Man eating a hamburger with sauce on his cheek

Five stubborn fast food myths that refuse to go away

The fast food industry suffers more than most at the hands of the rumour mill. People are, perhaps justifiably, more readily suspicious of meals that can be made in under a minute than they are of other foodstuffs. This has given rise to some truly outlandish claims. While some are dismissed as gossip relatively quickly, others persist and have now coloured how whole swathes of the population view the sector.

To defend the honour of burger joints everywhere, the Twisted team have done some fast food myth-busting. Here are a few of the more pervasive rumours that can finally be put to rest.

1. Burgers legally need pickles

For years, consumers have tried to justify the presence of pickles in Big Macs by claiming that they legally have to be there. The theory is that, as the buns contain so much sugar, if there wasn’t a salty pickle the burger would have to classified as confectionary. This pearl of wisdom has been duly spouted by diners across the world, boring partners and dinner guests for decades.

Unfortunately, everyone’s favourite meal time tidbit turns out to be balderdash. The buns actually contain less than 5% sugar and a confectionary is defined as containing a preserved fruit, or similar. Myth: busted.

close up of a Big Mac Credit: Pixabay

2. Hamburgers are immortal

The unique consistency and suspicious preparation speed of the fast food burger has long made it a subject of scrutiny. For many years, the myth persisted that the food could only be mass produced because of huge quantities of industrial chemicals injected into the meat. These chemicals, so the theory goes, led to the burger becoming essentially indestructible and impervious to decay.

Despite how easy this myth should be to disprove, people continued to be convinced that the fast food industry had stumbled across the solution for inadvertent foodie immortality. Alas not. Though burgers tend to dry out before they rot, they will all decompose in time, just like everything else. The circle of life is relentless.

3 sliders in a pile Credit: Pixabay

3. Fast food is worse than “proper” restaurants

Anyone with a minimal understanding of how food and nutrition work knows that fast food isn’t the healthiest option. High quantities of fat used in both ingredients and cooking methods, as well as the presence of artificial additives and preservatives leaves a lot to be desired for clean eating aficionados. However, those who think that they’ll be safe in a typical “sit-down” restaurant are sadly mistaken.

According to a recent “Drexel” study, an average two course meal at a typical “sit-down” restaurant will tip the scales at a whopping 1,500 calories - before one even considers dessert and drinks. For the health obsessed, it’s probably best to not leave the house under any circumstances.

steak dinner, with chips, sauce and trimmings Credit: pixabay

4. It’s fine if you have a salad

“I know it’s bad to eat burgers,” I hear the internet squawking, ”but I can still eat fast food if I have a salad!?” To the dismay of leaf-lovers everywhere, even lettuce offers little respite from the health perils of the fast food menu. Though salads are typically made of fruit, veggies and other good stuff, the huge quantities of dressing, cheese and meat slathered on a typical fast food salad counteract any of the negligible health benefits. According to a “Consumerist” report, fast food salads can often contain more calories than their fried alternatives. You’re better off with a burger.

salad with fried chicken and loads of dressing Credit: pexels

5. Fast food will save you money

There are lots of reasons for regularly chowing down on a deep fried favourite - hunger, hangovers or the pursuit of happiness are all perfectly valid reasons for indulging. However, what is not a legitimate excuse is that it is a more affordable alternative than other options. While fast food may be cheaper than other restaurants, it is still hugely expensive when compared to what you can cook at home.

To feed a family of four on fast food will typically set you back about £20 - by buying the ingredients yourself you can prepare a healthier meal for a fraction of the price. Though still delicious, fast food should not be the refuge of the savvy home economist.

coins in a pile in front of a clock Credit: pixabay

When it comes to the fast food industry, the gossip column is undoubtedly pernicious, often with good reason. However, it’s always good to be able to separate the fact from fiction and make an informed decision about your dinner. At the very least, you are all now able to shut down the next person who brings up the Big Mac/pickle fact.

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