Sure, many of us read Fast Food Nation and had nightmares for weeks afterward. Or, I did. William Harris analyzed fast food menus and broke down the most popular ingredients for a How Stuff Works article. Only one item on the list is something that I would acknowledge as “food.”
Burger and chicken joints don’t think of the building blocks of a menu item as ingredients. They think of them as components, which, are made of ingredients. For example, McDonald’s famous Big Mac jingle — “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun” — suggests the sandwich has seven components. Would you believe it has 67 ingredients?
What are the most popular ingredients, according to Harris?
10. Citric Acid
9. High-fructose Corn Syrup
8. Caramel Color
6. Monosodium Glutamate
4. Soybean Oil
3. Mono- and Diglyceride
2. Xanthan Gum
Top 10 Most Common Ingredients in Fast Food [How Stuff Works] (Thanks, Steve!)