I have to hand it to them — Chick-fil-A has managed to do fast food differently. As far as service is concerned, it’s about the friendliest and most attentive fast food operation I’ve ever done business with. And pre-Reboot, I did a lot of business with them.

But smiles on young faces who seem eager and glad to work while systematically responding “my pleasure” to every “thank you” doesn’t translate to physical health. We still have to ask, “Is your product going to harm me?”

Americans are funny sometimes. I think we inherently know that the majority of fast food is garbage. But we still hang on to our favorite brands and defend them at times. I’ve heard something like, “Burger King is better quality meat than McDonalds — you should go there instead” many, many times.

And the same holds true for Chick-fil-A; people are under the impression that Chick-fil-A is a notch above the rest. They believed the same about Subway until they found out they use yoga mat chemicals in their bread to make it more stretchy.

Oh shit — that same chemical is in Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches too! It’s in the bread of a lot of places, actually. This is one reason why I jumped all over Vani Hari for her fruitless attack on Subway to get them to remove the chemical. Effectively, people now see Subway as a do-gooder for removing the chemical which means more people will go eat their crap meat now.

Hey Vani, that shit is everywhere! And besides, bread is an ANTI food anyway. Why are we wasting time trying to make ANTI foods .01% less ANTI? Smh. (By the way, Vani Hari ignores me completely because her poop apparently doesn’t stink. It must be all that azodicarbonamide-less bread she eats). If she wasn’t just out to make herself more popular she’d see the big picture. There, I said it.

But this isn’t just about bread. This is about the safety of Chick-fil-A food and why you should consider drastically limiting your family’s consumption of the stuff.

Let’s have it. Is Chick-Fil-A healthy?

Let’s start with their famous chicken sandwich — you know, the one they invented. And boy did they. This had to take a lot of time and money in a distant laboratory somewhere.

By the way, if you think about a chicken sandwich it’s only four things: chicken, breading, oil, and bread. Alas, it’s not that simple when it comes to fast food. I’ve highlighted some important aspects of the Chick-fil-A science experiment…

Chicken (whole breast filet, seasoning [salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika], seasoned coater [enriched bleached wheat flour {with malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid}, sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening {baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate}, spice, soybean oil, color {paprika}], milk wash [water, nonfat milk, egg], peanut oil [fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and dimethylpolysiloxane as an anti-foaming agent]), bun (enriched flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, folic acid], water, high fructose corn syrup, yeast, contains 2% or less of each of the following: liquid yeast, soybean oil, nonfat milk, salt, wheat gluten, soy flour, dough conditioners [may contain one or more of the following: mono- and diglycerides, calcium and sodium stearoyl lactylates, calcium peroxide], soy flour, amylase, yeast nutrients [monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate], calcium propionate added to retard spoilage, soy lecithin, cornstarch, butter oil [soybean oil, palm kernel oil, soy lecithin, artificial flavor, TBHQ and citric acid added as preservatives, and artificial color]), pickles (cucumbers, water, vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, alum, potassium sorbate [preservative], natural flavors, polysorbate 80, yellow 5, blue 1).

Why does a chicken sandwich have food coloring? Why does a chicken breast have sugar in it? In fact, why is sugar an ingredient in multiple instances? These are just a couple of the unexplainable aspects of the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich.

A lot of the ingredients are simple ANTI foods already talked about here. There’s a few others that are worth highlighting though. And keep in mind that when determining the health impact of food, the sheer number of ingredients in such a simple meal should cause alarm bells to rock your skull.

Monosodium glutamate is an excitotoxin that affects brain function. While I’m not ready to claim that MSG and ADHD are strongly linked, I have no doubt that screwing with children’s neurotransmitters isn’t a good thing. And for all of the pregnant women out there who send their husbands out to grab Chick-Fil-A at 9pm to fufill those cravings, MSG crosses the placental barrier.

Sodium Aluminum Phosphate is a preservative and chemical leaving agent. It’s carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic. Again, I’m not saying you’ll die after the 5th sandwich, I just want you to be aware of what you’re putting in your body at this “healthier fast food option” we call Chick-fil-A.

TBHQ is another preservative. They call it TBHQ because tert-Butylhydroquinone isn’t nearly as sexy. While it’s technically an antioxidant, there’s a little more to the story. Stuff like stomach tumors and DNA damage come to mind. In all fairness, there’s a lot of contradicting studies. But my health is too important to play science games. It’s a completely unnecessary food additive — why take chances with my or my child’s health?

Potassium Sorbate is yet another preservative. And the science on this one is less controversial in my estimation. It’s a known skin, eye, and respiratory irritant. And studies (in vitro) have shown that potassium sorbate is genotoxic and mutagenic to human blood cells, specifically to DNA in blood lymphocytes.

I’m not going to go on. I think the point has been made. Even simpler things at Chick-fil-A are future death traps. Take their glorious waffle fries, for example:

Potatoes (vegetable oil [canola oil, palm oil], disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate [to promote color retention], dextrose), fully refined high oleic canola oil (TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and Dimethylopolysiloxane added as an anti-foaming agent).

Seriously? Can’t we just cut up some potatoes and fry them in coconut oil or lard or something, sprinkle with sea salt and call it a day?

How about a milkshake? Vanilla ice cream and milk right?

Icedream (whole milk, sugar, nonfat dry milk, artificial flavor, corn starch, mono & diglycerides, microcrystalline cellulose, carrageenan, guar gum, Yellow 5 & 6), milkshake base (whole milk, sugar, cream, whey powder milk, nonfat dry milk, artificial flavor, disodium phosphate, mono and diglycerides, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, guar gum, cellulose gum, carrageenan), whipped cream (cream, milk, sugar, sorbitol, nonfat milk solids, artificial flavor, mono and diglycerides, carrageenan, polysorbate 80, mixed tocopherols [vitamin E] to protect flavor, propellant: nitrous oxide), cherries, (high fructose corn syrup, water, potassium sorbate [a preservative], sodium benzoate [a preservative], citric acid, artificial flavor, FD&C Red #40, sulfur dioxide [a preservative]).

Son. of. a. ****! Nitrous oxide, really?

And why is there corn starch in my milkshake? Why would that ever be necessary?

I know what you’re thinking: “I’m slicker than that, bro. I know what’s up. I do it right at Chick-fil-A by ordering two grilled chicken sandwiches with no bun. It’s a way to get quick, clean protein when I’m out and about!”

I see you. I know you. I used to be you. And you’re wrong.

Chargrilled chicken (whole breast filet, water, seasoning [sugar, salt, dextrose, garlic powder, onion powder, maltodextrin, autolyzed yeast extract, spice, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, natural flavors, paprika {color}], flavoring [yeast extract, modified food starch, sea salt], oil blend [soybean oil, palm kernel oil, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, TBHQ and citric acid added as preservatives, and artificial color], seasoning [sugar, spice, paprika, and soybean oil], potassium phosphate).

That’s not the ingredients in the whole sandwich, that’s just the ingredients in the chicken. Here’s the real secret: Chicken at Chick-fil-A isn’t just chicken. Got it?

Sadly (only for my tastebuds), my relationship with Chick-fil-A came to an end a few years ago. And I felt the need to publish this because I still hear people mumble, “Chick-Fil-A is healthier than McDonalds.” But it’s not. It’s really not. That nonsense needs to stop.

If you’re new here, I want you to notice how I got through this entire article without mentioning the words calories or fat. We do things differently around here — it’s about quality, not quantity because that’s where the truth lives. There’s a lot of bogus constructs in this world and myths that we’ve bought into. If you want to keep hearing the truth about food and exercise, click here.

Are you a Chick-fil-A regular? Congrats on still being alive to tell about it — let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Comments

  • Wenchypoo says:

    Nothing good EVER came out of a drive-thru window–even if you don’t do the drive-thru, if the place even HAS a drive-thru window, RUN LIKE HELL as far away as you can!

  • lisa says:

    Hey Kevin – I’m that person that thinks going bunless is ok..I was there last October and ordered a grilled bunless chicken feeling proud of myself, but what I really got was less chemicals than my kids. ugh! Thanks for sharing!

  • Mariolis Molina Uribe says:

    Bye bye chick fil a!

  • Andy says:

    What’s with the random attack on Chic-Fil-A? To believe that any restaurant you are eating from in the United States–particularly a quick service restaurant–that serves fried food is “healthy” is kind of moronic. I work at Chick-Fil-A and how it differs from other restaurants is that the chicken is actually prepared raw and gets hand breaded every day throughout the day. Not just thawed out and warmed up like most of its competitors. The vast majority of restaurants you go to will have some kind of preservatives or flavor additives in their food. If you wanted to get perfectly organic chemical free chicken, the food would cost a LOT more and take MUCH longer to prepare and probably wouldn’t taste as good. And frankly, if you’re going for “health” then don’t go to a place that serves fried chicken and french fries–especially when the company never claimed to be a healthy choice to begin with.

    • Kevin Geary says:

      Hi Andy,

      1) People search on Google for “is Chick Fil A healthy?” — I provided an answer to the question.
      2) Some people DO THINK that Chick Fil A is healthy. — I provided a counter argument to that belief.
      3) Some people want to know WHY something isn’t healthy. — I provided an answer to the question.

      I’m well aware of how economics works. I’m also a fan of showing people how cheap food isn’t cheap when you factor in the cost of their future medical bills.

  • ChickF says:

    You are fucking moron.

  • christina says:

    I would like to start by saying I have eaten numerous times at Chick-fil-A and their products have never been presented so distastefully. Secondly, their food is super addictive because it is both sweet(thats where the sugar in the chicken comes in) and well seasoned that provides a delicious balance far surpassing its competition in the fast food industry. However, NEVER did it cross my mind that it was really that much “healthier”. I like that when I order their chicken I have no doubt that the meat they are serving, me with a side of exceptional respect and manners, is infact CHICKEN. on that note, I also believe that this article was very informative and detailed in respect to the contents of Chick-fil-A’s most popular menu items. And I truly appreciate the stated information. As with any blog or article written by a human being there are also opinions expressed throughout. This is expected. If in reading this article you got offended at any point, I must apologise for your inability to filter fact from opinion, learn what you must (if anything) and move on with your life. The question simply put was ” is chick-fil-a healthy?” The simple answer is “No”. Everything else is fluffed with opinion, personal experience and diatery facts – thus it being called an article. After all, who would waste their time to evwn switch to reading this if the only thing written was: Is Chick-fil-A Healthy? In fact, no. It is not.

    What a lame article that would be. Now, having a family whose health I take into deep concideration when choosing places to eat when we are not at home I would choose chick-fil-a over any other fastfood restaurant any day, but because I am health concious we do not eat out but maybe once every month or two. Because we know it is not healthy. But they are super friendly and respectful and clean and have good intentions reguarding the food they do serve. Overall, nice article, very informative for those who care. Much apreciated. Sorry for those who only got offense from it.

    • Kevin Geary says:

      Thank you for your balanced thoughts, Christina. It sounds like you’ve taken an objective look at the situation and have made your choices out of practicality rather than simple emotion. Can’t knock that 😉

  • MrsL says:

    Great article. Thanks for getting this info out there. I’m so sick of self-righteous people saying they NEVER eat at McD’s but they don’t blink at going to CFA. How did CFA manage to perpetuate this “healthier than everyone else” philosophy without ever advertising itself as such (unlike Subway who have promoted themselves as healthy)?

  • Thalia V says:

    Chick-fil-A is good af. Stop slandering my go to place to eat. I had 2 spicy deluxe sandwiches today. Yum. I hope Chick-fil-A takes over the world and shoves chicken sandwiches down your throat as punishment for this rubbish article. Cianara suckers, I’m going to Chick-fil-A.

  • Big Tom says:

    This Article And Comments Made My Day!

    Also very informative and thank you for taking the time to explain.

    But ROTFL At The Comments

  • Megan says:

    I guess I won’t be eating chik-fil-a anymore.. *throws away coupons

  • TG says:

    Break out the tinfoil hats!!!
    Who bloody cares, it’s still fast food? And, still better than most by a long shot.
    Here’s the best advice for eating. If you want to know exactly what’s in your food and also eat the healthiest–MAKE IT YOURSELF!!!
    “Down with Chick-Fil-A, they are trying to kill us!” Puh-leeeeez

  • Jordan says:

    Did you know you can go into any chick-fil-a and ask for a tour of the kitchen? Did you know that you have to work for chick-fil-a for a minimum of 10 years before owning a franchise? And employees have a 15 hour tutorial, and all receive a food handling license, before working at chick fil a? Yes, it isn’t healthier than a home cooked meal. But I can promise it’s healthier than any other “fast food” restaurant. It’s also privately owned, which is refreshing compared to all the corporate food companies out there. Chick fil a is delicious, and is probably a better alternative than kfc, McDonald’s, Burger King, canes, Dairy Queen, Ect. But it will be picked on for its principles.

    • Edward Williams says:

      Take it from a Chickfila employee of 3 years. Those questions answers are limited by state. In my state every question you just asked would be a lie. Kevin is right. Be warned.

    • Kevin Geary says:

      Did you know you can go into any chick-fil-a and ask for a tour of the kitchen? Did you know that you have to work for chick-fil-a for a minimum of 10 years before owning a franchise? And employees have a 15 hour tutorial, and all receive a food handling license, before working at chick fil a? Yes, it isn’t healthier than a home cooked meal. But I can promise it’s healthier than any other “fast food” restaurant.

      You do realize that getting a tour of a kitchen, employee work time before owning, the length of the new employee tutorial, and a food handling license all have precisely nothing to do with the health of the food, right? So, you can’t use those things as arguments to back up your claim that “it’s healthier than any other fast food restaurant.”

      • Exxodus says:

        Mr Geary, I loved this article and don’t have any moronic loyalty to any “fast-food” as we’ve quickly noted from those who think a clean kitchen and facilities are all it takes to make food “healthy” I’m wondering if the majority of those commenting with anger and blind-loyalty to this chemical concoction of chicken, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and enough artificial flavoring, coloring and preservatives aren’t paid stooges, yes-men, or outright sycophants looking to “move-up” in corporate. Naah.. They wouldn’t do that nor would they have unhealthy food…

  • S Tannous says:

    This article proves that any idiot can write a non scientific piece about something they know nothing about.

  • Betsy says:

    I’m so blown away that you could do a one page rant about anti-food but jumped all over that other girl for doing the same? My advice to you is to do more home cooking and less eating of trash food if it really bothers you. Most of Americans are morbidly obese and an article isn’t going to stop them. Get a life or a clue, whatever’s easier for you.

    • Kevin Geary says:

      Hi Betsy,

      Your comment is hugely problematic. Are you insinuating that nobody should try to educate anyone about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle because “Americans are morbidly obese and an article isn’t going to help them?” That’s a very DIM view of the world you live in, isn’t it?

      Furthermore, who did I “jump all over?” It seems you’re the one doing the jumping, with your comments about “get a life or a clue.” No?

  • Sesh says:

    I’m so glad to finally find someone who doesn’t bend over every time they see a chick-fil-a sandwich. They always say that chick-fil-a uses “all white breast meat” but McDonalds and BK advertise the same thing. McDonalds said that there is no actual way to measure how much of their sandwiches are actually chicken and which parts are filler and such. I’m sick and tired of everyone always glorifying the place. Not to mention their ideals on gays and just general bigotry.

    Also, I love the way this article was written. Insightful, funny and informed.
    “Son. of. a. ****! Nitrous oxide, really?
    And why is there corn starch in my milkshake? Why would that ever be necessary?”
    Lol.

    Also, it would probably just be better to ignore the trolls and angered commenters. They’re just there to get responses out of you. Don’t pay them any attention, or else it just fuels the other trolls to continue to start stuff.

  • eeidfn says:

    I like my local Chick-Fil-As because of their 98/100 rating given by the food inspector. Definitely needed to prevent food poisoning, which I’ve got from other fast food places.
    As for the ingredients, the article does not say anything about the % of each ingredient?
    One also wonders if ChickFilA does better in a comparative analysis of other fast food places.

    • Exxodus says:

      Wow, I didn’t know your local health inspector did an overall analysis of the ingredients as well. This article wasn’t written from the perspective of one charged with the task of “health inspector” which only serves to police establishments for their food handling, but one of nutrition and damn are you so enamored by a fast-food place you forget all about what’s in the food you eat and are only concerned about the cleanliness of the eatery? That’s the equivalent of straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

  • Chaos says:

    If you say “studies show” please provide documentation or a link to the information. Always document your sources. Thank you. Also most items bought at a grocery store have similar ingredients. Unless you grow your own food, you can not be sure that everything you put into your body is 100% safe and healthy.

  • bhop73 says:

    I used to love Chick Fil A.. I miss it now, but the reason I stopped eating it is because, even without all the chemicals, nearly all of their chicken sandwiches has almost, or more than the daily recommendation for sodium intake. That’s just the sandwich, you’ll probably get their delicious waffle fries too. This is in one sitting. Nobody ever thinks about that, only calories and fat, so they think it’s healthy. I certainly never thought about it until I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

  • Jorge Ramirez says:

    I always said the day I find out chick fil a isn’t real chicken, that day is going to be a sad day. That day is today…currently sitting in chick fil a with half if my second sandwich gone and fires, asking myself, why, and can should I finish. Smh.

  • brian says:

    haha, Kevin’s responses are pretty funny. Also, he copied this article almost word for word, but I think that’s a good thing, as CFA is overall not a healthy place to eat and people need to know that. Unless this was written before 2011, this was pretty much a C&P job.

  • Rachel says:

    What is extremely difficult for me to swallow (pun intended) is the ever-changing definition of “healthy.” It makes logical sense to eat things as closely to their original state as possible because I believe food is fuel and our bodies are comprised of all the elements found around us in the world in varying percentages so since we are constantly burning up our fuel we need to replenish it accordingly. But when our fuel source is slightly or drastically altered in a lab from its original form it would most likely be harder for our body to utilize. Our bodies are amazingly resilient and take a lot of abuse but ultimately we all die. Improving your fuel choices may give you better quality of the time you’re here but it can’t make you immortal. Some may choose a chemical high, however short lived over a chemical balance long term. To each his own.

    • Kevin Michael Geary says:

      I think the practicality of the term “healthy” is seen in the skyrocketing obesity and preventable disease rates.

      It’s not just about preventing early death, it’s about relieving the burden on the healthcare system and caring for all these people who are wrecking their bodies and health.

      For those that care about themselves, it’s about quality of life in the present and it’s about avoiding disability, dementia, and dependence in middle and old age.

      But really, there’s a lot of people pushing for universal healthcare, right? Well, a universal system cannot handle the burden created by the record numbers of people who don’t or won’t take care of themselves.

      We’re not advocating for perfection here. We’re advocating for education, awareness, and practical habit change.

  • Samuel Kendrick says:

    A few observations about the article…First, calling bread antifood is incorrect, enriched flour is a huge source of nutrition in the world today. Chick fil a does indeed use enriched flour.
    2nd, most of those ingredients that cannot be pronounced, are indeed found in nature and not invented in a lab. People commonly assume that all chemicles were invented by man, same holds true for pharmaceuticals. Most all drugs are “natural”. Of course not all but I think among your concerns MSG being neuro toxin…simply there is no proof of that.
    Not sure why you singled out Nitrous Oxide as a worrisome ingredient. It’s used as a propellant in whipped cream cannisters because it’s a cold and b…a gas, one that leaves no trace in the whipped cream.
    Not that you’re assesment is wrong But you find the same ingredients in food bought off the shelves of your local health food store.

    • Kevin Michael Geary says:

      First, calling bread antifood is incorrect, enriched flour is a huge source of nutrition in the world today.

      Foods that have to be artificially enriched with synthetic vitamins is not what I would call a nutritious food.

      most of those ingredients that cannot be pronounced, are indeed found in nature and not invented in a lab.

      By all means, don’t allude to this. Please inform us by citing which individual ingredients are all natural and not harmful. Right now, all you’re doing is making generic claims without any evidence.

  • Pete says:

    Great article. True, of course. May I offer a follow up article idea?

    WHY are all these things in the sandwich? What purpose is there? There HAS to be a reason. Companies don’t spend money to add things to their products for no reason. Would love to know.

  • Isaiah says:

    :((( But Chic fil a is so good. Thank you for the information.

  • Fermonator says:

    Nicely done article but can you really argue that chick fil a is more harmful than the other chains?

    What I really want to know- is why hate on chick fil a instead of the entire fast food industry?

    You clearly have something against chick fil a. Why Gary? Why?

    • Kevin Michael Geary says:

      Hi There! My name is Kevin, not Gary 🙂

      I explained why in the article…

      Americans are funny sometimes. I think we inherently know that the majority of fast food is garbage. But we still hang on to our favorite brands and defend them at times. I’ve heard something like, “Burger King is better quality meat than McDonalds — you should go there instead” many, many times.

      And the same holds true for Chick-fil-A; people are under the impression that Chick-fil-A is a notch above the rest.

  • Jodi H says:

    I have never eaten at Chick-Fil-A and never will. I was doing a google search to see why people love this place so much…every time I’m driving past the place it’s packed! Fast Food is Garbage!! Thanks for this article…it was very informative and I can’t wait to show it to all the people I know who rave over this place!

  • Oliver says:

    this is so interesting and helpful thank you so much!

  • I final got chic fil a dor the first time and was happy.because it tasted real. 😶

  • Debbie says:

    Please tell Weight Watchers all this – Thank you

  • Kris says:

    No fast food is “healthy” especially all the sugar they used in every part of the product they sell. If you have Netflix, watch the documentary Fed Up, it will open your eyes to the obesity problem around they world.

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