|Happy 4th of July! I hope you have a great time with family and friends today. If you're like millions of Americans, you'll go to a parade and then settle down to grill some burgers. If so, you might want to reconsider. And you certainly don't want to eat fast-food hamburgers. Here's why:
According to surveys, Americans consume about five billion fast-food hamburgers every year. But after they read this study published in the Annals of Diagnostic Pathology on what's in those burgers, I don't think they will be nearly excited about their next meal. You won't believe what these researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found!
You go to eat a hamburger because it's made of meat, right? And you know that meat is a great source of the protein that your body needs. So how much meat do you think you're eating when you eat a hamburger at a fast -food restaurant?
The researchers bought some hamburgers from eight different fast-food restaurants. Then they examined them for their meat content. Here's the amazing thing. The amount of meat in some of the burgers was as low as 2.1%! The highest meat content they found in any of the burgers was only 14.8%. That's as good as it gets folks. But that's not all they found.
Now, we have to take these numbers in context. For one thing, the researchers found that the burgers were 37.7%-62.4% water. Frankly, that's not surprising. All meat is half to two-thirds water. And remember, humans are 70% water! If you take away the water, the actual percentages of meat is much higher.
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So if that hamburger you've been craving doesn't have much meat in it, what does it have? Here's what else our researcher friends found: connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves, fat, plant material (either from feces or added), cartilage, and bone. Are you hungry yet? Maybe you won't be when I tell you that they also found parasites. And the parasites they found can infect humans.
Obviously it's not a good idea to eat at fast-food restaurants. But what about buying ground beef and making your own hamburger at home? Most quality grocery stores grind their own ground beef from sirloin and other butcher trimmings. Ask the butcher to make sure. If they do, it should be fine.
You also can buy beef sirloin whole and grind it yourself. It's the only sure way to know that you aren't getting more than you bargained for. It takes only a little more time and costs only a few cents more (you don't have to buy expensive steaks - just buy the cheapest whole beef the butcher has on hand - it might even be leaner than the ground you buy).
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