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The Truth About McDonald’s Nutrition

Posted Feb 28 2011 9:00am

I don’t usually take aim at fast food. It’s just too easy. There’s nothing remotely Naked about the food at these restaurants. And as we’re about to see, even when they claim to be giving you real food, they’re not. They’re lying to you. And there’s no way they don’t know that they are blatantly lying.

So now, I present to you some realities about McDonald’s nutrition.

McDonald’s Nutrition Revealed

Like I said, I usually don’t take potshots at fast food because, well, most people know it’s not healthy stuff. Then I came across an article by Mark Bittman in the NYT titled How To Make Oatmeal…Wrong .

This was the first I’d heard of McDonald’s foray into the oatmeal segment, which they declare to be a “bowl full of wholesome.” The beauty of not having cable TV is that I don’t see all of the commercials. So let’s go back to this “bowl full of wholesome” thing and see just how McDonald’s defines wholesome.

For starters, there’s 32 grams of sugar. For the record, a 12oz can of Coca-Cola has 39 grams. Mickey D’s obviously thinks that’s wholesome. Here’s a look at the entire nutrition chart

As Mr. Bittman points out:

The aspect one cannot argue is nutrition: Incredibly, the McDonald’s product contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. (Even without the brown sugar it has more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.)

The Egg McMuffin would be significantly tastier, I’m sure.

McDonald’s Ingredients

While we’re at it, let’s take a look at the source of that interestingly sugary nutrition. I mean, it’s oatmeal, right? How bad can it be? Even McDonald’s can’t screw this up, right? Hahaha…that’s cute!

Oatmeal – Whole grain rolled oats, brown sugar, food starch-modified, salt, natural flavor (plant source), barley malt extract, caramel color
Diced Apples – Apples, calcium ascorbate (a blend of calcium and vitamin C to maintain freshness and color)
Cranberry Raisin Blend – Dried sweetened cranberries (sugar, cranberries), California raisins, golden raisins, sunflower oil, sulfur dioxide (preservative)
Light Cream – Milk, cream, sodium phosphate, datem, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sodium citrate, carrageenan

Only the apples and the cream-like substance that actually has a couple of dairy ingredients don’t have added sugar. Why do they need to add sugar to already sweet fruit? I suppose that says more about the average person’s taste buds than McDonald’s.

It’s Not Faster

Okay, okay, so the nutrition angle is out. What about the convenience factor? I mean, some mornings you’re in a rush and you have to have something in your belly, right? Well, aside from the aforementioned nutritional disaster, fast food still isn’t your best option. In the time it takes you to sit in the drive-thru, you could:

  • Grab a pre-made portable container of last night’s leftover or a frittata
  • Scramble as many eggs as your appetite requires with some onions, garlic, blue cheese, and basil
  • Make your own oatmeal (as Mr. Bittman points out), if you’re an oatmeal eater
  • Realize you don’t have to eat constantly and try The 2 Meal Solution

It’s really that easy. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I grab fast food of one sort or another now and then. I love some Chipotle/Qdoba/Moe’s style “fresh Mex”. I live in the land of In N’ Out Burger. But at least don’t choose it because you think it’s healthy. Just pick some up now and then when you want it. And eat real food the rest of the time.

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