Tag Archives: Happy meal

Fast Food finds a way around the law

FoodFacts.com knows that many in our community have strong opinions regarding the fast food industry and how it affects our children’s health. We knew the following information would be valuable as you continue to make healthy food choices for yourselves and your families.

Beginning today, McDonald’s and other fast food chains in San Francisco will, by law, have to stop giving  toys away with their children’s meals. The city of San Francisco begins today to enforce the ordinance that prohibits including toys in any children’s meal that contains more than 600 calories, doesn’t include a fruit and vegetable or does include a sugary drink. We’re read a lot of conflicting opinions about these new requirements on fast food restaurants like McDonald’s — everything from fast food chains shouldn’t be patronized by adults, let alone children, ever … not even as a treat, to it’s the responsibility of parents and not the government to determine what their children consume and there should be no laws or requirements that restrict the habits of the public.

But, what if McDonald’s and other chains like it actually found a way to comply with the new law and basically give away the toys anyway? Are they doing something wrong? Are they being a smart business organization? Are they morally bankrupt? Or are they upholding the rights of people to decide for their children’s diet themselves, without government interference?

These are interesting questions, and we’ll all have to form opinions, because that’s exactly what the 19 McDonald’s restaurants in San Francisco have done. That’s right, they’re complying with the law, and anyone ordering a happy meal who wants a toy will now have to pay for it.

You might think that’s a deterrent to a child getting the happy meal to begin with.

Think again. The toy will only cost .10. And, in addition, that .10 will go directly to the Ronald McDonald House. Do you think that might be specifically designed to make the parents spending those ten pennies feel better about their kids eating all those greasy, fried, and sometimes strange ingredients?

But McDonald’s is not breaking the law. So now, by law, McDonald’s doesn’t need to make sure its kids’ meals contain less than 600 calories, include fruits and vegetables and don’t include any sugary drinks. That’s because, in reality, the consumer is paying for the toy … even if it costs a dime and that dime is being donated to the Ronald McDonald House charity.

So, for McDonalds anyway, all’s right with the world (or at least with San Francisco) … they comply with the law, they don’t have to change the ingredients in their children’s menu, Ronald McDonald House charities makes some money and the kids get the toys they wanted in the first place. Legislators heads may very well be spinning right now, because this is not the way things were supposed to unfold.

But, is everything alright for our children?

FoodFacts.com would like to get our community’s opinions on this very important subject. Do you think it’s o.k. for the fast food industry to market to children with toys (even if you have to pay .10 for them)? Or do you think that perhaps children’s meals don’t belong at McDonalds or Burger King or any other fast food establishment. After all, maybe if they weren’t there at all,  future generations of adults would be far better off in the long run.

McDonald’s Chemical Cocktail is Just in Time for Summer

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By Margaret Badore for DietsInReview.com

Foodfacts.com is teaming up with our friends over at Dietsinreview.com to look into McDonald’s “Chemical Cocktail.” Admittedly, a mango pineapple smoothie sounds like a refreshing treat to enjoy in the heat of the summer. But the new McCafé Mango Pineapple Real Fruit Smoothie that they’re promoting, and which was a number-one trend on Twitter this week as #ANewMcDFavorite, is anything but real fruit. Unless you consider “clarified demineralized pineapple juice concentrate”, “mango puree concentrate”, or “pineapple juice concentrate” to be real fruit.

There are certainly items on the McDonald’s menu that are worse for you (you’d need a chemistry degree to understand their scrambled eggs), but few that so blatantly try to deceive.

You’ll slurp down a whopping 220 calories in this impostor fruit beverage. When you drink that kind of empty calories, you aren’t likely to feel full or satisfied.
The “fruit” smoothie also contains 49 grams of sugar, which is more than you’ll find in a can of Coke. Recent research has shown that that sugar consumed in liquid form is metabolized differently than sugar in solid foods, and may be more prone to convert to fat.

It’s a travesty that McDonald’s has the audacity to claim this product contains anything resembling real fruit. Other McDonald’s fruit smoothies do contain whole fruit, but the concentrates in this particular menu item don’t make the cut.

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No matter your health goals, you will be better off getting some fresh fruit, low-fat milk or yogurt and blending up something at home. Let us show you how to make a healthy smoothie.

Nutrition Information via McDonalds

What’s in your Happy Meal?

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McDonald’s Scrambled Eggs

Foodfacts.com takes a deeper look into the ingredients in some of McDonald’s most popular foods!McDonald’s scrambled eggs are not just made with whole eggs; they are also filled with preservatives, hydrogenated oils, food coloring, and other additives. In fact, there are approximately 20 different ingredients in the 3.3oz serving that McDonald’s provides each morning to millions of consumers that may possibly believe they are receiving a well-balanced meal.

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One of the first ingredients listed on the nutrition label is sodium acid pyrophosphate. This food additive helps scrambled eggs maintain their “appealing” yellow color. What some may not know is that this product is also used in petroleum production. The chemicals in this compound help to prevent clumping in oil-well drilling mud. Still think that’s appetizing?

Some other ingredients listed in this product are sodium benzoate, and beta carotene colors. This is quite controversial considering that some studies recently done by the Food Standards Agency, have shown that sodium benzoate in the presence of food coloring may cause hyperactive behavior in children. Although this study is still being investigated, it is good information to know for the next time you bring your kids to the McDonald’s drive-thru window.

Aside from all the food additives and preservatives, these scrambled eggs also have 4g of saturated fat, and 520mg of cholesterol. These numbers represent 20% of the daily value for saturated fats and 173% of daily value for cholesterol, just in this one serving alone. Sounds like it may be healthier just to prepare your eggs at home.

McDonald’s Big Mac

McDonald’s Big Mac is 3 buns, 2 beef patties, and 100 other ingredients. This sandwich lists high fructose corn syrup, ammonium chloride, propylene glycol alginate, sodium benzoate, and calcium disodium, just to name a few.

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What sticks out most in the above list is probably ammonium chloride. You may have heard of this ingredient because it is very commonly used in shampoos as a thickening agent, cleaning products, various glues, fertilizers, textiles and leather, and even fireworks and explosives. In the Big Mac and many other foods, ammonium chloride is used as a food additive. This inorganic compound helps maintain color in food products, changes the texture of foods, and sometimes adds a “spicy” flavor. Would you want the same ingredients listed on your cleaning products also listed on the foods you eat?

A possible positive for this sandwich, there is a lot of protein, about 25 grams. Also, because of the 2 beef patties, the Big Mac also provides 25% of your daily value for iron. However, you also get 1,040mg sodium, 29g total fat, 10g saturated fat, and 75mg cholesterol. This sandwich is also 540 calories, 260 of these calories are just from fat alone.

McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap

A few years ago, McDonald’s introduced snack wraps to their long-chain of restaurants. These snack wraps are considered the “healthy” quick items to grab during the day that can help hold you over until dinner time.

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This Grilled Chicken Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap from McDonald’s is about half the size of the quintessential Big Mac, but lists more ingredients. Due to the fact these snack wraps are marketed to be the healthy options, one would think it would have fewer, and simpler ingredients. However, one of the ingredients that stick out most is sodium metabisulfite. This substance is commonly used as a disinfectant in home brewing and winemaking to sterilize process equipment. In this snack wrap, it is a food additive that helps to preserve the product over a period of time.

Sodium metabisulfite has also been shown to cause allergic reaction within the respiratory system to those who are sensitive to sulfites. The acceptable daily intake is about 0.7mg per kg of body weight. However, the amount is not specified in this product, so those who are sensitive to sulfites may want to be extra careful.

McDonald’s Large French Fries

McDonald’s french fries are a staple at the thousands of restaurants. Commonly, most people visit the drive-thru just to order a side of fries. Although they may taste good, and be somewhat fulfilling for many consumers, the list of ingredients is a turn-off for some.

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For those that may not be as familiar with the chemistry behind hydrogenated fats, it is basically a process to convert monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to the less-healthy saturated fats. This is done because changing the level of saturation, also changes a products physical properties. The more saturated the product, the better it bakes or cooks.

These McDonald’s French fries include hydrogenated oils so that the product maintains its form during the frying process. However, this process increases the amount of total fat and saturated fat in the product. These French fries contain about 18% of the daily value for saturated fat, and 38% of the daily value for total fat, which are pretty high numbers.

Another ingredient in this product is dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent. McDonald’s reported that this compound is used in a matter of safety, to prevent the oil on both the fries and chicken nuggets from foaming. This chemical is a type of silicone-polymer that is commonly used in hair shampoos, lubricating oils, contact lenses, medical devices, and so on. If more people knew about this ingredient, would it still be such a huge seller?

McDonald’s M&M McFlurry

The McDonald’s McFlurry came into production around the late 90’s. This was an instant hit with consumers because it beat the ordinary vanilla soft-serve they had originally offered. Snickers, M&Ms, Oreo, and other flavors have been featured in McFlurry items to increase sales of these popular desserts. Not only are there candies and cookies, but also a long list of ingredients that some may consider controversial. Among these ingredients are 10 different food colorings, and also carrageenan.

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Food colorings have been reported to increase hyperactive behavior in children diagnosed with ADHD. Although clinical studies have shown mixed results in this matter, many parents believe that food colorings eliminated from the diet improve their children’s behavior. The McFlurry is equipped with Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6, and Blue 2.

Carrageenan has raised eyebrows in recent years because many people believe it causes certain health implications. Results from studies have shown that rats, monkeys, and guinea pigs consuming a certain amount of carrageenan may not only obtain ulcerations in the GI tract, but also GI cancer. Current studies are also examining the relationship between carrageenan consumption and inflammatory bowel disease and also Crohn’s Disease.

(FoodFacts.com)