Chick-fil-A is without a doubt one of the most successful fast food franchises in America. It is no secret that their chicken is absolutely to die for. That is why, today, I write this blog with a very heavy heart.

During my long trips up to Canada from Florida, I would drive off the highway if I ever saw a Chick-Filet-A sign…even if I wasn’t that hungry!

I would order and devour their chicken nuggets or their iconic chicken sandwiches.  And I needed that fix at least twice per week.

However, much to my dismay, I discovered something that really concerned me…something that made me immediately stop going to their restaurants. So here it is!

Beneath those crispy, golden exteriors of America’s best tasting chicken lies a concerning truth about  55 different ingredients that are cooked into the chicken.

Get this: Among the 55 ingredients in Chick-fil-A chicken is variety of additives, preservatives, and potentially harmful substances that may pose risks to your health.

In this blog, we will uncover the hidden dangers lurking in your favorite fast food chicken and explore why these ingredients should give you pause the next time you consider indulging in a Chick-fil-A meal.

As someone who writes a health information blog, I believe it is imperative to comprehend the influence of these ingredients on your diet and fitness goals.

First of all, Chick-Filet-A  chicken is not organic or pasture-raised…the chicken is sourced  from a network of suppliers across the United States, primarily from large-scale poultry farms.

It should be noted that Chick-Fil-A Chick-fil-A emphasizes that their chicken is  raised cage-free and without antibiotics. Plus they ensure that the chickens are fed a vegetarian diet and are delivered fresh, not frozen, to its restaurants.

However, it should be noted that Chick-Fil-A recently amended their policy on antibiotics…here it is

Chick-fil-As is moving from a “No Antibiotics Ever” (NAE) stance to a “No Antibiotics Important to Human Medicine” (NAIHM) policy.

What does that mean?

This policy now allows for the use of antibiotics that are not critical for human medicine to treat sick animals, but restricts those that are commonly used to treat people.

The shift in policy addresses supply chain problems- maintaining an entirely antibiotic-free policy has proven difficult due to factors like avian influenza outbreaks and other supply constraints.

In my opinion, this shift has more to do with profit than it has to do with human health- you be the judge.

Although that may be true, their chicken definitely contains  a significant portion of ingredients that are concerning from a health perspective.

Here are 6 Additives and Preservatives that you need to pay particular attention to:

  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – Most people are very familiar with a flavor enhancer and excitotoxin that is linked to an increase in food cravings and potential neurotoxicity. Chinese restaurants are famous for using this enhancer
  • Sodium Aluminum Phosphate – A stabilizer additive that contains aluminum and is  linked to neurological problems
  • Potassium Sorbate – A preservative banned at Whole Foods
  • Dimethylpolysiloxane – An anti-foaming agent banned at some grocery stores
  • Calcium Propionate – A preservative that is banned at some grocery stores
  • DATEM (Diacteyl Tartaric Acid Ester of Monoglycerides and Diglycerides) – An emulsifier banned at Whole Foods

Here are 3 oils and fats that that are quickly coming into disfavor due to their health effects:

  • Soybean Oil – A highly processed vegetable oil that is linked to inflammation, obesity, and other health issues
  • Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil – Both oils are high in saturated fats. Excessive intake is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, as it can raise levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. Plus when palm oil is partially hydrogenated, it creates trans fats that are even more harmful than saturated fats…associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Fully Refined Peanut Oil – A heavily processed oil that is treated with bleach and deodorizing chemicals that creates damaging free radicals free radicals. It contains a high amount of calories, that can contribute to weight gain and obesity. Plus the refining process strips peanut oil of some of  natural nutrients like vitamin E and beneficial phytochemicals, that reduces any potential health benefits.

4 More Concerning Ingredients

  • Refined Sugar – Refined sugar can contribute to a variety of health issues including but not limited to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Rapid absorption into the bloodstream causes spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. It is also linked to increased inflammation and the risk of developing chronic conditions such as liver disease and certain cancers.
  • Bleached Wheat Flour – is heavily processed flour that is treated with bleach and lacks nutritional value
  • Commercial Natural Flavors and Spices – Exact composition unknown
  • Soy Lecithin and Monoglycerides – Emulsifiers and stabilizers that have allergy concerns. For example, Soy lecithin, can trigger hives, itching, and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis.

What does this all mean? You have a choice- you can continue to eat fast food like Chick-Fil-A snd possibly be a strain on your health or you can search for alternatives. So lets take a look at what option you may have for healthier chicken:

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Alternative

An healthy alternative for  MSG as a flavor enhancer includes herbs, spices, garlic, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes that can provide the same style flavor without the potential health risks associated with MSG.

Sodium Aluminum Phosphate Alternative

Replace this stabilizer that contains aluminum  with natural options like guar gum, xanthan gum, or pectin, which are plant-derived thickeners and stabilizers.

Potassium Sorbate and Calcium Propionate Alternatives

These preservatives can be substituted with natural antimicrobials….vinegar, lemon juice, or rosemary extract.

Dimethylpolysiloxane Alternative

Use natural oils as an alternaitve like avocado, coconut, or olive oil for frying, which will not require defoaming agents.

Refined Oil Alternatives

Replace with avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, or unrefined nut and seed oils, which are minimally processed and retain their natural nutrients.

Bleached Flour Alternative

Use alternative flours like almond, coconut, or chickpea flour  to create chicken products that are flavorful and crispy without relying on the numerous additives and preservatives found in Chick-fil-A’s chicken. These substitutions offer a cleaner, more wholesome take on fried chicken.

 

Insiders Health Tip

Here are some options to find chicken that is organic, cage-free, free-range, and contains minimal additives 

  1. Local Farmers’ Markets: Local farmers’ markets often feature small-scale, local farms that raise organic, cage-free, and free-range chickens. These farmers usually provide detailed information about their farming practices and the quality of their products.
  2. Specialty Organic Stores: Grocery stores like Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, offer high-quality chicken that meets these criteria and have stricter standards for their suppliers and more detailed labeling.
  3. Online Retailers: Websites like ButcherBox, US Wellness Meats, and Vital Choice offer high-quality poultry that is organic, cage-free, free-range, and minimally processed. They deliver directly to your door anf give you more information on farming and butchering methods
  4. Local Farms with CSA Programs: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs allow you to buy locally. Many may offer CSA shares that include organic, free-range chicken. This direct relationship makes you feel confident about their transparency and higher standards.
  5. Co-ops and Natural Food Stores: Many co-ops and natural food stores also prioritize sourcing from local, organic, and sustainable farms that have stringent criteria for the products they carry.

By adopting these better decisions, you promote more eco-friendly and healthy natural  food practices in addition to improving your diet and fitness. This is consistent with the ideas of a Health Information Blog that focuses on Health Natural Foods.

References:
https://foodbabe.com/here-are-the-55-ingredients-in-a-chick-fil-a-sandwich-should-you-eat-them/

https://www.chick-fil-a.com/menu/spicy-chicken-sandwich

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772217/

https://www.ingredientinspector.org/home/whats-in-a-chick-fil-a-chicken-sandwich

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-chick-fil-a-is-allowing-antibiotics-in-chicken-and-how-it-may-affect-you

https://foodbabe.com/chick-fil-a-chicken-nuggets-recipe-copycat-without-addicting-chemicals/

https://www.chick-fil-a.com/our-chicken-commitment

https://news.northeastern.edu/2024/03/27/chick-fil-a-antibiotics-chicken/

Anti-Foaming Chemicals in Chick-fil-A Sandwiches: A Closer Look at the Health Risks

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