By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD
I do love myself some French fries (preferably sweet potato, baked), but as a nutritionist I am not much of a fast foodie, as you might have guessed. I don’t have any nostalgia for McDonald’s or Burger King or Taco Bell. And while I have to give McDonald’s some credit this week, I’m still not “loving it” or condoning eating there; rarely if ever is it your only option.
Here’s what’s happening: McDonald’s has decided to put calorie counts on all menus and drive-thrus in an attempt to educate customers. This is certainly great progress. Consider that a burger, fries, and a 14oz coke lands you at almost 1200 calories – hopefully some people might think twice before ordering it, or at least before ordering it for their kids.
But realistically, will this make much of a difference in what people order? Let alone in the staggering obesity rates? That remains to be seen. We’ve had mandatory calorie counts in all chain restaurants in NYC for a few years now and researchers say it has had minimal if any impact on ordering. Personally, I beg to differ; friends and family members readily admit changing those Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts orders away from the caramel-laden calorie bombs.
Real progress, in my opinion, would be posting the ingredients of what the customers are actually eating.
So while I have to give a nod to McDonald’s for a step in the right direction, “good for you” is not just about calories, carbs, and fat. Want to arm us with information? How about informing customers what’s really IN a McNugget?
Do you eat at Mcdonald’s or other chain restaurants? What do you think about the calorie counts, are you “lovin’ it” or not? Will it change how you order?