11 Common Fast-Food Myths That Just Aren't True

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Vote up the facts about fast food that finally set the record straight.

Whether it's a burger from a drive-thru, or a dine-in experience at your local McDonald's or Taco Bell, hitting up a fast-food restaurant can be simple and satisfying. 

Not everything that goes into fast food is ideal, and many items have come and gone from fast-food menus over the years. All of that contributes to myths about our favorite fast-food joints - things we may or may not have believed to be true. 

We compiled some of the fast-food myths we've heard and finally got to the bottom of them. What we found was a mix of truth, urban legend, and flat-out lies, but we're glad we finally set the record straight. Now go eat some fries.


  • When Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to KFC in 1991, rumors swirled that it had to do with what it served. One popular theory was that the fast-food chain couldn't use the word “chicken” in its name anymore because its products didn't contain chicken. This was, at least in part, fueled by claims that the chain used mutant chickens, allegations that were made in China. 

    The real reason for the change was multifaceted. Kentucky Fried Chicken wanted a shorter name, and when the state of Kentucky copyrighted its name, they decided to make the change. Instead of paying Kentucky to keep using the name of the state in its own moniker, KFC took advantage of the chance to go with “KFC.”

    Another benefit was removing "fried" from its name, an increasingly taboo word for consumers. Still one more factor? A lot of people were already using KFC anyway.

    Verdict? Just a myth. 

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    MYTH: Arby's Was Named To Sound Like What It Served

    If you say it out loud, it seems obvious: Arby's sounds just like "R" and “B” - which must stand for “roast beef,” right? Considering the fast-food chain is known for its roast beef sandwiches, this makes a lot of sense.

    That's not where the name Arby's comes from, but it's a fun addition to the actual story. The "R" and "B" that did lend themselves to the name actually come from Arby's founders, the Raffel brothers. 

    Arby's began serving food in 1964 in Boardman, OH. Leroy and Forrest Raffel sold their sandwich for 69 cents - far more than a McDonald's burger that cost 15 cents - and knew that their customer base was going to be "a little more affluent" as a result. According to Leroy Raffel, their first offerings included roast beef served on "an egg bun with dimples on the top and sesame seeds and we buttered it and toasted it."

    They began to franchise, and in 1976 sold the chain to the Royal Crown Cola Co. 

    Verdict? Just a myth, but makes for a great coincidence.

  • According to one rumor, Tim Hortons added nicotine to its coffee to make it addictive. To address the rumor in 2004, CBC News' Disclosure decided to test various coffees, including Tim Hortons and Starbucks. Caffeine levels varied and no nicotine was found. 

    In 2013, The Torontoist looked again into whether the coffee and food chain added habit-forming substances to its products. Tim Hortons spokesperson Michelle Robichaud responded:

    There is in fact nothing added to our coffee. We believe that our guests are addicted to consistency.

    Verdict? Just a myth.

  • What's a good alternative to an onion? If one believes stories about White Castle's choice, it's onion-flavored cabbage.

    Rumors that White Castle, the "first fast-food hamburger chain" in the United States, used cabbage soaked in onion juice were met with assertions that the onions found on the chain's signature Slider and other products are real. 

    Verdict? Just a myth.