In the history of fast food establishments, there might not be a more famous one than McDonald’s. Known for their tasty burgers, crispy french fries and numerous other greasy, tasty meals, the place is like a haven for those who love to stuff themselves with everything that’s wrong with being healthy—yet it’s too good to turn down. As a new vegetarian, I can honestly say that giving up fast food has been one of the most difficult things about the decision to not eat meat. Rather than going through the drive-thru somewhere and getting the aforementioned, greasy tastiness, I’m forced to eat something healthier. After reading this article, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if you make the same decision to boycott McDonald’s, because there are some absolutely terrifying facts about the place—and I give you the top 10 here.
10. The Popular McRib is Packaged Like a Frozen Pizza
One of the most sought-out and popular menu items that McDonald’s offers—even though it’s on a limited basis—the McRib sandwich isn’t exactly the healthiest or most desirable thing. While it may be tasty, don’t be fooled by the impression that it’s trying to give with the fake bones that are meant to give it a true rib look, or the idea that it’s great meat at all. It looks like a brick and frozen pizza when packaged, meaning it’s pretty gross to actually eat.
9. McDonald’s Is the Largest Distributor of Toys in the World
This might have absolutely nothing to do with the food on the menu—other than the fact that customers have to order it to receive a toy—but it was something that I found extremely interesting. Thanks to their Happy Meals that target kids at an extremely young age for brand loyalty purposes, the fast food chain is actually the world’s largest distributor of toys. That’s right, for as much as people eat at the restaurant, it puts the chain as the top place for people to get toys.
8. Processed Fat
You might not feel like you’re doing much harm to your body whenever you take a bite out of something that you just ordered at McDonald’s, but, should you eat it enough, the amount of processed fat in the meals at this place will literally kill your body. That’s because the type of fat in McDonald’s meals promotes dysfunction in the tissue that lines your blood vessels. Sure, that may sound all technical or medical, but I trust those brainiacs who are doing the research and telling me that I shouldn’t eat it than what my appetite wants me to.
7. Walk It Out
While the meals themselves at McDonald’s taste delicious—I’ve said that about 100 times already—this might be one of the craziest facts about how bad it really is for you. For those who order and consume a Big Mac and Super Sized Coke and fried, you would have to walk for seven hours straight to burn off all of the fat and calories. So, even if you think eating at Micky D’s once a month is OK, it takes a lot of trips on the treadmill to burn off that one visit to McDonald’s.
6. Pet Food is Healthier
I totally understand that people love their pets as if they were their own children, but that doesn’t mean that those furry friends should actually eat healthier than you, right? That’s because the food that you feed them actually contains less salt, sugar and fat than any given meal on the McDonalds menu. It says something about a place—and your nutrition—when the artificial stuff your dog or cat eats is actually better than what you’re filling yourself up with.
5. It’s Worse to Get a Salad Than a Burger
Yep, you read that correctly. Just when you thought you were doing the health conscious thing by opting to get a salad as opposed to a greasy, juicy burger, something like this gets you to reconsider. According to nutritional info, the Southwest Salad with Chicken actually contains more calories and fat than that of the BBQ Ranch Burger that McDonald’s sells. Anytime “fresh” veggies and dressing is worse for a person’s body is a warning sign, if you ask me.
4. Their Breakfast Isn’t the Healthiest Thing
As much as everyone loves waking up early enough for Micky D’s breakfast, be prepared to pack on the calories, because there is nearly 1,100 calories in just the regular meal—and this goes up to nearly 1,200 when adding a biscuit. Thinking that you’ll be healthier by getting just the egg whites? Think again, because there’s still just over 1,000 calories when doing that. So as good as an Eg McMuffin might taste, you should feel pretty guilty after eating it in just under five minutes.
3. The French Fries Have 17 Ingredients
A lot of restaurants are preaching all natural ingredients and less being more—not necessarily McDonald’s, though. While some other places focus on keeping things as fresh and simple as possible, the fast food giant claims to have 17 different ingredients that go into their french fries alone. Sure, these golden straws of potato goodness are delicious, but that doesn’t mean they contain things that you want to be putting in your body—a lot of which are processed materials.
2. A Cheeseburger Looks About the Same after Years of Sitting Around
Rather than getting moldy, a man named David Whipple revealed that a 14-year-old McDonald’s burger actually looked like it never aged at all. When a piece of food doesn’t rot over time, that’s usually a sign that something is wrong, right? Regardless of the reason it doesn’t show any signs of aging, I wouldn’t dare take a bite—unless, of course, I want to spend the night nursing a killer stomach ache or throwing up.
1. The Chicken Nuggets Are Pretty Interesting
Now, as I mentioned above, I’m not longer someone who eats meat—so this is something I don’t need to worry about—but it’s something that may sway your decision-making the next time you do decide to go with chicken nuggets. That’s because what ends up looking like golden, little nuggets once you actually get them, actually started off as, “mechanically-separated meat,” meaning that it’s not at all the freshest or cleanest process to manufacture. To put it bluntly, it’s the leftover pieces of a chicken that is mixed together, going from a liquid-like texture to a nugget. If that sounds tasty, go ahead and make your decision to eat them—I’ll be fine with another option, though.
Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images