Supersize my McDiet

Apr 222004
Authors: Adrienne Hoenig

McDonald’s Corp. is launching an anti-fat campaign. The home of

your 770-calorie Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, 600-calorie

Big Mac and 450-calorie Hot N’ Spicy McChicken is on a crusade to

rid the world of obesity.

McDonald’s “Go Active!” campaign will begin May 6 at all of its

13,500 locations in United States. Among other things, it will

feature Adult Happy Meals, a compact meal for adults that includes

a salad, bottled water and pedometer. They have also laid down a

plan to phase out Supersizing by the end of the year.

For those customers who still have a hard time eating healthily

at McDonald’s, the company will publish brochures featuring advice

on how to alter their McEating Habits to have less fat, calories

and carbohydrates.

McDonald’s serves more than 47 million customers daily in 119


In recent years, these 47 million customers have taken to

blaming McDonald’s for their health and weight problems. McDonald’s

has been the target of several obesity lawsuits, prompting much of

their health-intensive media schemes.

I am a former employee of McDonald’s, not disgruntled by any

means, but I am honest. Two years of facing laundry baskets that

smelled of salty, greasy French fries, watching frozen meat patties

sizzle over a grease-covered grill and swimming in a sea of

prepackaged, freeze-dried fresh vegetables has jaded me. I have a

hard time coming to terms with McDonald’s new and improved

healthy-eating image.

The smell of greasy McDonald’s morsels takes me back. I remember

one of my first days of training – I was diligently learning about

McDonald’s selection of condiments. I was doing well, barbecue, hot

mustard, sweet n’ sour, no problem. Then we got to the oil, the

partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used to cook French fries and

many chicken products at McDonald’s, that is considered a

condiment. In my experience, a condiment is something you put on

top of and/or dip your food in. Oil? A condiment? Tell me that

doesn’t make your stomach churn, just a little bit.

And there were always the regulars. People that just made you

smile, because McDonald’s made them happy. At the same time, they

made you wince because they were happily trotting down the trail to

unhealthiness. These were the people that would come in, day-in and

day-out, order the biggest Supersized meal possible, but

health-consciously, with a diet coke.

I think it is great that McDonald’s is trying to be healthier.

Whether or not it is a simple media-stunt to offset obesity

lawsuits or a genuine concern for the well-being of its customers,

a healthier menu cannot hurt anyone – unless people believe it.

Some things at McDonald’s may be getting healthier, but

bottom-line, McDonald’s is not “health food.” Ordering a salad at

McDonald’s and calling yourself a healthy eater is equivalent to

running to catch the bus and calling yourself an Olympic


If you want to eat out, eat out. Live the dream. But if you want

to eat healthy, don’t go to McDonald’s.

Adrienne is a junior majoring in journalism. She will be the

campus diversity editor for the Collegian next year.

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