There are millions of thirsty people walking around in the summer who aren’t interested in quenching their thirst with a soda. Some of them are simply looking for a more natural way to quench their thirst in the heat. They’re thinking about beverages like brewed iced tea or fresh made lemonade and then they walk past McDonald’s and they feel like the fast food giant has read their mind.
McDonald’s “hand-shaken” Strawberry Lemonade. Oh, and look at that, they’re promoting that this new beverage contains no artificial flavors. This is great!
FoodFacts.com wants to remind you that the buyer should beware. Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on with McDonald’s new Strawberry Lemonade.
Fat: 0 grams
Sugar: 37 grams
These nutrition facts are for the medium-sized drink. So you’ll find over 9 teaspoons of sugar in a 17.6 oz. serving. Picture that for a minute. You’ve got a 17.6 oz. beverage in front of you with a teaspoon and a sugar bowl and you’re stirring in more than 9 teaspoons of sugar. The thought probably feels very strange after the second teaspoon is stirred in.
Now what about that great claim McDonald’s is making about not using any artificial flavors?
LEMONADE BASE: Water, Sugar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Lemon Pulp, Natural Flavor (Plant Source). CONTAINS: MILK* STRAWBERRY CONCENTRATE: Water, Strawberry Puree, Sugar, Natural Flavors (Plant, Honey Sources). LEMON WEDGE, STRAWBERRIES: Ingredients: Strawberries, Konjac Flour.
So, there are no artificial flavors used in the recipe. There are, however, natural flavors. Natural flavors are simply derived from “natural sources.” The flavors themselves aren’t necessarily natural. Think about natural vanilla flavor which is derived from the glands that reside by the anus of a beaver. Those beaver glands are considered a natural source, so the product that contains that natural vanilla flavor can claim that it contains no artificial flavors. We still wouldn’t want to eat it, but those are the rules.
The point is McDonald’s new Strawberry Lemonade has a lot of very natural, very flavorful ingredients. But for some reason, McDonald’s doesn’t think they’re flavorful enough and includes Natural Flavors in the recipe. While they can legally claim that they aren’t using artificial flavors, it’s not exactly the most transparent statement ever made.
That iced cold beverage we were craving? We’re going to keep looking. Sorry, McDonald’s.