I just watched an episode of one of my favorite shows, “Conan,” and saw for the umpteenth time a commercial culminating in something that always amused and infuriated me: Wendy’s preposterous slogan, “You know when it’s real.”
You guys are sharks. Your food is poison and you know it.
Firstly, I just want to point out that we live in an age when our standards are so shockingly low that companies advertise their food as being made with “real” ingredients. And worse, it’s not even true!
But ok, Wendy’s… I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for a moment. Maybe you revamped your ingredients?
Let’s take a walk through the ingredients in the harmless-sounding “Asiago Ranch Chicken Club.” For the sake of brevity (and sanity), I have only included the ingredients in the chicken, bun, and bacon. (Not to spoil the fun in advance, but the cheese, “vegetables,” and sauces contain literally hundreds of additional ingredients…)
Ingredients: Wendy’s Asiago Ranch Chicken Club
(Fake, Non-Food, and Dangerous Ingredients in RED)
Homestyle Chicken Fillet
Chicken Breast, Water, Modified Food Starch, Seasoning (salt, maltodextrin, flavoring, modified corn starch, autolyzed yeast extract, contains 2% or less of: chicken, chicken broth, chicken fat, citric acid, dextrin, lactic acid), Sodium Phosphates. Battered and Breaded with: Wheat Flour, Water, Bleached Wheat Flour, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Spices, Wheat Gluten, Leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Egg White Solids, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Fructose, Maltodextrin, Yeast, Chicken Broth, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Locust Gum, Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Extractives of Paprika. Cooked in Vegetable Oil (soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, citric acid [preservative], dimethylpolysiloxane [anti-foaming agent]).
Premium Butter Toasted Bun
Enriched Flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, niacin, iron, folic acid), Water, Sugar, Yeast, Wheat Gluten, Soy Oil, Contains 2% or less of the following: Salt, Dough Conditioners (contains one or more of the following: sodium stearoyl lactylate, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono and diglycerides, DATEM, calcium peroxide, calcium sulfate, L-cysteine, enzymes), Yeast Nutrients (contains one or more of the following: high fructose corn syrup, ammonium sulfate, tricalcium phosphate, ammonium chloride), Corn Maltodextrin, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Gum Arabic, Natural Flavors, Cultured Wheat, Vinegar. Toasted with Clarified Butter (milk).
Applewood Smoked Bacon
Pork Cured With: Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.
My BS meter just exploded.
Is this clever marketing? Are we really that stupid? How do they get away with this?
Yeah, I’ll take my chicken with the anti-foaming agent, please. Oh, and don’t forget the azodicarbonamide in my bun. Thanks.
Clearly, there is nothing real about Wendy’s food. Its ingredient lists are dripping with preservatives, emulsifiers, chemical toxins, and euphemisms. I could walk you through them and why they’re bad for you (like I do in my book), but let’s suffice it to say that these ingredients 1) are not food, 2) cause minimal damage at best, 3) and some are scientifically proven to be toxic to humans.
It may sound like I’m singling Wendys out for poisoning America. But for the record, the same health-risk and issues apply to almost all fast foods. But at least the other food chains advertise with silly slogans like “I’m lovin it” or with creepy costumed men in cardboard crowns streaking across football fields. They don’t *usually* have the balls to lie straight to your face and tell you their “food” is something that it isn’t. But apparently Wendy’s has the balls.
So What Have We Learned? Wendy’s is Lying to You.
Fast food companies blatantly lie to our faces every single day and not only get away with it, but profit from it.
No matter what you order from Wendy’s or any other fast food restaurant, you are buying fake food. It will not make you lean, healthy, or strong. But it will make them rich.
Every time you buy fast food, you are silently casting your vote to encourage this marketing monster to keep lumbering along, leaving legions of fat, diseased Americans in its wake. In other words, when you buy fast food, not only are you sacrificing your own health, but you are enabling this twisted system to thrive.
But What Can I Do, Then?
Unfortunately, in this day and age you need to look out for yourself and those around you when it comes to food choices and safety. Before you treat something like it’s food by eating it, make sure it’s actually food.
If you want health, you need to eat foods that nourish your body, not slowly poison it with empty calories, preservatives, chemicals, and toxins. Don’t buy fast food.
Go to your local farmer’s market, food co-op, natural food store, farm, the supermarket, or grow/hunt your own food. If you are serious about improving your body and your health, eat real food.
How does Wendy’s get away with this blatant deception? What can we do about it?
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This is a great post, Abel. How do they get away with it?!?!
Ummm, you can also mention the oils used, specifically corn/soy are most likely derived from Monsanto’s infamous GMO crops…my personal opinion is that the chemical mix of this “food” is also highly addictive…just my 2 cents…
Bill Strahan says
I don’t eat out much for this and other reasons. I love my own cooking and I know exactly what I’m eating! But when I do need to grab something on the run, I typically drop by Chipotle.
Imagine my surprise when I saw a bottle of oil labeled “Soy Oil” on the counter last time I was there and I asked what they used it for. The guy working there was overflowing with excitement when he exclaimed “Everything!”
WTF? I asked him to clarify and I got this short list: “We soak the meat in it when we marinate it, oil the grill with it, put some in the rice, grill our veggies in it. We use it for everything!”
I must have looked dejected because he suddenly lost the enthusiasm and asked “What’s wrong, are you allregic to soy?” It old him I wasn’t, but it wasn’t a healthy oil to be using. He seemed stunned and said “But it lowers your cholesterol!”
I said “So would draining all the blood from my body. Besides, I like cholesterol, since it’s the precursor hormone to testosterone among other things. I don’t want it lower, I want whatever my body decides to make. My body isn’t trying to kill my with cholesterol.”
He looked as lost as a fart in a hurricane at that point, so I just dropped it. Bottom line: Minimize ANY eating out and get good at cooking your own food. Make the best choices when you feel you must eat out, but be real about the difference between that and food. Yes, that applies to ALL eating out, even in nicer restaurants.
At Rockfish the other day, turns out the “butter” that comes with crab and shrimp is actually margarine and they don’t even have real butter anywhere in the kitchen!
Get good at cooking, get fast at cooking, and remove any excuses to not eat real food.
Abel James says
Your last line is perfect. I’m not surprised Chipotle uses suspect ingredients – they are owned by the veritable McDonald’s, after all. Once we know what we know, it’s difficult to take the “risk” of eating out with any frequency. Occasionally there are some great restaurants that use local food and focus on real butter and fats, but I’ve found that they’re hard to find and often don’t last. The good news is that cooking real food yourself can be super easy because it’s fresh and tasty on its own. Thanks for stopping by, Bill!
Bill Strahan says
I’m amazed at how many people say they don’t have time to cook, but what turns out is they don’t really know how. I ask people who tell me they don’t have time how long they think it takes to make a meal, and they usually say “At least an hour.”
What the heck? Unless you’re making a large multi-course meal for 6 or more, that shouldn’t be the case. I’ve cooked steamed mussels with a garlic wine reduction for appetizer, steaks, sweet potato, and a broccoli casserole for two couples in less time than that!
I’m thinking I’ll make a video on how to cook and throw it on youtube. Step one is learn to use a skillet properly. Learn to flip food so you don’t have to stir it. Learn to combine things in the skillet. Once you have that down, it’s amazing what you can cook quickly.
Earlier this week I needed to grab a bite before heading out for the day. Put the skillet on the stove, set to high, threw in some coconut oil, and then tossed in a bunch of broccoli and put the lid on. While that started to cook I took the ground grass fed beef from the fridge and made a half pound patty. Salted it, and threw it in the skillet next to the broccoli and set a timer for 3 minutes. Cleaned up what little mess I had made during those 3 minutes, then flipped the patty, stirred the broccoli and put the lid back on for 2.5 minutes. Took the patty out, flipped the broccoli a few times to soak up all the fat from the patty, and dumped it all on a plate.
About 1 minute of prep, about 8 minutes of cooking. The patty is too hot to eat right out of the skillet, so I spent about 1 minute hand washing the skillet and cleaning up. Ten minutes total and I sat down to eat. Faster than if I had driven to a fast food restaurant.
Get good at this stuff and it’s faster and BETTER than anything you’ll eat out.
Gotta make that video…
Abel James says
You’re right – everyone has time to cook, especially if a grill is involved. Yeah, get that video up!
Joseph B Low says
Apparently he didn’t have time to make that video.
Good article,I guess the average person accepts this crap,with not much choice.if I were younger I would start a real natural food chain.I quest people would come.why is it so hard to do? Don,t they realize people do not want to eat hydrogenated oils,cotton seed oil,artificial colirs,flavors,chemicals,etc
having lived in india and the uae, i have to say that the food quality especially fast food in the US is appalling. the mcdonalds chicken quality back home is equivalent to that of chilis and applebees in the US. i can get a gourmet meal delivered to my doorstep at 3am in uae or india, whereas here im stuck with disgusting fast food.
A nutritionist says
Citric acid, gluten, and fructose are not “fake” or “dangerous. Fructose is found naturally in fruit and many vegetables. Gluten is, just gluten- it’s become a bit of a trigger word for dieters, but it’s not harmful or scary. Citric acid is also found naturally in many fruits, especially citrus. However, most of the ingredients in the fillet are additives that don’t need to be there- all you need is chicken and seasoning.
TONY WOLVERTON says
big food and big pharma go hand inhand one fats you up so you need the other yes they do try and kill us this crap is rat posion we need a health food chain to start up one not trying yo kill us!