Toxic Chemicals in Fast Food

Toxic Chemicals in Fast Food

fast-foodLoads of saturated fats, grease, sodium and sugar are not the only things that make fast food really bad for you. There are so many other chemicals present that you should also be wary of — equally as bad as the rest but, sadly, are not placed under the spotlight to help make consumers opt for smart food choices.

If your mouth waters just by thinking about fast food, continue reading. The following are some of the most appetite-wrecking chemicals found in meals served at your favorite fast food joint:

Yellow Dye No. 5

Also goes by the name of tartrazine, yellow dye no. 5 is added to various foods and beverages to make them look more palatable. It’s true that the FDA has approved the use of tartrazine on food. However, certain studies have shown that this very commonly used food dye could cause problems such as cancer and behavioral problems in kids.

Sodium Nitrite

This particular chemical is added to cured or processed meat products to extend their shelf life. Naturally sodium nitrite is present in all fast food joint meals containing meat. The problem with sodium nitrite is this: studies have shown that the artificial preservative could increase your risk of having colorectal cancer.

Monosodium Glutamate

MSG for short, this seasoning is added to fast food to make them taste better. It is commonly found in a lot of Chinese dishes and processed food products at the supermarket. The government may say that MSG is safe, but investigations have shown that it caused chest pain, nausea, weakness and headaches in many.


The hard-to-pronounce name is a dead giveaway that this chemical is not good for you. Used in deep fryers to make cooking oil last for a long time, dimetylpolysiloxane is also used in the manufacturing of silly putty and breast implants. This chemical is linked to auto-immune disorders, brain damage, cancer and various allergies.

Tertiary Butylhydroquinone

Again, the name that could easily pass for a tricky tongue twister is a sign that you should dodge anything containing it. Also referred to TBHQ for convenience, this chemical is derived from petroleum and is added to fast food to prevent oxidation. Experts say that TBHQ may nausea, vomiting and even ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

Polyfluoroalkyl Phosphate Esters

Also known as PAPs, polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters are not really added to fast food, but are used to line packaging to make it resistant to grease and moisture. Because fast food meals are placed on packaging with PAPs, ingesting the chemical is very likely. You don’t want that to happen as PAPs are linked to liver disease and cancer.


You’ll be glad to know that this chemical added to fast food has a shorter name: PhIP. This makes it easier to dodge any consumable that has it. This chemical shows up in meat products cooked at extremely high temperatures. Experts associate PhIP with scary health issues such as cancer of the colon, prostate and breast.

If after reading this article you vow not to consume any fast food ever again, congratulations! Now you can make smarter choices so that you may stay in the pink of health, away from these nasty chemicals.