cheap. STFM found that the average cost of whole foods per year was an average of $5,019 compared to the cost of a fast food diet weighing in at an average of $10,298 per year.
If you want to save your health and your money as a busy college student, start looking on Pinterest for healthy recipes, make a trip to your local Martin’s Supermarket and plan and prepare your meals for the week. If you look forward to a fresh, hot dinner, but cooking is the last thing on your mind after a long day, the crock pot will become your best friend.