Fast Food Hamburgers May Only Contain 2 Percent Meat

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woman eating hamburger

They 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 cornerstone of American food culture, 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 percent and 62.4 percent, with an average of about 49 percent. Electron microscopy analysis 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.

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