Monday, June 25, 2007

Fast Food - hidden ingredients

Need help eating out less? Read this.

Because of my sons' soy allergy I have read a lot of nutritional info on the websites of sit-down and fast food restaurants. My hope was that I could at least go somewhere like ChickFilA and get a grilled chicken breast plain and some fruit.

I learned something really gross - at most fast food restaurants, their ground beef and chicken breasts are cooked or reheated with "vegetable shortening" or even "butter flavored vegetable shortening" - AKA Trans Fat. Yuck! Would you pull out some meat and cook it in shortening?!?! I hope not! That is just unacceptable. That means when you think you are ordering a healthy grilled chicken sandwhich, its really not healthy at all. Its loaded with fat and not the good kind!

If its fried, like a chicken nugget, its probably made with trans fat in the bread coating (soy for sure) then deep fried then frozen and re-fried at the restaurant. They do the same for fries (including the ones you buy at the store - read the back). Double yuck. Dont be fooled by the clever marketing campaigns of places like McDonalds - white meat or not, those chicken nuggest are NOT good for your kids. The only thing my kids eat there are the apples - minus the sugary, yucky carmel dipping sauce.

So just because they say they cook with vegetable oil - which usually means soybean oil since its the cheapest - that doesnt meant it doesnt have trans fat. And you need to ask - is it really oil they are cooking with (which doesnt have trans fat and is liquid) or shortening (which is solid in cooler temps and does have trans fat)? Remember "0 Trans Fat per serving" means that there is trans fat in the product but just less than the FDA's rule allowed trans fat per serving.

Its ideal to eat at home of course and cook everything on your own with fresh, non-processed ingredients. We go out with friends or to church several times a week and I always pack things for the kids, usually a sandwhich on whole wheat with almond butter and all-fruit jelly (peanut allergy too here) and some grapes or something. I myself am now off of soy since Im nursing and I was feeling badly about having it. Even though nothing in our house has soy, you cant eat out without eating out unless you are very, very careful. Unfortunately at a lot of sit-down restaurants its the same story.

Im happy to say that one restaurant is trying to help those of us with allergys. Wendy's cooks their hamburgers fresh (not frozen) and with no shortening or oils. Their new artisan bread is baked fresh daily and has no trans fat or soy - its actually made with olive oil (a good fat). No its not grass-fed organic beef ;), but we cant always afford that anyways and certainly not all the meat I cook is organic. So if we are out and about and need an occasionaly meal-rescue for mommy that is now the one and only choice we have - but Im so happy to have it. Thank you Wendy's! :)


Kelli in the Mirror said...

Chickfila usually says they use 100% peanut oil. What's the story on that?

Ferbit said...

*nervously waving hi* Love your blog! I actually just blogged about this topic last week with regards to McDonald's latest Happy Meal commercials. It's so sad how much they deceive people. And even more sad how many people believe them without looking up the ingredients.