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McDonald’s Soyland

McDonalds logo

What’s on the other side of those golden arches? McDonald’s Soyland. Yep. We who must avoid soy (and milk) will have trouble eating here.

The good news is…we can eat the oatmeal…but only the Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal..The Fruit & Maple Oatmeal is made with cream. I wish I had more good news. There isn’t much else we can order without significant alterations.

Here’s a snapshot of just one of the 33-page ingredients list for every popular menu item McDonald’s serves. I’ve highlighted in yellow all the soy and milk ingredients in those items. Notice how often you see that splash of yellow on the page…soy is in just about everything. The other pages look quite similar. I’m having an allergic reaction just reading this document.

Soy is in nearly everything at McDonalds

This is just one page (of 33) from the ingredients list for all the popular entrees McDonald's offers. Notice how many times you see "soy" appears to be in nearly everything they serve.

Let me summarize the McDonald’s ingredients list (so you don’t have to).

  • Each of the buns is made with soy; some also contain milk.
  • The bagel is made with soy, the biscuit is made with milk and soy, and pancakes/griddle cakes are made with milk and soy.
  • Each of their sauces, glazes, and salad dressings contain soy; some also contain milk.
  • All chicken meat and fish fillet are made with soy and are fried in soy.This means all chicken and fish sandwiches are a no-no, even if we asked for it wrapped in lettuce instead of the bun. Chicken salads are a no-no too.
  • The french fries are made with soy and fried in soy.
  • The “eggs” are prepared with “liquid margarine”, which contains 4 different soy ingredients(!!!).
  • The angus beef is prepared with “Angus Burger Seasoning” which does not list any soy ingredients, but it does list “natural and artificial flavors” made from “animal, plant, and botanical source”, which scares me a little.
These proteins are soy and milk free:
  • The hamburger patty is seasoned with salt and pepper.
  • The sausage patty is pork, water, seasoning, and preservatives.
  • The McRib patty is pork, water, salt, dextrose, and preservatives.

What soy and milk-free items can we order?

If we had no choice but to eat at McDonald’s (because in a weak moment we gave into our kids’ incessant pleas to play at McDonald’s play land), what could we order? We could ask for a hamburger patty (no Big Mac sauce) or a McRib patty (without the McRib sauce), and perhaps a tomato slice and pickle, wrapped in lettuce. And since this will be one dry “burger”, we may add ketchup and/or mustard (but not the honey mustard sauce which has soy). Instead of fries, order a bag of apple slices (sorry, the caramel dip is made with butter). The kids will want a toy – did you know we can purchase the toy separately? Even though we wouldn’t be ordering a kids meal, perhaps we could ask them to give us a kids bag for the protein “burger”, apples, and toy we order. For breakfast, we could order the Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal and a side of a sausage patty.

Sigh. This is getting ridiculous. My reader, Teresa, couldn’t have said it better. “I’m wondering WHY the heck people are adding so much soy into our food! Seriously! Is it really even NEEDED?”

What in the world is soy doing in all of our food? Until 2 months ago, if someone asked me if I ate soy, I would have replied, “only occasionally”. I thought it was something I had to order…a bowl of edamame or an order of tofu, etc. Who knew that the soy ingredient was so pervasive in our foods?!

I’m on a quest to find a restaurant with more soy-free and dairy-free choices. I’m tempted to send McDonalds, Jack in the Box, and Corner Bakery links to the blogs I wrote about them and ask them to consider removing soy from their entrees and/or provide more soy-free alternatives. Is that too much to ask?!

Wellness to you.

17 responses »

  1. If you really want to know why there is soy in everything you could read up on th Kalergi Plan.

  2. Have you made any Headway with restaurants since you first published this article? I have a severe allergy also, which makes eating out almost a chore rather than a pleasure. Yesterday I thought I would be safe ordering a baked potato, as the waitress had told me that everything on the menu contain soy. She returned to the table only to tell me that they rub the potato in soybean oil before salting it. Furthermore, the butter was actually margarine… with the first ingredient being soybean oil. Sigh.

  3. Soy flour is in most bread products these days! Besure to read the labels and I am sure there are code words, phrases, for Soy! So beware!


    • Soy works adversly to the Thyroid gland and contributes to Thyroid disease including cancer! So eat up and enjoy that wonder CHEAP product Soy in all your foods!

  5. I was told soybean oil was ok. It is not considered an allergen. That opens up a lot more options.

  6. Just a friendly note as someone who has worked at McDonalds in a pinch, regardless of what the Oatmeal ingredients SAY, they always put two shots of cream in them as they’re making it, so it still is NOT a safe idea. Their fruit smoothies come out of the same machine as their frappuccinos & they all have shots of yogurt added as well. It’s really not a good place.

    On the plus side, at Burger King my (dairy allergic only, anaphylaxis severity) husband can eat:
    Breakfast: Hashbrowns, Coffee/Orange Juice, & French Toast Sticks
    Lunch/Dinner: Whopper, Normal fries, Satisfries, Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Tenders, as well as their BBQ sauce.

    I do not recommend the Whopper when they’re running their “Whopper with cheese bits built in” special, as it does tend to cause cross contamination issues. We’ve not had any issues with the chicken options.

  7. Pingback: A Handy Collection of Fast Food Allergen Statements « A Soy and Milk-Free Life

  8. Drat – some of the Kind bars contain soy! Why? It is a fruit and nut bar! Some of their cereal items seem okay. And the bar with yogurt contains milk, too.

  9. Hi, Rena – I am enjoying your blog. I am not allergic to either soy or milk, but I don’t think too much of either is very healthy, so I avoid both, and especially excess soy. I was in Lassen’s Health Food store today looking at labels and found some soy free items and dairy free items, too – even chocolate! The Lassen’s in Thousand Oaks, where I was shopping, has a better selection than the Lassen’s in Simi. I am avoiding excess sugars and high fructose corn syrup, and I found some snack bars called Kind which are made with nuts and dried fruit. They have a website and I checked the ingredients on some of their products and they are milk and soy free (at least the ones I checked) Good luck in your quest to find soy and milk free items; if I see anything that looks good I will let you know!

  10. Hi Rena,
    I bought a flourless bread 7-grain from Trader Joes and I don’t see any soy or dairy in it. I have it with an egg for breakfast every day. Take a look over there!

    Teresa H.

    • Thanks, Teresa! Do you remember the name of the bread? I just went to Trader Joes this week and found several good options. I wonder if any of them are what you found? I took pics of them and plan to update the blog about soy and milk free bread soon. Thanks again!

      • Trader Joes is a great option for soy free. They have multiple crackers, breads and snacks that are safe.

        The Pp who posted about Kind bars was mistaken, they’re mostly soy. Annie’s Berry Berry crunch bars have no soy. But with Annie’s always read the labels because they have different formulations for different stores. Some have soy (“natural vitamin E”), some don’t.

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