Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles This video is sponsored by Noom! Go take your own free 30-second quiz using the link in the description and get started on your journey with Noom right now! A man walks into a famous fast-food place in an airport, not because he's a big fan of this particular type of food, but because he has little time before boarding his flight and there aren't too many other food options. His resolve not to eat a lot crumbles no sooner than he's dazzled by all the familiar bright colors around him. He was sure he was going to be sensible, but 15-minutes after entering the place he's consumed 2,000 calories and doesn't feel too great about it. What he doesn't know is exactly what he has consumed. He's also blissfully unaware of how his brain has been manipulated on several occasions. He's been prey to a business predator that doesn't always tell you how exactly it goes about its work. Today, all will be revealed. 8. This is your brain on a Large Oreo Shake You'll all probably agree that sugar is nice. What you might not know is that researchers have pointed to its addictive qualities, something fast-food restaurants are very aware of. A hit of sugar, like many drugs in the world, releases feel-good chemicals in your brain. When you eat sugar you get a small blast of opioids and dopamine and you feel ever so slightly high. That's why sugar is loaded into many fast-food products. You're not just eating junk food because you like it, there's also an element of you needing it. But it goes further than this. You see, we humans evolved in a time when food was scarce. We had to hunt for food, which was often hard, dangerous work. Therefore, we hunted for food items that had a lot of calories and gave us the most energy. These days, you don't have to fight off a pride of hungry lions to get your hands on a piece of beef. In fact, fast-food restaurants are everywhere, and they are usually cheap. The food items are packed with calories and so that's one reason we go to those places. Not only that, the food comes to you fast and so your brain's reward system triggers fast. Convenience is also addictive, and that's why you see so many fast-food restaurants and why they offer the drive-thru option at certain places. It's all about getting a quick fix. Lastly, there's the Pavlovian thing. You might have heard of Pavlov's dog, which relates to experiments undertaken by the Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov. In short, he figured out that when a dog heard the sound of its dinner bell, the sound itself made the dog salivate. So, why do you think every time you go to a fast-food restaurant you see and hear all the same things? It's because your brain associates all the familiar colors and symbols and sounds with a rewarding experience. You only have to look at a fast-food joint to start salivating. The reason for that is the place's consistency. 7. They know how our minds work Studies have shown that when less energy is put into ordering food we will make worse choices. Basically, it is less likely you'd go for a large fries if the server didn't ask you if you'd like to boost the size of your meal. In fact, you might not go for the fries at all if someone didn't ask you, “Do you want fries with that?” Scientists believe that we feel less guilty when someone asks us to order a bit more since there is less responsibility on the buyer. They're not asking you out of curiosity. They're manipulating you. When we say 'you' we mean of course the company, not the server. It works, too. Some sources say in one year McDonald's made an extra $28 million in revenue just from upsizing its products for people. As a consumer, you might go into a place with the best intentions of not eating too much, but as soon as you are asked if you want more, you will get more. As the New York Times once wrote, when McDonald's asks you if you want fries with that it already knows the answer. It's not just the spoken word, either. Lately, some fast-food restaurants have invested in technology that shows customers many other options on a bright screen stationed in front of where they are standing. If you are visiting a drive-through restaurant, new technology can now recognize your license plate and quickly understand what you ordered in the past. That way, the company can know what options to flash up in front of you. It will know if you are partial to super-sizing meals or buying a milkshake. As one person told the New York Times, “These sorts of technologies are making it hard for people to just find some reasonable moderation.” It's the same with Value meals. The restaurants know very well that you'll more often than not go for them even though you went in with the best intentions of getting one solitary burger. You see, when you look at prices a place in your brain called the orbitofrontal cortex starts to fire up. Scientists have found that when a person buys something knowing there was a better deal, brain activity shows some amount of pain. That's the reason there's always a good offer only if you spend more and eat more. In a nutshell, as soon as you walk through the door there's a lot of manipulation going on, but as you'll soon see, maybe that's the least of your worries. 6. The portions keep getting bigger Since the 1950s the USA and a slew of other countries have reported an obesity crisis, and in some part, you can blame fast-food. You can find lots of restaurants that have sandwiches that contain just under or just over 1,000 calories. And that's before you start counting the calories in the drinks and the fries. Burger King's “The Rodeo King Sandwich” weighs in at 1,250 calories. Dairy Queen's six-piece basket of “Honey Hot Glazed Chicken Strips” contains 1,600 calories. A 12-inch Classic Italian Sub at Quiznos has 1,400 calories in it. That's a lot of calories to be consuming. Try burning those items off at the gym and you'll find yourself having to walk home with the elliptical machine on your back. Back in the day, there was no such thing as these giant meals. We are living in an era of the mega-burger. The thing is, we are suckers for punishment. If restaurant A offers a bigger burger than restaurant B and they cost the same, we generally go for the value option. Remember it's painful to not feel we have gotten a good deal. The drinks are much bigger, too. In the 50s, a soda was just 7 ounces. These days a small soda is 16 ounces and a large, 32 ounces. Some restaurants have been known to offer 64-ounce drinks, which might contain 800 calories. Add to that a large fries, with around 460 calories in many places, as well as a burger, and you've got yourself a meal containing almost as many calories than an average person should consume in an entire day. There's also the fact that restaurants have over time re-named their drinks. For some places, what used to be large is now medium. What used to be medium is now small. Customers think they are getting a great bargain, but you have to remember that food costs are less than operating costs for the restaurants. Giving you more doesn't hurt them so much. They just want you to keep coming back. 5. Tattooed food When you order something that's supposedly been flame-grilled, it likely hasn't gone through this process. It will still have the black grill marks on it, but those have been added to the meat during processing. The marks are actually branded on by the supplier. As for the smokey taste, that comes from the processing period, too. It's called adding “solution” to the patties, with some patties being made up of around 20 percent solution. This solution might consist of a bunch of preservatives, salt, animal fats, and flavorings. According to the experts, it works, people love seeing those grill marks even though they should know they are not real. It's good for the companies since paying for branded grill marks is a lot cheaper than installing grills in restaurants. Instead, the meat is blasted with hot air when it's first cooked, and then it might have a date with a machine that makes the grill mark, such as the “CM-40 II Charmarker”. Now for something a little more frightening. 4. What's in a chicken nugget? McDonald's has taken a lot of flak over the years for its famous chicken McNuggets and their lack of chicken, but if you go to the company's website now you'll read that they contain “100 percent white meat chicken.” Still, you can find a study published by The American Journal of Medicine in 2013 that talked about many chicken nuggets that were tested by scientists. The study didn't mention which restaurants' nuggets were featured, but said after testing it found at most places the nugget consisted of around 50 percent meat. So, what was in the rest of the nuggets, you might wonder with some degree of consternation? The scientists wrote they found, “ground-up bone, blood vessels, nerve, and connective tissue.” Even worse, scientists at the University of Mississippi Medical Center said what can often be found is a similar mash-up as what you might find in dog food. This is the sludge-type meat you've all likely seen, sometimes called “meat slurry” or “liquefied meat.” There is something called “mechanically separated meat.” This is basically a process in which all the meat left on the animal carcass is blasted off and then put through a sieve. The entire animal is not ground down and turned into mush, but all the edible tissue comes off. You might still find this kind of meat in things such as hot dogs and chicken nuggets, or even some patties, but if what you're eating contains mechanically separated meat by law the packaging should state as such. This kind of process doesn't involve any beef since people were concerned about mad cow disease. When it comes to pork, only 20 percent of your hotdog if bought in the US can contain the sludge. With chicken, it seems the product could contain 100 percent of mechanically separated meat. As for it being a public health risk, most experts say if the product has been made in a safe environment then it should be as safe as any other meat. It's also usually treated with something called ammonium hydroxide. This is to get rid of dangerous bacteria. Still, the European Food Safety Authority said, “High-pressure production processes increase the risk of microbial growth.” 3. Would you like a finger with that? You might not be surprised to hear that sometimes strange and even dangerous things are found in the products at fast-food restaurants. It was said in 2019, Mcdonald's sold 2.36 billion burgers worldwide. That worked out at around 75 burgers a second. Burger King sells a similar number of burgers, so if you add up all sales from fast-food restaurants, well, the numbers are mind boggling. That's one reason why sometimes things go wrong, and when they do, you can be sure you'll hear about it. In 2011, it was reported that a man in the US was suing Burger King after eating a Triple Stacker burger and finding a needle from a syringe had pierced his tongue. During his 6-day stay in the hospital, another needle was retrieved from the man's small intestine. In 2010, the media reported that a man had settled out of court after he bit into a Burger King burger and discovered it contained a condom. According to the guy's lawyer, he “sustained pain and suffering, vomiting, nightmares, mental and emotional distress.” Sure he did. In 2008, a guy in the UK had just opened his sweet chili chicken sandwich from Subway only to find a four-inch knife baked into it. His wife said later, “Something small like a hair you could understand - accidents happen - but not a knife.” The same year, at a Subway restaurant in New York City, a man said he found a 7-inch blade in his sandwich. He apparently only got as far as biting into the handle. Other things found in fast-food meals have been band-aids, feathers, lungs, a human tooth, chicken heads, a mouse, bullets, painkillers, household nails, human skin, and even a finger. Quite a few bits of fingers have been found in fact, notably one at Arby's. A woman once tried to claim compensation from Wendy's on another occasion, after saying she'd found a finger. The truth was, she'd placed it there herself. She'd been given it by her husband who'd bought it from a co-worker who'd had an accident at work. 2. Healthy might not be healthier Ok, so you're the type of person that only eats all the healthy stuff when you go to a fast-food restaurant. You know, items like a Taco salad. Well, when you look at all the things those salads contain, they aren't a healthy option at all. The average fast-food taco salad may contain 900 calories and 55 grams of fat. That's as much as the average burger and fries. Then there are items such as McDonald's “Fruit & Maple Oatmeal.” This kind of thing was created to attract more health-conscious people to the restaurant. It's not actually that healthy, though, just because it contains a lot of sugar. You'll get some health benefits from such a meal, but it's also like eating a full candy bar. The word “bland” is usually not in a fast-food chain's vocabulary. Maybe you like to go for the salad option, but the problem with fast-food salads is they so often come with those tasty creamy sauces, bits of bacon, fried chicken, or tacos. That's the conclusion that was come to by “The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” when they went in search of fast-food salads. McDonald's “Crispy Bacon Ranch Salad” for instance, had more fat and calories than a Big Mac. Cheesecake Factory's BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad contains 1,250 calories. The same goes for some smoothies. They can contain a lot of sugar, sometimes having as much as 900 calories. The truth is, fast-food restaurants are just likely not the best places to go if you want to eat healthily and are counting calories. As for pizza, that most wonderful invention bestowed on humankind, doesn't it sometimes come with olives, onions, and other veggies that we can feel proud of eating? Well, you should know that Americanized fast-food pizza is different from your traditional Italian pizza, especially if it was actually made in Italy. American fast-food pizzas usually contain much more bread, way more fat, way more salt, lower quality ingredients and are generally just much more calorific. Remember, this is all about you coming back for more and feeling you've got a good deal.