Disease Proof

McDonalds Corrects Labels: Food Still Not Healthy

The Chicago Tribune claims that the cost of eating McDonalds is higher than once thought. John Schmeltzer reports:

Correcting a labeling error, the hamburger giant acknowledged Wednesday that the trans fat content in an order of its large fries is one-third higher than previously stated, containing 8 grams of the heart-endangering fat instead of the 6 grams listed on brochures and McDonald's Web site.
Trans fatty acids are the result of food producers adding hydrogen molecules to unsaturated fats, thereby turning these oils into harder, more saturated fats. These hardened fats have extended shelf life and are commonly used to fry potatoes in fast food restaurants.

McDonalds' researchers are reportedly trying to find healthier alternatives that won't compromise taste. In his book Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman recommends avoiding the situation entirely:

In a press release in 1990, McDonald's announced, "McDonald's French fries to be cooked in cholesterol-free 100 percent vegetable oil." The switch was to partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening. Now all the fast food giants--McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Arby's, and Hardee's, as well as almost every brand of French fries in the freezer case of your supermarket--are just as bad for you heart as if they were fried in pig fat.

Trans fats do not exist in nature. They are laboratory-designed and have adverse health consequences. They interfere with the body's production of beneficial fatty acids and promote heart disease.1 As trans fatty acids offer no benefits and only clear adverse metabolic consequences, when you see the words partially hydrogenated on the side of the box, consider it poisonous and throw it in the trash.

1. Judd, J.T., B. A. Clevidence, R. A. Muesing, et al. 1994. Dietary trans fatty acids: effects on plasma lipids and lipoproteins of healthy men and women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 59 (4): 861-68; Mensink, R. P., and M. B. Katan. 1990. Effects on dietary trans fatty acids on high-density and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in healthy subjects. N. Eng. J. Med. 323 (7): 439-45.

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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
lena - February 10, 2006 3:41 PM

I follow this weblog with interest, but these kind of posts really buggle me? Yeah, we know, trans fats are bad. Yeah, we know, Mc Donalds is bad. So, their french fries are even worse than we thought before. Who cares if it is 6 or 8 grams of trans fat? It is like "smoking 8 cigarettes is even worse than smoking 6 cigarettes".

Also: french fries would NOT be healthy if they were cooked in trans fat free oil. They would probably be a little less poisonous, but again, the difference being like the difference between 5 or 10 cigarettes.

I thought this blog was about healthy food, not about obviously unhealthy junk food.

Joel Fuhrman - February 10, 2006 11:34 PM

I actually agree with you. Who cares if McDonalds is actually a bit worse than we thought. But give these guys a break, they generally do a great job and can't be brilliant every time. Some people also find this interesting, and it is newsy even if it really is worthless information.

Elijah Lynn - February 11, 2006 12:06 AM

I found it interesting...

Leanne Veitch - February 12, 2006 1:23 AM

I think that this trans fat issue is tremendously important, for several reasons.

First, consumers have the right to correct and truthful information about the food that they are eating. If the information was wrong, it should be corrected, and McDonalds should inform their consumers about the error.

Second, this may sound like a small sifference, but remember that a majority of McDonalds consumers are *heavy* users, eating the product several times a week. A few grams at each sitting adds up pretty fast if you're eating the product four or five times per week, as many McDonalds consumers do.

Third, although I would imagine most of the subscribers to this RSS feed do not eat at McDonalds, we have friends and loved ones who do, and their welfare and welbeing is of concern to us. Knowing that McDonalds have once again misinformed the public (whether deliberately or not) arms us with yet more ammunition with which we may persuade those we care about to change their habits.

Bill - April 20, 2006 2:42 PM

I think that for those who eat fast food doesn't care much about their health, therefore it doesn't mater how much trans fat the food has nothing will stop a person until someone dies from cronic food disease.
To be on the safe side (stick with home cook) because you know whats in it.

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