June 15 2012

Fast Food Has Calories?

Julie Gunlock

The misleadingly titled Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (only 10 percent of the organization’s membership are doctors), has released another doom and gloom report on fast food restaurants offering shocking examples that prove their meals contain…wait for it…calories.

Apparently, to the masters of the obvious over at the PCRM, people need to be told that fast food is fattening and they’ve taken it upon themselves to warn us.  Thank goodness!  I was about to kick off my summer diet today with a super-sized #2 combo meal today. Phew…that was close!

Listing the “worst” fast food children’s meals, they provide the viewer a handy-dandy comparison chart:

Five Worst “Healthy” Fast-Food Kids Meals

Meal

Nutrition Shocker

Chick-fil-A Kids Grilled Nuggets Kids Meal

Contains the same amount of cholesterol as a Big Mac.

McDonald’s Cheeseburger Happy Meal

Contains more sodium than 13 orders of McDonald’s kids fries.

Sonic Kids’ Jr. Burger Meal

Contains more sugar than two Twinkies.

Burger King Hamburger Kids Meal

Contains almost as much cholesterol as six slices of pork bacon.

Denny's Build Your Own Jr. Grand Slam

Contains almost 100 more milligrams of sodium than the government recommends children consume at breakfast.

It’s interesting looking at this chart.  They suggest a child eating a one of these children’s meals is essentially consuming 13 orders of kid-size fries or eating two Twinkies; Yet these kids aren’t really eating just fries and Twinkies, are they?  Thanks to the food nannies, Happy Meals now must contain apple slices (healthy!).  The meals also come with milk or juice (healthy…to everyone but unhinged food nannies like Bloomberg).  And while we might agree that a cheeseburger isn’t the healthiest thing on the planet, there’s simply no denying that cheeseburgers contain protein, calcium and carbohydrates. In fact, each of the items in a Happy Meal contain, to varying degrees, the vitamins and minerals that are important to growing bodies. In other words, the calories in these meals aren’t “empty calories” (a favorite term of the food nannies who tell us to avoid foods with zero nutrition content). 

This isn’t to say I’m throwing in the towel on cooking for my family and heading to a McDonalds morning, noon and night. But it does mean that I’m a normal person who puts these things into perspective and understands balance is key to keeping your kids at a healthy weight.

Demonizing one particular food or restaurant—especially the types that most people see as an occasional treat for their children—won’t do anything to help kids stay slim.

What the PCRM won’t tell you is just how much McDonalds has done to provide healthier options: entrée salads, grilled chicken sandwiches, yogurt, oatmeal as well as phasing out their super-sized combinations.  They also don’t show French fries on their television advertisements anymore—chicken nuggets and apple slices only!

Of course, the other menu items remain and that is the real crux of the PCRM’s problem with these fast food joints.  Let’s not forget, the ultimate goal of these organizations is to drive these restaurants under.  Taking these options away from people, taking away a person’s freedom to eat whatever they want to eat and taking a parent’s right to control what their child eats is ultimately the goal of these activist organizations.

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