McDonald’s jumps on the bandwagon

From Spin of the Day:

Monday, July 29, 2002
Making the World Safe for Obesity

PR giant Golin/Harris is bragging about its new “Global Obesity Task Force.” The Task Force doesn’t seek to fight childhood obesity, but to protect the interests and image of the multibillion dollar Obesity Industry. Their press release states: “With consumers becoming increasingly wary of American ‘big business,’ many companies find themselves under scrutiny. … The increase in childhood obesity has special interest and government groups seeking to hold someone responsible. And, corporate America is the likely target. Golin/Harris International has created its Global Obesity Task Force with proprietary tools to help companies under fire in the obesity debate… Wide ranges of industries are vulnerable and need to act to protect their brands, businesses and reputations. Quick service restaurant companies, snack makers, beverage producers, the television and video game industries… ‘When managed appropriately, companies can withstand issues without public confidence and brand trust eroding,’ said Kathy Weber.” G/H clients include McDonald’s and Tyson Foods. Source: Golin/Harris News Release, July 29, 2002

And yesterday, McDonald’s USA Announces Significant Reduction of Trans Fatty Acids With Improved Cooking Oil:

The new oil will reduce French fry TFA levels by 48%, reduce saturated fat by 16% and dramatically increase polyunsaturated fat by 167%. While the total fat content in the fries remains unchanged, health experts agree that reducing TFAs and saturates while increasing polyunsaturates is beneficial to heart health. Notably, McDonald’s French fries already had the lowest TFA and saturated fat levels in the national quick service restaurant (QSR) industry.

Now, as they point out, the total fat content is the same, which means that a single large McDonald’s fries still has 540 calories, about 1/4 of typical daily requirements. And it still has more than a third of the RDA for fat, although new research has suggested that RDA may be misguided.

With this nutrition initiative, McDonald’s becomes the first national QSR company to set a goal of eliminating TFAs in cooking oil.

Probably strictly true, however:

  • Wendy’s switched from shortening to oil six years ago, to reduce saturated fat and trans-fatty acids.
  • Burger king cut saturated fats by 50% when it switched from an animal/vegetable mix to partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in 1990.

Ah, that wonderful ability of PR flacks to mislead with the truth. Be ever on guard against Spin… (Source: a Reuters article at Yahoo)

So the bottom line is this: McDonald’s french fries are still bad for you; they’re still high in fat. Then there was that recent report about fried potatoes containing potential carcinogens. And if new research proves true, the potato part of the fries are even worse than the fat part…

posted at 12:38 pm on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 in General | Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. dnk says:

    In a speech to the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the surgeon general, urged pediatricians to do more to combat childhood obesity, noting that many overweight children became overweight adults. “We must teach our children to enjoy healthy foods in healthy portions,” he said. Over weight people are more likely to have hypertension, arthritis, stroke, high blood cholesterol levels, diabetes and some kinds of cancer.

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