McDonalds’ Chef Considers Menu to be Healthy

McDonald’s senior director of culinary innovation, “chef” Daniel Coudreaut, was recently interviewed by Lisa Abraham, a Beacon Journal food writer.

Besides chef Coudreaut’s crazy statement that he “doesn’t see anything on the menu that’s unhealthy,” he was promoting the “healthy” items on McDonald’s menu.

It made me giggle that he’s an actual “chef” – a chef??! at McDonald’s??? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

He should be refer to himself as a chemist, because there is nothing chef-like about creating the “food products” at McDonald’s, and there certainly isn’t anything healthy about them either.

It’s all about choice, balance and moderation. There are healthful items on the McDonald’s menu — oatmeal, yogurt parfaits, salads, grilled chicken and low-fat milk.

Stop right there! These are what he considers the healthful items at McDonalds? Oatmeal, yogurt parfaits, salads, grilled chicken and low-fat milk?

Time to dissect each one!

McDonald’s Oatmeal

Yes! In our nation’s current obesity crisis, oatmeal with 32g of sugar is something to be proud of. I suppose it beats the 42g of fat in a double quarter pounder!

Sure, you can order the oatmeal without brown sugar & cranberry raisin mix, but what average McDonald’s patron is going to do that? They see the word oatmeal, and it immediately brings to mind something healthy.

And McDonald’s preys on that misconception!

In reality, what is the difference between their loaded up oatmeal and any one of the sugar-laden dry cereals like Honey Smacks or Fruit Loops?

McDonald’s Yogurt Parfait

McDonald’s Yogurt Parfaits are probably one of the sneakiest items on their menu. At least with a Big Mac, you know what you are getting!

Just like oatmeal, consumers have considered yogurt synonymous with a healthy food item, but most commercial flavored yogurts are loaded with refined sugar; McDonald’s yogurt parfaits are no exception, with 23g of sugar in their 5.2 oz (149g) serving.

Even if you just ate their yogurt “plain”, you’d still be getting 16g of sugar because they’ve added refined sugar PLUS fructose in their ingredients. And it’s only a 3 oz serving.

In comparison, a container of low-fat plain Stonyfield yogurt is 6 oz and contains 11g of sugar (natural dairy sugar). That’s 5.5g sugar if you match McDonald’s 3 oz serving. So, if you opt for McDonald’s yogurt, you’re getting 3x the sugar! What is healthy about that???

McDonald’s Salads

Next is Salads. Yeah, we all know how misrepresented salads are in restaurants. It’s been repeated over and over in a trillion different ways on TV and in print! But we still don’t listen.

Actually, it’s really not the salads that are unhealthy, it’s the dressing slobbering all over the salad that makes it unhealthy. Can you believe that 2 fl oz of Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar dressing (that’s 2 Tbsp) is 190 calories: 18g fat and 500mg sodium. All for a “healthy” salad!

McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich

You probably thought I could give McDonald’s Grilled Chicken a pass, right? Wrong. Grilled chicken, made at home, can be healthy, if it’s just plain chicken.

But add a McDonald’s white flour bun & cheese, slap on some mayo and you’ve got 400 calories with 13g of fat, 840g sodium, and 8g of sugar. Yikes!

If you think that eating just their chicken by itself would be a healthy choice, you’d also be wrong.

Look at the ingredients in one piece of grilled chicken:

Chicken breast fillet with rib meat, water, seasoning (rice starch, salt, sugar, yeast extract, canola oil, onion powder, maltodextrin, chicken skin, paprika, flavor, sunflower oil, chicken, garlic powder, chicken fat, spices), sodium phosphates.

Prepared with Liquid Margarine: Liquid soybean oil and hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color).

They’ve even sneaked some sugar in the “seasoning” and I just love their “liquid margarine” – GROSS!

Low Fat Milk

Okay, I will give the low-fat milk a pass, although I’m not convinced that low fat dairy is all that healthy, but that’s for another discussion.

Junk Food is Still Just Junk Food Even with Fancy McMarketing

So, I’m not going to lie and state that I never ever go to McDonald’s, but when I go, I’m not fooling myself into thinking I’m eating something healthy.

It’s junk food. It’s ALL junk food.

From the oatmeal to the fish filet, it’s junk food and it’s time we STOP allowing corporate Food’s CEOs and “chefs” to continue feeding us their misleading marketing myths!

Wake up and smell the oatmeal!

7 thoughts on “McDonalds’ Chef Considers Menu to be Healthy”

  1. Oh my gosh, high five Debbie T!

    While I do admit that we sometimes have no choice but to eat at McDonalds — driving back and forth from Bend to Seattle will do that to you — we both know it is in no way healthy. Since I don’t eat meat, it is a double challenge. There are very very menu items that don’t have some sort of meat product in them. I usually end up with multiple side salads and apple and walnut salad, knowing full well that it will 1) not keep me full and 2) is really not the best due to the sugar in the yogurt. Don’t get me started on the Newman’s Own dressing – that is a topic for another day! But, sometimes you have to roll with it.

    I have been keyed into the oatmeal from the start — oatmeal with that many ingredients?!

    At the end of the day, I do believe they are actually trying, but it’s the consumers that dictate what is really sold and what stays around. People don’t go to McD’s for healthy fare, and that is just the way it is!

  2. Angela, I can’t even imagine trying to navigate that menu for something meatless. That is rough and yes like you said, those salads are not filling. Great point!

    But actually, if I think about it, there isn’t much on the menu even with meat that’s really filling. That’s why the avg person needs two or more sandwiches there.

  3. Oh, Debbie, I was of course going to blog about this myself but you’ve said it all better than I possibly could! Serious “WTF” moment when I was scrolling through the news this morning!

  4. Thanks Norma!

    Hey I am looking forward to seeing your CSA experiences this season. Your first pickup sounds so cool. I love those choi veggies. My favorite is tatsoi. I might try to grow it for the fall.

    Enjoy!!!

  5. Love this! Have you seen their new marketing campaign http://yourquestions.mcdonalds.ca/ ? Essentially they are accepting questions from all over and answering all of them, except to me they seem to be incriminating themselves more. For a fruit parfait question the answer was “we’re proud our parfaits contain ingredients made from real fruit” OY.

    As with anything, reading labels and ingredients is so important so we don’t get duped by these junk foods marketed as health foods.

  6. Oh wow, thanks for that link, Britt!

    I love their answer to the beef question: “In fact, our beef supplier is Cargill, a name you might recognize.” Yeah I recognize that factory farm from the movie Food Inc.

    OMG, some of these answers are crazy!!! I love it! Thank you so much for this link. I’m going to be checking this out! Ha!

  7. Darn it! I wanted to ask a question about ingredients that are GMO, they won’t let me if I’m not in Canada. Oh well! There are some great questions, and it’s a joke how they spin the negatives into positives in their answers.

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