So, we all know that picking up a burger from Burger King isn’t healthy — however, many people still get sucked into the hype by clever marketing schemes. The latest such scheme, hailing from Burger King Japan, is the scheduled release of the Aku (Red) Burger — a burger made with a bright red bun, cheese, and sauce. The Red Burger is set to be unleashed on Japan on July 3rd, and is the next evolution of last year’s “Black Burger” — which was a flop, not due to health reasons, but because the color was described by customers as “dingy.”
Burger King has also stated that it will be reinventing the Black Burger — to be called the Kuro Shogun Burger — and releasing it in late August with a more vibrant coloring. Now, whether this sounds appealing or disgusting to you (we vote for the latter), it’s worth it to revisit exactly why a fast food burger is an absolute health terror. Additionally, the ingredients used to make this particular burger fire-engine red may add even more detriments to the tray.
First of all: the meat. It might not be made up of much meat at all! A 2008 study published in the journal Annals of Diagnostic Pathology analyzed the meat content of eight different hamburger brands. On their results, the study authors wrote, “Fast food hamburgers are comprised of little meat (median, 12.1%). 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. Sarcocystis parasites were discovered in 2 hamburgers.”
If that doesn’t sound disgusting enough, the meat that is present is derived from conventionally-raised cattle that are often fed GMO feeds, pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones, and treated terribly — hardly being allowed to see the light of day. This is definitely one industry not worth the conscientious consumer’s support.
On top of that, many fast food hamburger patties contain a whirlwind of additives, including sugars, anti-foaming agents, and other industrial chemicals. As we reported in 2013, Burger King UK burgers were found to contain traces of horsemeat.
While the franchise issued a public apology and switched suppliers after this incident, it underscores the fact that we often have no idea what goes into these patties. As far as the red element of the red burger, reports say that the coloring will be tomato-based.
However, they do not mention what preservatives, artificial additives, and other chemicals will be added to the mix — and what we don’t know CAN indeed hurt us. While a tomato is a healthy food in its whole state, a tomato-based, processed coloring is likely anything but healthy. So, what do you do if you’re craving a burger? Grill your own delicious, additive-free patties at home, using grass-fed beef.
Either skip the bun (as wheat has been linked to inflammatory properties and other dangers), or make your own gluten-free bread for your burgers. Top with lots of fresh veggies, and enjoy!
—The Alternative Daily