According to Devin Cohen of Quartz, wood pulp -- which goes by the name of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) or “powdered cellulose” -- is the main ingredient in many of the foods companies such as McDonald's or Burger King offer. In some cases, so effective is this non-nutritional ingredient, that it is replacing a significant portion of what you thought you were actually eating.
The emulsion-stabilizing, cling-improving, anti-caking substance operates under multiple aliases, ranging from powdered cellulose to cellulose powder to methylcellulose to cellulose gum. The entrance of this non-absorbable fiber into fast food ingredients has been stealthy, yet widespread: The compound can now be found in buns, cheeses, sauces, cakes, shakes, rolls, fries, onion rings, smoothies, meats—basically everything.
The cost effectiveness of this filler has pushed many chains to use progressively less chicken in their “chicken” and cream in their “ice cream.” McDonald’s ranks highest on the list with cellulose integrated into 14 of their menu items including their renowned fish fillets, chicken strips and biscuits, with Burger King ranking second on the list with 13 menu items containing cellulose.
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