There is nothing more iconic than the yellow arches of McDonald's. But, who knew that the fast food chain that has stood the test of time produces food that is literally everlasting. A recent experiment done by nutritionist Joann Bruso, showed that when left untouched, and unrefrigerated a McDonald's Happy Meal will remain virtually identical to the day it was purchased.

Even I was shocked by the findings_ no mold, no smell, no visual signs at all that a year had passed. A possible reason for the durability of everyone's favorite meal can be traced to trans-fatty acids and a whopping dose of preservatives. An analysis done in Great Britain, found that McDonald's regularly uses over 78 additives in its recipes. Trans-fatty acids, also known as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, are now used to bake goods, fry foods, and to extend the shelf life of many household products. While trans-fatty acids may be great for companies to use, aiding in the preservation of products, their stability makes it hard for the body to break down and burn off.

The bottom line: eat at your own risk.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto www.FFactorDiet.com.

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.

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