With a yearly revenue of more than $100 billion, the fast food industry in America has been growing by leaps and bounds. Thanks to the average American who eats fast food at least once a week, this is one industry whose profits are inversely proportionate to the decreasing levels of health. While we’re not saying you ought to stop eating all fast food completely, it might help to know what goes into many items in order  to make informed choices.

With food safety being the theme this World Health Day, let’s take a look at some shocking facts about fast food:

Eggs
If you think you’re getting all the goodness of eggs when you order that wrap, scramble or breakfast muffin, you’ve got another think coming. Usually made from a concoction called premium egg blend, it can contain special ingredients that include glycerin, a solvent found in soap and shaving cream; dimethylpolysiloxane, a silicone that can also be found in modeling clay; and calcium silicate, a sealant used on roofs and concrete.

Chicken Nuggets
These breaded nibbles seem perfect for when a quick snack. Sadly, they’re usually made of mechanically-separated meat, which is a mixture created when the bones and carcass of a leftover chicken are mixed together in a food processor and pushed through a sieve. This mixture is then molded into a nugget shape, breaded and fried. What’s more, chicken nuggets often contain several beef additives disguised generally with secret names like ‘extract’ or ‘essence’.

Lettuce
Avoiding eggs and meat may keep you safe, right? Wrong. Salads are often not as healthy as what you’d prepare at home and most fast food chains don’t even list the exact ingredients in their offerings. Dusting salad leaves like lettuce with propylene glycol to keep the leaves crisp is a common practice. While it won’t kill you and is considered safe for human consumption, propylene glycol can be found in antifreeze and sexual lubricants.

French Fries
They taste great and go with everything, which is why no fast food meal is complete without a serving of French fries. What we don’t know is that they contain a lot of sodium propionate to prevent bacterial or mold growth. And as if that weren’t enough to render these greasy and starchy items dangerous for your health, most chains will also add powdered sugar to develop that nice outer crispiness you just can’t replicate at home.

Eating out may be convenient but your health will suffer in the long run. While it’s alright to indulge a craving every now and then, switch to preparing your own food with wholesome organic produce and you will reap the health benefits in no time at all.

Read More:
America’s Favorite Fast Foods Made Healthy
Debunk The Junk: How To Make Healthy Choices At Fast Food Restaurants

Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.