This is something you can try at home. Try your experiment and buy a McDonald’s hamburger, leave it out and see how fast or slow it decays. Like the one in the photo above, can you tell the difference? After 14 years, the McDonald’s burger on the left looks almost the same as the new one on the right. It may be not such a good idea to eat this on a regular basis.
Perhaps, the meat patty has an excessive amount of sodium (salt), which is a natural preservative. The bun (bread) does not have any mold, perhaps because it is not regular bread. According to McDonald’s website, their hamburger buns consist of: “Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, yeast, soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour), calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin.”
There are major incentives to center your diet on real foods as opposed to “food products,” the primary one being that real food is essential for optimal health. Real foods also taste delicious, and when bought from sustainable sources help to protect the environment.
So how can you tell the difference?
Real food almost always has the following characteristics:
- It’s grown
- Variable quality
- Spoils fast
- Requires preparation
- Vibrant colors, rich textures
- Authentically flavorful
- Strong connection to land and culture
- Whereas, processed “food products,” meanwhile, tend to have these traits:
- Produced, manufactured in a factory
- Neat, convenient, pre-packaged
- Always the same
- Stays “fresh” for years, if not forever
- Dull, bland
- Contains fillers, additives and preservatives
- Artificially flavorful
- No connection to land or culture