Eating Fast Food Everyday | Which Fast Foods Have the Most Toxins?

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Are you in the habit of eating fast food everyday? Well, when you find out what's really in your burger, you might not want to reach that fry anymore.

We'll clue you in on some of the ingredients fast-food chains don't want you to know about. New research also tells us that you might be getting more than potatoes with your fries.

RELATED: 9 Foods to Avoid After 50 & Why

Eating Fast Food Everyday? What’s Really in Your Regular Diet?

young people walking outdoors sitting park | eating fast food everyday

What Are Phthalates?

assortment food delivery containers on white | eating fast food everyday


Phthalates, sometimes called plasticizers, help make plastic products more durable.

These are considered endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which could mess with your hormones. These toxins could impair or damage your:

  • fertility
  • sperm quality
  • sex organs
  • nervous system
  • immune function

EDCs may also cause:

  • endometriosis
  • some cancers
  • respiratory problems
  • metabolic issues
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • cardiovascular problems
  • growth, neurological, and learning disabilities

Growing evidence suggests that phthalates could be very toxic to humans. And some scientists believe that “safe” amounts are not so safe at all.

You can find them in common items, including:

  • PVC products (tubes, gaskets, gloves)
  • cling wrap
  • printer ink
  • board and paper packaging
  • aluminum foil laminates
  • cookware coating
  • water bottles

Research shows that the plasticizers in fast food packaging might also get into your food. This means that in addition to the bad ingredients in your food, you get some toxic chemicals as well.

Let's talk about what's really in your value meal.


Which Fast Foods Are the Most Toxic?

1. Burger and Sandwiches

delicious juicy cheeseburger on wooden plate | eating fast food everyday

Watch out for: Phthalates, fluorinated compounds, potassium bromate

It's juicy, and it's mouth-watering. It's also extremely bad for you.

A 2021 study that covered 11 types of phthalates found that among the fast foods included, cheeseburgers and chicken burritos contained the most phthalates.

The researchers found that fast foods that had meat had the most phthalates. They also noticed the same chemicals were found in the gloves the kitchen may have used to prepare the food.

The packaging of your burger or sandwich might also contain fluorinated compounds.

A 2017 study discovered that 46% of wrappers and 20% of paperboard had detectable amounts of fluorine.

Exposure to chemicals like fluorine may lead to:

  • testicular and kidney cancer
  • low birth weight
  • thyroid disease
  • poor sperm quality
  • pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • immunotoxicity in children

Burger buns might also have potassium bromate, a chemical that may cause cancer.

The next time you consider ordering a juicy burger, think about what's really in the meat, the gloves that prepared your food, and the wrapper that touched your food.

2. Pizza

pepperoni pizza melted cheese | eating fast food everyday

Watch out for: Phthalates, fluorinated compounds, potassium bromate

You may know what's on your pizza, but it is hard to say what's in it. And what's worse, you might also have to worry about the box it comes in too.

Your take-out pizza may also contain detectable levels of phthalates.

The pizza boxes your favorite fast-food chain uses may also contain fluorinated compounds.

Potassium bromate is a food additive used in pizza dough and burger buns. It's used to raise the bread and improve its texture and appearance. However, it may be toxic in excessive quantities.

Research shows that potassium bromate is a complete carcinogen. This means that the chemical could both cause and promote cancer cells.

Countries like the EU, UK, Brazil, Canada, South Korea, China, and India have banned the food additive. Unfortunately, it's still legal in the United States.

It might be fine if you enjoy a slice occasionally. But if you're a pizza lover and one that is not satisfied with just one slice, maybe consider cutting back.

3. Burritos

close half burrito | eating fast food everyday

Watch out for: Phthalates, fluorinated compounds

Burritos, along with cheeseburgers, contain the highest amounts of phthalates.  And its coated paper wrapper may also contain harmful chemicals such as fluorinated compounds. In addition, some instant food brands and fast-food chains may use propyl gallate.

Eating fast food everyday, you don't just consume toxic ingredients but toxic substances too.

If you can't resist the tempting flavor of Tex-Mex, make your own!

But while browsing for wrappers in the supermarket, keep an eye out for potentially toxic substances.

Companies are required by law to list down all food ingredients. This gives you the power to decide what goes into your body and what stays out.

4. Nuggets

chicken nuggets sauces on wooden board | eating fast food everyday

Watch out for: Phthalates, phosphate additives

Your favorite chicken nuggets may also contain plasticizers.

While one study noted that the amounts were relatively low, they were still detectable. It is still reason enough to keep your guard up.

Chicken nuggets may also contain preservatives like phosphorus.

Phosphorus is not a harmful chemical, but too much could damage your kidneys.

Watch out for phosphorus additives like:

  • dicalcium phosphate
  • disodium phosphate
  • monosodium phosphate
  • phosphoric acid
  • sodium hexameta-phosphate
  • trisodium phosphate
  • sodium tripolyphosphate
  • tetrasodium pyrophosphate

You may also find phosphate additives in most processed foods and deli meats.

Chicken fillet is a great alternative to chicken nuggets! Bake them in the oven, and you can still get a crunchy outer layer and the tenderness of the chicken.

Buy fresh in the supermarket. Steer clear of the frozen foods section. Processed meats are notorious for harmful preservatives.

5. French Fries

fresh fried french fries ketchup on | eating fast food everyday

Watch out for: Phthalates

This is one side dish you can ditch.

French fries may contain phthalates such as DnBP and DEHP, the same chemicals found in most fast foods. But other studies think that there may be more.

Phthalates in conveyor belts may be exposing fast food to even more toxic chemicals.

If you want to add a savory side dish to your proteins, bake some potato wedges at home! Bake them in the oven until they're golden brown. Seasonings like pepper and some salt will make them taste even better than anything you can find in a fast-food chain.

RELATED: Healthy Diet | Signs You May Be Consuming Too Much Sodium? [PODCAST]

What Are the Health Effects of Eating Fast Food Everyday?

fast food people unhealthy eating concept | eating fast food everyday

Munching on your favorite junk foods may perk you up for a while. But their effects are tremendous and long-lasting.

After eating fast food, you may experience short-term effects like:

  • increased stress levels
  • fatigue
  • difficulty sleeping
  • decreased energy levels
  • difficulty concentrating
  • tooth decay

More serious effects of eating fast foods or junk foods include:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • cardiovascular disease
  • osteoporosis
  • obesity
  • some cancers
  • hypertension
  • high cholesterol
  • depression
  • eating disorders

And while you're filling up on high-calorie foods with little to no nutritional value, you're missing out on a lot of the good stuff. The vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Treat junk food as a luxury. It's something you want, but your body cannot afford.

Invest instead in vegetables, fruits, lean meats, nuts, and fat-free dairy products. These are great for your body and could keep you full longer than fast food can. And healthful foods don't come with the energy crash that's common in fast foods.

Unfortunately, exposure to phthalates may add up. Eating fast food everyday might increase your exposure to toxic chemicals.

And you're not exposed not only through the fast food you eat. The cosmetics you use, your household items, and even in the air you breathe may contain phthalates. You can't control the air you breathe, but what you eat is in your hands.

Watch this video from Yes Theory to see how eating fast-food for a week vs eating healthy food compared to each other:

Fast food products and processed foods already contain so many toxic ingredients. And it turns out EDCs and other harmful chemicals might also be seeping into your meals from the packaging, processing, and the very products that are supposed to keep them sanitary.

This makes home-cooked meals sound that much more appealing.

And when you do decide to cook your own favorites, make a habit of reading the nutritional facts.

So really, the only thing you get from fast food is a quick meal and an even quicker ticket to the doctor's office.

What's your most toxic habit?

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