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Diet Detectives: What’s really inside your Egg McMuffin

Posted on | January 31, 2013 | 9 Comments

This story came through to my email and I found it a really good read with lots of facts to consider.

I felt slightly guilty because I had only ever looked at the calories in an Egg Mc Muffin and decided that at 300 calories they ‘weren’t soooo bad’.   So when the occasion called for eating something from McDonalds (ie.  international travel and dying for something other than noodles for breakfast / hangover) then I didn’t feel so guilty about having an Egg McMuffin and orange juice.

I have changed my mind after reading this article… It’s definitely food for thought.

Article Source:

Egg McMuffin

When it comes to breakfast, the most appealing morning meals are usually the ones you can grab and gobble on the way to work. Sure, scrambling a few egg whites doesn’t take long, but it’s so much easier to swing by the drive-thru under the golden arches. According to one 2010 survey, one in five Americans choose to start their day at McDonald’s. 

An Egg McMuffin, a classic breakfast item that’s been on Mc-menu since 1975, may seem like a healthy choice with its five simple ingredients, including those protein-rich eggs that promise to fuel you in the a.m., but truth be told, you can find close to 50 ingredients in just one item that makes up this sneaky sandwich. Read on to find out what eggs-actly you’re biting into.

THE SUSPECT: McDonald’s Egg McMuffin

THE DETECTIVES: Mira and Jayson Calton, Ph.D., a husband-and-wife team whose latest book “Rich Food, Poor Food,” the sequel to their bestselling book “Naked Calories,” hits bookstores in February.


  • Energy: 300 calories
  • Protein: 18g
  • Carbs: 30g
  • Fat: 12g

LISTED INGREDIENTS: English muffin, egg, pasteurized process American cheese, Canadian style bacon, liquid margarine.


1. ENGLISH MUFFIN: Carbs aren’t always the enemy, but in this case, they really are. This muffin may contain up to eight genetically-modified ingredients: enriched flour, high-fructose corn syrup, yellow corn flour, corn meal, citric acid, soy lecithin, soybean oil and/or canola oil. That’s in addition to water, yeast, and two percent or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, rice flour, barley malt, artificial/natural flavors, dough conditioners, calcium propionate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), and (more) soy lecithin. Among these, the worst offenders may be:

a) Unbleached wheat flour. Wheat as our grandparents knew it—the four-feet-tall “amber waves of grain”— isn’t the same. For the past 40 years, farmers have been manipulating the gene to grow a crop of two-feet-tall dwarfed wheat that contains gliaden protein, which produces a morphine-like compound that binds to brain receptors and triggers overeating up to 400 extra calories a day! Gliaden has also been linked to inflammatory issues from irritable bowel to heart disease. That’s not all: There’s also wheat gluten, which may cause digestive problems, headaches, brain fog, fatigue, and other symptoms, and amylopectin A, which is responsible for “wheat belly” (you know, the new “muffin top”).

b) Azodicarbonamide. This hard-to-pronounce ingredient (first sign it’s bad news!) has been banned in Australia, the UK, and in most European countries. In Singapore you can get up to 15 years in prison and penalized nearly half a million dollars in fines for using this chemical as an ingredient. But in the U.S., this asthma-causing allergen is totally legal and often used in foamed plastics, like yoga mats and sneaker soles, as well as in bleach flour as a whitening agent. Apparently impatient American markets can’t wait one week for wheat to whiten naturally.

c) High-fructose corn syrup. You know the drill: Stay away from this stuff! Why? Besides giving you a sugar high, it depletes your body of essential minerals and increases food cravings, which can lead to lots of serious issues like obesity.

d) DATEM. Short for diacetyl tartaric acid esters of monoglycerides, this dough conditioner ensures that all muffins are made to look the exact same. Though it is FDA approved, it has been linked to heart muscle fibrosis and adrenal overgrowth in animals.

2. EGGS: Not to sound like an episode of Portlandia here, but are they pasture-raised? Nope! These USDA Grade A eggs don’t come from happy hens frolicking and pecking on pastures. They actually come from chickens who’ve been cooped up in dark factories where they don’t even have room to spread their wings. They never see light, which means they’re missing vitamin D, and their diet largely consists of only soy and corn. Free-range hens with healthy, natural diets, on the other hand, have seven times more beta carotene, three times more vitamin E, two times more omega-3′s, and two-thirds more vitamin A.

3. CHEESE: Like factory chickens, no happy cows here either. This highly processed dairy product most likely comes from a cow that’s been treated with synthetic hormones (rBGH) to boost milk production by about 10 percent. This practice is not only dangerous to the animal (they become lame, infertile, and suffer from infected udders) but also the consumer, hence why it’s been banned in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Europe. Humans who are exposed to this milk (and its dairy products) readily absorb its byproduct, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which has been associated with breast, colon, and prostate cancers. This cheese may also contain yellow 6 dye, a food coloring that’s forbidden in Norway and Sweden due to cancer-causing compounds.

4. CANADIAN STYLE BACON. Think pigs get it any better? Fat chance. They likely never set their hooves on a pasture and are probably on a strict genetically-modified food diet. So this pork is not going to be a good source of meat. Add in the other ingredients — like sugar (added just to make it more addictive), salt, sodium lactate, sodium phosphate, natural flavor (vegetable), sodium diacetate and sodium nitrite (preservatives)—and it’s definitely entered the dark side. The most dangerous content might be the sodium nitrate (used to brighten and preserve the bacon) because it contains poisonous residual heavy metals, arsenic and lead.

5. LIQUID MARGARINE. Every single item listed above has been prepared in liquid margarine, which is made of 15 ingredients, including soy lecithin and about six genetically-modified ingredients, such as partially hydrogenated soybean oil (aka trans fat)—the cause of about 50,000 premature heart attack deaths annually, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Trans fats may also increase the rise of cancer, obesity, birth defects, diabetes, depression, asthma, osteoporosis, and more.


THE SENTENCE: Make your own grab-n-go egg sandwich without the extra, unnecessary, and downright disturbing ingredients.

Here’s how:



  • 5 large pastured eggs (pasture-raised, if possible)

  • ¼ cup organic sour cream (you choose the fat content)

  • Unrefined sea salt and organic pepper to taste

  • Organic cayenne pepper to taste (Boost metabolism all day long)

  • 2/3 cup freshly chopped or grated organic cheese, or cheese combo of your choice

  • 1/3 organic tomato, chopped

  • 1 chopped garlic (Let sit for 10 minutes prior to cooking)

  • 1/3 onion 

  • 1/3 cup cooked organic spinach or asparagus

  • 6 slices of pastured, sodium nitrate-free bacon


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

  2. Grease a muffin tin with ghee, coconut oil, butter, or retained and collected fat, or use a nonstick tin. You will use only six of the muffin molds (perhaps seven depending on the bulk of vegetables and bacon).

  3. Brown bacon and chop. Use the remaining bacon fat to cook onion and garlic until onion is translucent.

  4. Beat eggs in small bowl and blend with sour cream, grated cheese, and desired organic seasonings.

  5. Pour egg mixture into six muffin molds until two thirds full, keeping enough room on top for bacon and/or vegetables. 

  6. Mix vegetables and bacon in the now empty egg bowl and distribute evenly into the egg mixture.

  7. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to completely cool before removing from muffin tin.

(Recipe is courtesy of “Rich Food, Poor Food.”)


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9 Responses to “Diet Detectives: What’s really inside your Egg McMuffin”

  1. Shuyi000
    February 4th, 2013 @ 9:22 am

    I usually agree with your article… but this article seems to take things out of proportion…

    1. The claims about GM food is unsupported by scientific literature.
    This is a paper demostrating the effect of GMO.
    Pretty much suggest the Modified Genes doesn’t have adverse effects of bodies.

  2. Shuyi000
    February 4th, 2013 @ 9:28 am

    2. Pasture-raised eggs have lesser nutritional values.
    Yes, but that will only be a problem if that is the only thing you eat.
    If you’re eating a balance diet, with fruits and veggies… it isn’t going to be that much of a deal.

    Also, compared to other choice of food, Egg McMuffin is considered superior in it’s nutritional content.

  3. Shuyi000
    February 4th, 2013 @ 9:41 am

    3. Again unsubstantiated claims…
    I dig into the literature and found some research paper about hormones in cow, and none of them report results of the cow being “lame, infertile, and suffer from infected udders”.

    I haven’t dug that deep into this topic… so if you have something to support your claims… feel free to let me know.

    Until then, cheese is a still good source of protein and minerals. Processed or not doesn’t matter.

  4. Shuyi000
    February 4th, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    4. Similar problem here.
    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

  5. Health Guru
    February 4th, 2013 @ 9:49 am

    I didn’t write it – so don’t kill the messenger! I just enjoyed the read and it was good food for thought. There’s typically 3 sides to every story: Your side, Their Side and The Truth!

  6. Shuyi000
    February 4th, 2013 @ 9:50 am

    5. Yes, trans-fat have been linked to many health issues. However, I’d like to point out that in the market today, most liquid margarine contain significant little to zero amount of trans-fat.

    Also, it has been the policy of McDonalds’ to serve food without trans-fat.

  7. Health Guru
    February 4th, 2013 @ 9:51 am

    There’s the link contained within the story to the actual author, I believe they also have written books on this topic where the ‘evidence’ for their side of the story is found.

  8. Health Guru
    February 4th, 2013 @ 9:53 am

    In the process of producing ‘margarine’ it goes through hydrogenation which produces trans fats. I wonder what they do to ensure it has zero?

  9. Shuyi000
    February 4th, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    Diet is to be viewed as a whole, not in food isolation.
    There is no single good/ bad food… there is only good/ bad diet.
    I’m sorry if this came across as rude.
    But like i’ve said, II’ve been a long time follower of your article.. and this doesn’t seems to do you justice.
    It would only serve as a proponent of die hard diet myth.

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