by: Tracey Watson
When it comes to improving the nutritional value of its food offerings, McDonald’s certainly says all the right things. In the past few years, the fast food giant has promised to provide hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken for its U.S. consumers, insisted it is limiting antibiotics in all the meat contained in its dishes, released “healthy” fizzy drinks, and promised to carry healthier kids’ happy meal options around the globe by 2022.Nonetheless, is the company really committed to providing food that is “safe, great quality, offers choice and is produced in a responsible way,” as its website promises?
The Sun recently reported that despite its many promises, the reality is that modern McDonald’s meals contain far more sugar, salt and calories than they did 30 years ago. McDonald’s is very proud of the fact that it makes nutritional information for its meals available to all its clients, so it was easy for The Sun to compare the nutritional makeup of current meal offerings to those advertised in a 1989 company leaflet.
While protein levels have fallen steeply in most McDonald’s burgers, sugar levels in several of its offerings, including the Big Mac and Filet-O-Fish, are now three times higher than three decades ago. (Related: Ten horrifying ingredients that prove McDonald’s is not fit for consumption.)
A regular portion of French fries now contains 42.8 percent more calories, 17.2 percent more fat, and a whopping 24 percent more salt than it would have back in 1989. Meanwhile, a vanilla shake has a quarter more calories, a third more sugar and a quarter more fat than in the past. The sugar content in McDonald’s cheeseburger has increased by a staggering 248 percent, marginally less than the 285 percent increase in a quarter pounder with cheese.
“These figures truly are shocking,” said Professor Graham McGregor of Action on Sugar. “At a time when the food industry should be making strides to reduce the amount of foods high in sugar, salt, saturated fat and calories, McDonald’s is clearly lagging behind.”
In fact, McDonald’s has a record of being all talk and no action. Back in 2015, for example, The Guardian reported that the company’s promise to stop serving chicken that had been injected with antibiotics was met with skepticism by many, after it failed to deliver on a similar promise back in 2003.
The Guardian reported:
The world’s largest restaurant chain has announced it will stop selling chicken raised with antibiotics that are important to human health. The move comes following pressure from US government bodies and others who fear the practice is contributing to the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections.
Food chain experts hailed the move and said it would pressure rivals to make similar changes – but they also highlighted that McDonald’s had yet to fulfil a similar pledge made in 2003.
The pledge came after McDonald’s started losing more and more of its customers to other fast food chains like Chipotle and Panera Bread that only use antibiotic-free meat in their meals.
The Guardian quoted a 2003 statement which promised:
McDonald’s prohibits the use of antibiotics belonging to classes of compounds approved for use in human medicine when used solely for growth promotion purposes. Growth promotion is defined as the use of antibiotics for any purpose other than disease treatment, control or prevention.
Nonetheless, when approached for comment, a company spokesperson could neither explain why McDonald’s had failed to live up to its earlier commitment, nor provide proof that it would follow-through this time.
It’s clear that McDonald’s has no interest in the health of its consumers, and the facts speak for themselves: McDonald’s is straight-up junk food.