And a side of “treat me like an idiot,” to go, please.

Every so often a new article comes out presenting us with shocking (shocking!) revelations re: fast food. Foul ingredients portend dire consequences for mortal flesh followed by tsks from the certified. The reader is moved to ask “How dare they put all those chemicals in our food!” without asking what said chemicals are and whether or not they are as harmful as they are unpronounceable. What warnings are given withhold information in order to scare monger. “Can double the chance of cancer,” sounds horrible, but falls into the “struck by lightening” category when you find out the chance of cancer doubles from .00007% to .00014% or such, and that with repeated and regular consumption. Most perniciously these articles insist on treating the reader like an idiot incapable of judging the merits of indulgence against the risks of despoiling the temple. I would venture that there are two people over the age consent that fall in the Venn diagram overlap of people who read about food and people who eat Big Macs who are of the opinion that McDonald’s is good for you. Those two are never going to get it. Why won’t these writers let us eat our pseudo food in peace.

My favorite recent example of the type comes from Women’s Health magazine. The article, “What’s really in your food,” warns “Sometimes the truth is tough to swallow.” and then takes the reader slide by slide through a series of drive through options cataloging their sins if by sins you take an orthodox puritan’s view of gastronomy. The first two items, McDonald’s McNuggets and Wendy’s Frosty, are guilty of having too many ingredients. Some of them are chemicals, but if the idea is to list the only the most damning chemicals they have fallen short. The Frosty’s chief transgression seems to be that it has 14 ingredients. If some of them are a real danger they make no mention of it. I suppose we are to be aghast at the complexity of the thing. The salad Nicoise I had last week had more ingredients than that. Damn that Mediterranean silent killer.

My favorite damning piece of evidence? The editorial staff at Women’s Health, their blood pressure and metronomic heart rates steady and within recommended norms despite their fit abs tensing in indignation, want the world to know that the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish is made from a fish that is… let’s just say it has a great personality:

“The world’s most famous fish sandwich begins as one of the ocean’s ugliest creature. Filet-O-Fish, like many of the fish patties used by fast-food chains, is made predominantly from hoki, a gnarly, crazy-eyed fish found in the cold waters off the coast of New Zealand.”

Besides mentioning that there is some oil and tartar, that’s pretty much they have to say about the sandwich. They mention that hoki fishing has been reined in by the New Zealand government to prevent overfishing in what I take for an attempt to induce sustainability based guilt in the filet eater, but fails because the New Zealand government reined in hoki fishing to prevent overfishing. Don’t eat ugly fish. That’s their stand.

Other fast food items on their list contain what you would expect: Sodium phosphates, MSG, various gums, and so on to flavor, preserve, and add texture and then some processes for killing harmful bacteria with lactic acid and ammonia so you won’t die from harmful bacteria.

So there you have it. Some foods are not good for you. They contain chemicals that, despite having been deemed fit for human consumption, have very scary names. If this is a revelation to you, don’t ever, ever, ever eat them or you will die a horrible death and have to read poetry in the afterlife written by pale, black clad high school girls who wear too much eye makeup. If you knew this already and understand that a diet predominately made up of junk food is unhealthy, carry on.

There was one useful piece of information in the article. Apparently Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza contains Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza. It is as disgusting as it sounds.

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