Originally published July 9 2013
Study - Your fast food hamburger may contain as little as 2 percent actual meat
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) There may be a convenient way to satiate your hunger while on the go, but fast food hamburgers appear to offer little in the way of actual meat content, according to a recent study published in the journal Annals of Diagnostic Pathology. Researchers from the Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, found that, among eight popular fast food hamburgers analyzed, some were found to contain as little as two percent actual meat, which may come as a surprise to some.
A true American meal pastime, hamburgers are consumed at a rate of about five billion patties annually in the U.S. Most people who eat hamburgers likely assume that those succulent patties grilled over an open flame are pure meat from cows. But according to the histological data, hamburger patties are generally composed mostly of water, as well as varying percentages of random tissues, nerves, and a small percentage of actual meat.
Based on their analysis, Laurel School researchers found that the water content of fast food hamburgers typically ranges between 37.7 and 62.4 percent, with an average of about 49 percent. Electron microscopy revealed preserved skeletal muscle, which is good, as well as a variety of tissue types including blood vessels, peripheral nerves, adipose tissue (body fat), cartilage, and bone. But the kicker was the actual meat content.
According to the data, amongst the eight fast food hamburger patties tested, meat content ranged between 2.1 and 14.8 percent, with an average of about 12.1 percent. This means that for a half-pound burger, less than one ounce of it is composed of actual meat, on average. And for those burgers on the lowest end of the meat spectrum, a half-pound patty contains less than five grams of actual meat.
"Fast food hamburgers are comprised of little meat," wrote the authors in their study abstract. "Approximately half of their weight is made up of water. Unexpected tissue types found in some hamburgers included bone, cartilage, and plant material; no brain tissue was present."
Besides their lack of meat, some fast food hamburger patties were also found to contain potentially harmful bacteria and ammonia. Two of the hamburgers tested, for instance, were found to contain intracellular parasites, also known as Sarcocystis, which are basically cysts. In humans, undercooked meats containing Sarcocystis can cause diarrhea or muscle tenderness, and in more extreme cases breathing problems and even death.
Meat is supposed to contain water, but not bacteria and ammonia Since all meat naturally contains relatively high levels of water, it is not necessarily unusual that the fast food hamburger patties tested in the study also contained high levels of water. It is the unexpected tissues, the bacteria, and the ammonia that are most concerning about this study's findings, as they affirm what others have warned about in the past concerning the problems with fast food meat.
The authors of the study also did not identify which fast food hamburgers they tested, which some NaturalNews readers may find disconcerting. But many of the usual fast food suspects were likely included as part of the research, which means you can probably make your own educated guesses.
Regardless, the overall research still points to the same conclusion -- that avoiding fast food hamburgers and cooking your own clean, grass-fed meats from local or verified suppliers is still the best route you and your family can take. There are simply too many unknowns with the conventional food supply these days to take the risk. Is sacrificing your health on the altar of convenience really worth it?
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