You’ll Never Eat These Fast Food Items Again Once You See What They’re Made From

Let’s be honest: Some fast food tastes pretty good, and giving it up probably isn’t your top priority. But there’s a reason it tastes so delicious — and it has a lot to do with the not-so-good-for-you ingredients that go into making it.

Do you actually know what’s in the foods you order from your favorite fast food restaurants? If you’ve been trying to eat healthier, looking at this list might help. From cancer-causing chemicals to massive amounts of the worst kind of sugar, here’s what you’re really putting into your body.

1. Dunkin’ Donuts: Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Bagel

Delicous as it may be, a bacon breakfast sandwich is usually terrible for your heart. | McDonald’s

A Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast sandwich might taste better with bacon, but among its many ingredients lies an all-too-common chemical called sodium nitrite. This food additive enhances the flavor of cured meats, but it’s one of many elements that make processed meat so bad for your heart.

Next: This ingredient doesn’t even make the food taste better.

2. Chick-fil-A: Chicken Sandwich

Chicken burger on wooden table

Chick-fil-A’s bun contains carcinogenic chemicals. | iStock.com/SergeyPlyusnin

A Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich features a toasted, “buttered” bun. The oil used on the restaurant’s buns contains yellow 5, which is a common food coloring that some research has identified as a possible carcinogen when consumed regularly.

Next: This menu item from Taco Bell might not be good for you, but not for the reasons you think.

3. Taco Bell: Crunchy Taco Supreme

Taco Bell's Doritos Tacos Locos

Taco Bell relies on artificial food coloring. | Taco Bell via Facebook

Taco Bell’s seasoned beef filling contains caramel coloring, as do many sodas you might order along with any fast food meal. This food additive is mostly used to give items a more desirable color, but it’s a potential carcinogen.

Next: You might want to think twice before ordering chicken here.

4. McDonald’s: Chicken McNuggets

Chicken nuggets

Chicken nuggets have ingredients you’d want to avoid. | OlgaMiltsova/iStock/Getty Images

It’s advised that you don’t consume too many products containing sodium acid pyrophosphate, an ingredient found in many fast food products, such as chicken nuggets. It’s present in larger amounts in fast food than it is in cake mix, for example.

Next: Sorry, not even salads are totally safe.

5. Burger King: Garden Side Salad

Don’t overdo Burger King’s garden salad. | Burger King

Of all the questionable things you could order at Burger King, is a side salad really something you should worry about? Probably. To keep their lettuce nice and crisp, many establishments use propylene glycol, which is generally safe, unless you eat too much of it.

Next: Your favorite summer treat has a dark side.

6. Dairy Queen: Vanilla Cone

sot serve in a cone

Soft serve contains guar gum. | Pixabay/iStock

Most soft serve ice cream served at fast food restaurants contains guar gum, a food additive that was a major ingredient in a brand of diet pills that were banned in the 1980s. It might not do much harm in small amounts, but in excess, it’s not a good thing to continuously put into your body.

Next: You don’t want too much of this ingredient in your body.

7. Arby’s: French Toast Sticks

This french toast is not like your mother used to make. | iStock

These breakfast treats, like many of the items on this list, contain large amounts of high fructose corn syrup. Sugar is something you don’t always expect to find in certain foods, but a lot of it can cause a variety of health problems.

Next: This menu item is healthier than it used to be, but it’s not perfect.

8. Wendy’s: French Fries

Wendy’s fries are cooked in vegetable oil. | Wendy’s

Aside from sodium acid pyrophosphate, an order of Wendy’s fries contains large amounts of vegetable oils. You’re much better off consuming these oils than trans fats, but if large amounts of oil bothers you, you probably shouldn’t eat a lot of fried foods.

Next: Don’t order this donut.

9. Dunkin’ Donuts: Boston Kreme Donut

Dunkin’ Donuts uses palm oil. | iStock

The Boston Kreme filling contains palm oil, which contains about 50% saturated fat. While saturated fat isn’t nearly as dangerous as trans fat, too much saturated fat can still raise your cholesterol and make you sick. One grocery store chain also stopped selling products using palm oil to preserve the environment.

Next: You might want to skip this go-to dessert.

10. McDonald’s: Baked Apple Pie

Baked Apple Pie mcDonald's

Are duck feathers McDonald’s secret recipe? | McDonald’s via Facebook

Ordering a slice of apple pie with your Happy Meal doesn’t just expose you to massive amounts of sugar and artificial ingredients. This dessert also contains L-Cysteine, a “dough conditioner” derived from duck feathers.

Next: You wouldn’t expect your breakfast to have this additive in it, but it does.

11. McDonald’s: Hash Browns

McDonald’s iconic hash browns aren’t very good for you. | McDonald’s

Thinking about adding hash browns to your breakfast order at the last minute? You might want to reconsider. McDonald’s hash browns contain sodium acid pyrophosphate and “natural beef flavor,” which is probably mostly not real meat.

Next: The cheese on this menu item is (mostly) fake.

12. Burger King: Cheeseburger

Burger King Opens First European WHOPPER Bar

Burger King cheezeburgers are packed with additives. | Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

Question: Is there any actual “cheese” in American Cheese? Answer: technically, yes. But according to the Food and Drug Administration, it’s illegal to label American Cheese as actual cheese because it contains too many additives. You don’t want that on your cheeseburger.

Next: You should probably order a healthier side than this.

13. Chips

Doritos contain tons of artificial dyes. | Frito-Lay

If the restaurant you’re ordering from doesn’t sell their own chips, chances are, whichever brand you choose contains artificial dyes — especially if they’re flavored. Cool Ranch flavored Doritos, for example, contain both Red 40 and Yellow 5.

Next: It’s not just the food you have to worry about …

14. Anything wrapped in wax packaging

Don’t trust anything served in a wax wrapper. | iStock

Did you know the paper packaging many restaurants wrap around your to-go orders actually contains a cancer-causing chemical called BHA? This chemical has the potential to find its way onto your food and cause harm in the long-term.

Next: This might make you think twice about buying breakfast here.

15. Subway: Steak, Egg, & Cheese Sandwich

| Scott Olson/Getty Images

Subway holds a reputation for offering plenty of healthy sandwich options. Some customers have expressed concern about the “premium egg blend” used in the restaurant chain’s breakfast sandwiches, which contains chemicals also used in antifreeze, soap, and concrete.

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