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Is Sodium a Super Food Preservative?


Is Sodium a Super Food Preservative?

A nutritionist has kept an unwrapped McDonalds cheeseburger in almost pristine condition for a year! Could food preservatives or sodium be the reason why?

Happy New Year!

Enjoy 2012 while you can, because ancient Mayan prophecies predict the end of the earth on December 21, 2012. While disaster preparedness advocates tell us to stock up on dried and canned foods, fast food may hold the key to our civilization’s survival. Specifically, the food preservatives and sodium contained in fast foods.

I am, of course, extrapolating from a recent fascinating news story about a McDonalds cheeseburger that has survived well beyond its prime. Windsor, Ontario nutritionist Melanie Hesketh was looking for a way to get the message across to her two teenage children that fast food is not healthy. She left a McDonalds cheeseburger sitting out unwrapped—for an entire year.

One-year anniversary

Amazingly, her cheeseburger is better preserved than most botox-filled Hollywood stars.  As you can see from the photo, it hasn’t aged a day and looks almost as appetizing as it originally did. (Appetizing is in the tastebuds of the beholder.)

Immune to mold, bacteria, and fungi, it’s the little cheeseburger that could … live forever. Not only is its meat patty almost perfectly preserved, so is the bun and slice of cheese it contains.

While McDonalds’s website states that their patties are 100 percent beef, the bun contains 32 ingredients, possibly including myterious-sounding emulsifiers diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides, ethanol, and polysorbate 20. Theses additives, preservatives, and emulsifiers appear to do their job well.

High sodium content

Hesketh believes that the high sodium content of fast food may help to explain its super preservative powers. A McDonalds cheeseburger contains

  • 330 calories
  • 14 g fat
  • 45 mg cholesterol
  • 35 g carbohydrates
  • 15 g protein
  • 800 mg sodium

Motivation to eat whole foods

Hopefully, this little burger will inspire you to eat whole, healthy foods in 2012. It’s helped to curb Hesketh’s children’s fast food habits. Hesketh plans to hold on to her cheeseburger. "I'm going to keep it forever — it's a good conversation piece."

Avoid these ingredients

The Center for Science in the Public Interest recommends cutting back on sugar and salt. Avoid the following processed food ingredients:

  • sodium nitrite
  • aspartame
  • food dyes

I’m going to apply a new rule of thumb for healthy eating in 2012. I’m going to avoid food that can outlive me.


Photograph by Tyler Brownbridge, The Windsor Star



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