I realise that this may be an ever so slightly emotive title and I am not advocating that anyone should start shooting giant plastic clowns with nauseatingly cheesy grins and stupidly big feet (yep you’re right I don’t like clowns) but I do think that McDonalds and their ilk should be held to account for their contribution to the current obesity crises in the USA and the UK. They currently have a promotion which actively encourages their customers to buy larger portions of their ‘food’ in the hope of winning prizes. I use the term ‘food’ loosely as I believe that the packaging has slightly more nutritional content than what’s inside it!
However, in response to public criticism, they have now helpfully added a nutrition calculator to their site which apparently allows their customers to make informed choices. This for example will tell you that a sweet BBQ bacon and buttermilk chicken burger has 830 calories, 39g of fat etc and it will also show you what these are as a percentage of your daily values. So, with this particular burger, the saturated fat content works out as 53% of your daily allowance…….more than half……..in one burger………without fries………or a drink……..or a desert! The only two things it doesn’t give a percentage for are trans fats and sugars which are, without doubt, the two most dangerous things on the list. The sugar content of this one burger is 18g and the daily recommended allowance is 25g; that means that it contains roughly 75% of all the sugar that you should consume in one day – not really surprising that they didn’t want to add the percentage to this one is it?
If you add a vanilla shake to that, that’s another 59g of sugar which is more than 200% of your daily allowance; not only that but you’ve also just opted to take on board another 490 calories. If you manage to resist the McFlurry and other ice-cream deserts on offer and instead opt for the apple pie you will be consuming another 230 calories and another 12g of sugar. However, if the sugar high that you will be experiencing after eating 3 times your daily recommended amount in one sitting isn’t enough for you, they do offer a hot caramel sundae. It doesn’t look very big but it does contain a whopping 620 calories and another 57g of sugar.
The upshot of all this is that, if you take the burger, shake and a caramel sundae you have pretty much blown your calorie intake for the day as that lot adds up to almost 2,000. Yes, you did read that correctly – almost 2,000 calories in one meal. However, much worse, you will have also worked your way through 134g of sugar!!!
So Mr McDonald has very kindly broken down your fat, carbs, calories and vitamins (!) so that you can include his ‘food’ as part of a balanced, calorie controlled diet but he has carefully neglected to mention that regular intake of his products will make you fat. Yes, I’m sorry but I am going to be that blunt because it’s a fact. Even if you take some of the salad options they’re going to push you over your daily sugar limit in no time at all (yes I did say salad); the Southwest Butter Milk Crispy Chicken Salad has over 500 calories but it also has 9g of sugar which is over 35% of what you should be eating in a day. If you decide to have a ‘fat free’ chocolate milk with your salad (a label which is used to fool people into thinking that they’re eating healthily), you will add another 22g of sugar and that’s you done for the day.
All this begs the question WHY in the name of all that’s holy do people keep going back to McDonalds??? It’s really surprisingly simple – SUGAR is addictive. It’s more addictive than cocaine. People will tell you that McDonalds ‘food’ tastes great but, if they banned it from their diets completely for a week and then went back to it they would realise that it actually doesn’t taste great, just very, very sweet.
Obviously, despite the relatively low cost of their meals this means that McDonalds will continue to make enormous profits. Effectively they have a captive audience; they have created a band of followers that they know will keep coming back to get their ‘fix’ so it’s not in their interests to reduce the sugar content of their offerings. The business model has been so successful in fact that it has been copied many times over and there are now hundreds of fast food chains who tempt people in with ‘healthier’ and ‘low fat’ options in an effort to appease the authorities who are having to find the money to fund the current obesity crisis but until they reduce the sugar content nothing will change. People are getting fatter and fatter thanks to McDonalds and their counterparts and, quite frankly, it seems as though they really don’t give a s**t so, I’m not going to take it back, that giant plastic clown deserves to be shot!