WIN Wyoming and WIN the Rockies
McDonald’s Changes Fat, but Food Giant
Craig Wilson recently wrote an article for USA Today where he argued
he did not overeat. Instead, he was simply "over-served." He mentioned
eating doughnuts from his Mom so as not to hurt her feelings, and eating candy
from a colleague so as not to be rude. Craig considers himself to be in
"pretty good shape" because he can still see his toes - he just can’t
touch them anymore.1 I read the article in the humorous light it was
intended, but I also compared the concept of being "over-served" with
all the news surrounding the changes in the fat formula used by McDonald’s in
the making of its fries. Several news sources around the globe reported on
McDonald’s change in cooking oil, and a query about the change generated over
54,000 hits on the search engine I used.
- McDonald’s won’t disclose its formula for the new fat, but the formula
cuts the trans-fatty acids and saturated fats by nearly half. Company
executives reported that in recent tests, 97 out of 100 consumers noticed no
difference in taste between the new formula and the old formula. If
consumers accept the change, industry experts predict that rivals like
Burger King and Wendy’s would be forced to follow McDonald’s lead.2
- The change in the fat for french fries will be phased in between October
2002 and February of 2003 at the estimated 13,000 McDonald’s restaurants
in the U.S. The calories in McDonald’s french fries will remain the same.
McDonald’s lists the following calories for its fries: small - 210
calories, medium - 450 calories, large - 540 calories, super size - 610
- A company spokesperson for McDonald’s denies the change in fat is
related to a lawsuit filed by a 272 pound man alleging McDonald’s and 3
other fast food chains caused his obesity.2 The healthier
fat has been used in McDonald’s restaurants in Europe since the
mid-1990's, but limited supplies of the oil delayed the introduction into
- Dr. Henry Anhalt, director of pediatric endocrinology at Maimonides
Medical Center in Brooklyn, is concerned all the attention on the new
formula for fat in McDonald’s french fries diverts attention away from the
caloric density of most fast foods. Dr. Anhalt states, "You can make
all the fat-switching changes you want, but it doesn’t address the issue.
There’s a fire in the barn, and we’re all standing around arguing about
which water pistol is more effective."3
- Marian Burros, a reporter for The New York Times, states
"except for the most disciplined (who probably don’t eat a lot of
fast foods anyway), when people are confronted with more food than they
need, they will eat it." Dr. David Levitsky, a professor of nutrition
and psychology at Cornell University, conducted a study with college
students. He found the more food he put in front of college students on a
buffet line, the more they ate.3
1 "Euphemisms for gluttony tip the scales in our favor," USA
Today, Craig Wilson, October 16, 2002.
2 "McDonald’s gambles, cuts "trans fat" in french
fries," USA Today, Bruce Horovitz, September 3, 2002.
3 "McDonald’s Fat Debate Goes On," The New York Times,
Marian Burros, September 11, 2002.
Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD
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