By Shay Spence
July 22, 2016 11:19 AM
Tim Boyle/Getty

Before you order that fast food bacon, egg and cheese, you might want to take a closer look at what that “egg” actually is.

On Thursday, Dunkin’ Donuts announced it was giving its menu some quality upgrades after sluggish recent sales. While exact specifics of what this will entail are still unclear, the breakfast chain did say that improving their eggs was a top priority. As it is now, the “eggs” in question contain over a dozen different ingredients. What could that possibly include, you ask?

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Here’s how it breaks down, according to the company’s website: Egg whites, water, egg yolks, modified corn starch, natural sautéed flavor (soybean oil, medium chain triglycerides, natural flavor), salt, artificial butter flavor (propylene glycol, artificial flavor), xanthan gum, citric acid, coarse ground black pepper.

If you’re unable to pronounce most of these, you’re not alone. Ingredients like modified corn starch, xanthan gum, and citric acid — while admittedly scary sounding — are common thickening and stabilizing ingredients in many foods, and aren’t necessarily harmful to your health. It’s when things like “natural sauteéd flavor” and “artificial butter flavor” come into the equation that things get a little dicier. Plus, when you’re eating eggs, don’t you want the ingredient list to just be “eggs”?

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While this lengthy list may seem unsettling, we wanted to see how Dunkin’s breakfast sandwiches stack up against their competitors’ on-the-go eggs. Indeed, all of the restaurants’ eggs included some type of stabilizer and preservative, though some definitely come with more baggage than others. Check out the list below to see how they all compare according to their websites.

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Starbucks: Egg whites, egg yolks, milk, modified food starch, salt, citric acid

McDonald’s: Whole eggs, nonfat milk, modified food starch, salt, citric acid, soy lecithin

Burger King: Whole eggs, whey, soybean oil, salt, Natural and artificial butter flavor, xanthan gum, citric acid, annatto (color)

Chick Fil-AWhole eggs, water, and contains 2% or less of the following: Salt, natural butter-type flavor (medium chain triglycerides, coconut oil, natural flavors), xanthan gum, citric acid, annatto (color)

Subway: Whole eggs, egg whites, nonfat dry milk, water. Contains 2% or less of the following: soybean oil, liquid butter alternative (liquid and hydrogenated soybean oil), salt, soy lecithin, natural flavor, tocopherols (vitamin E), corn starch, salt, xanthan gum, citric acid, white pepper, beta-carotene (color)

Taco Bell: Whole eggs, soybean oil, salt, citric acid, pepper, flavor (sunflower oil, flavors), xanthan gum, guar gum

The lesson? If you want your eggs to just be eggs (and have a tendency to avoid ingredients like “butter-type flavor”), you may want take the extra five minutes to whip ’em up at home.

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