Before You Eat That Breakfast Sandwich, Read This

Consider the egg. Simple, delicious, and incredibly easy to prepare.

And yet, if you persue the nutritional listings of America’s favorite fast food restaurants, quite a different picture of the egg emerges — and it’s anything but simple.

I took a look at the published ingredient lists for 7 fast food mainstays that sell breakfast:

McDonald’

Burger King

Chik-fil-A

Subway

Dunkin’ Donuts

Hardee’s

Starbucks

I wanted to know just one thing: what’s in their “eggs?”

I found several interesting ingredients, and one big surprise (at least it was surprising to me). I fully expected that McDonald’s or Burger King would take the prize for the most unrecognizable ingredients, but neither one stacks up to the egg manipulation of Subway. McDonald’s still takes second prize, but as you’ll see, it’s the “Eat Fresh” folks whose list is easily the most baffling.

What’s most intriguing is the comparison between lists. For example, Hardee’s sells its customers eggs with only one preservative added, while Subway sells a concoction that includes eggs and “premium egg blend” containing at least ten preservatives and additives nowhere to be found on most of the other lists.

Let me stress that this information has been published by the companies and is there for all to see. AND this is for the EGG INGREDIENT ONLY. This does not include the many extras that are used to make the “bread” or “sausage” or “bacon” or “cheese.”

1. SUBWAY - eat fresh?

Ingredients: Egg Omelet Patty (Regular): Whole eggs, egg whites, water, nonfat dry milk, premium egg blend (isolated pea product, salt, citric acid, dextrose, guar gum, xanthan gum, extractive of spice, propylene glycol and not more than 2% calcium silicate and glycerin to prevent caking), soybean oil, butter alternative (liquid and hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavors, beta carotene (color), TBHQ and citric acid added to protect flavor, dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent added), salt, beta-carotene (color).

A few words on the ingredients:

  • Propylene glycol, a solvent for food colors and flavorings, is also used in anti-freeze, to lubricate air-conditioner compressors, and in deodorant sticks.

  • Guar gum is a thickening agent.

  • Xanthan Gum is used to prevent oil separation.

  • Glycerin is a solvent that is found in soap, moisturizers and some brands of shaving cream.

  • TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) is used to preserve vegetable oils against oxidation, and can also be found in varnishes, lacquers, and perfumes.

  • dImethylpolysiloxane is a type of silicone used to prevent cooking oil from foaming after repeated uses. It’s also found in Silly Putty and many lubricants.

  • Calcium silicate is used to prevent caking and is also a popular antacid. In addition, it’s a sealant used on roads, roofs and concrete.

2. MCDONALDS - you lovin' this?

Ingredients: Pasteurized whole eggs with sodium phosphate (preservative), citric acid and monosodium phosphate (added to preserve color), nisin preparation (preservative). Prepared with liquid margarine: Liquid soybean oil and hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color).

A few words on the ingredients:

  • Mono and diglycerides are used to blend substances together that would otherwise not blend well (oil and water, for instance).

  • Potassium sorbate is a preservative that inhibits the growth of molds and yeasts. It’s also used in personal care products as a replacement for the controversial chemical, paraben.

Cottonseed oil, when fully hydrogenated, is 94% saturated fat. 3. CHICK FIL-A - they didn't invent the chicken, but they did invent this

Ingredients: Whole egg, citric acid, butter oil (soybean oil, palm kernel oil, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, TBHQ and citric acid added as preservatives, and artificial color).

A few words on the ingredients:

  • Palm kernel oil is roughly 50% saturated fat.

  • TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) is explained in the Subway section above.

4. DUNKIN DONUTS - American runs on chemicals

Ingredients: Whole Eggs, whole milk, soy oil, water, modified foodstarch, salt, xanthan gum, white pepper, citric acid.

5. BURGER KING - Your way?

Ingredient: Whole eggs, skim milk (water, nonfat dry milk) vegetable oil (soy and/or corn oil), salt, xanthan gum, natural egg flavor, natural butter flavor.

6. HARDEE’S - Where food's the . . . ?

Ingredients: Whole eggs, citric acid, 0.15% water added as carrier for citric acid (Citric acid added to preserve color).

7. STARBUCKS - more like star-YUCK!

Ingredients: egg white patty (egg whites, whey powder, unmodified corn starch, salt, nonfat dry milk, butter flavor [sunflower oil, natural flavors, medium chain triglycerides, palm kernal oil], xanthan gum, guar gum, liquid pepper extract)

Just to give you an example of the other ingredients, other than egg: Bun, cheese and bacon: unbleached enriched wheat flour [flour, malted barley flour, reduced iron, niacin, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin b1), riboflavin (vitamin b2), folic acid], water, whole wheat flour, farina, yeast, sugar, molasses, flaxseed, honey, wheat gluten, preservatives [calcium propionate, sorbic acid], salt, soybean oil, rye, corn cereal, dextrose, ground corn, monoglycerides, brown rice, oats, soybeans, triticale, barley, millet, caramel color, whey, soy flour, nonfat milk), reduced fat cheddar cheese (pasteurized part-skim milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, vitamin a palmitate), turkey bacon (turkey, water, sugar, salt, natural smoke flavoring, natural flavoring, cottonseed oil). contains: wheat, soy, egg, milk

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