What’s hiding in your fast food? Not nutrition, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola. Mercola explains on his blog, Mercola.com, that fast food is loaded with antibiotics, hormones, and heavy metals but little in the way of nutritious value. He writes:
While high amounts of linoleic acid (LA) is one of the primary reasons why processed foods and fast food are so bad for your health, contaminants like veterinary drugs, antibiotics, hormones and heavy metals — combined with inferior amounts of essential nutrients — are other highly-ranked reasons to steer clear of.
8 of 10 Fast Food Meals Contain Veterinary Drugs
In September 2023, Moms Across America (MAA) submitted food samples from 10 fast food chains to the Health Research Institute, a nonprofit laboratory that tests food for nutrient content, contaminants and toxins. Each food sample was tested for the presence of 104 of the most common veterinary drugs and hormones. You can read the certificate of analysis here.1
Fast food restaurants sampled included McDonald’s, Starbucks, Subway, Chick-fil-A, Burger King, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Dunkin’, Wendy’s and Domino’s. Of these, only Chipotle and Subway tested negative for veterinary drugs.
This isn’t all that surprising, considering most chain restaurants rely on beef and chicken from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where veterinary drugs are routinely used. As explained by MAA:2
“Due to large, industry, confined animal feeding operation conditions, which include extremely close quarters, unsanitary spaces, and high incidence of disease, most of America’s nonorganic meat comes from livestock that is heavily treated with antibiotics, growth hormones, and an anti-parasitic which is also a known aviary contraceptive.”
6 of 10 Contain Potentially Risky Antibiotics
Six of the 10 fast food samples (Taco Bell, Dunkin’, Wendy’s, Domino’s, Burger King and McDonald’s)3 contained a veterinary antibiotic ionophore called monensin, which is not approved for human use as it can cause severe harm. The sample with the highest concentration (Taco Bell) contained 0.64 micrograms (mcg). The “acceptable” daily intake is 12.5 mcg/kg of body weight per day.
Monensin also has a number of side effects in animals, including anorexia, diarrhea, depression, ataxia, degeneration of heart and skeletal muscles, necrosis and death.
The antibiotic ionophore narasin, which has the same side effects in animals as monensin, was found in 4 of the 10 samples (Wendy’s, Dunkin’, Domino’s and Starbucks). The highest concentration, 1.53 mcg, was found in a Wendy’s cheeseburger. The three others contained only trace concentrations. The “acceptable” daily intake is 5 mcg/kg per day.
Both monensin and narasin are toxic to dogs and horses and can cause paralysis of the hind legs at extremely low levels. They can also cause acute cardiac rhabdomyocyte degeneration and necrosis in beef and dairy cattle. The reason they’re used in cattle is because they encourage weight gain. MAA commented on these findings:4
“Moms Across America is gravely concerned about our population, especially children, unknowingly eating unprescribed antibiotic ionophores livestock, even at low levels, consistently because of potential damage to the microbiome as well as the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria growth.
We question if the side effects of these ionophores in dogs and horses, leaving their hind legs dysfunctional, might be related to millions of Americans presenting with restless leg syndrome and neuropathy, conditions unknown to most humans just a generation or two ago … Until proven safe, we urge our regulatory agencies, such as the USDA and FDA, to disallow the use of these drugs in our livestock.”
Read more here.
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