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McDonald's Suggests Low-Fat Menu Options


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NEW YORK - With Americans fattening up and fast food on the defensive, McDonald's this week began telling dieters in the New York area how much fat and carbs are in some of its meals.

 

New posters and brochures, prominently displayed in restaurants in New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, tell customers how to modify McDonald's existing menu ? by leaving out the bun or cheese, for example ? to reduce their intake of fat, carbohydrates and calories.

 

 

"We are trying to educate our customers that the foods they love at McDonald's can fit into the diet they're on," said Cristina Vilella, marketing director for the fast food company's New York metro region office in Roseland, N.J.

 

 

"If they're watching fat, carbs or counting calories, they can take the menu and fit it into the lifestyle that they're leading."

 

 

But Vilella said there is no immediate plan to make such information available outside the tri-state area. "Different regions adopt different programs," she said.

 

 

Officials at McDonald's headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., did not respond to phone calls requesting further comment.

 

 

The fast food industry has been under pressure by consumer groups and the government to provide more nutritional information about their food. McDonald's and a few others have previously made calorie count brochures available.

 

 

Jeff Cronin, a spokesman at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, called McDonald's new initiative "a step in the right direction."

 

 

But he said "if McDonald's really wants to give consumers good information about their choices, they would at least put calorie counts on menu boards right alongside the price, where consumers could see them at the point of decision-making."

 

 

Legislation pending in the New York State Assembly and Congress would require fast food chains to put calorie counts on menu boards, and would make table service chains list calories, saturated and trans fats, carbohydrates and sodium counts on printed menus, Cronin said.

 

 

The new Real Life Choices program was developed by nutritionist Pam Smith, author of "Eat Well, Live Well," in partnership with McDonald's franchisees. It was kicked off Monday at 650 McDonald's in New York City, on Long Island, in most of New Jersey and in Connecticut's Fairfield County.

 

 

Real Life Choice selections are created from existing menu items and carry the same price ? even if you tell McDonald's to hold the cheese.

 

 

For example, a reduced-fat breakfast of less than 8 grams of fat might be an Egg McMuffin minus the cheese and butter.

 

 

For the low-carb dieter, a breakfast with less than 5 grams of carbohydrates could be a platter of double meat or eggs without the English muffin, biscuit or hash browns. For those only counting calories, a breakfast of 300 calories or less could be an Egg McMuffin, a snack-size Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait or scrambled eggs with a plain English muffin.

 

 

"I think there are a lot of people who don't know how much fat or calories there are in a sauce or in mayonnaise or in salad dressing, no awareness that ketchup ... adds sugar," Smith said. "So if you're trying to cut carbs, that would be an example to leave it off."

 

 

Diners trying out the Choices approach in the community of Carle Place on Long Island approved.

 

 

"I think it's great," said Joseph Randazzo of Valley Stream. "It's always nice to know what you're eating."

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Zat of Levittown said the changes might improve the restaurant's reputation.

 

"McDonald's usually has a fast-food, kind of greasy connotation to the name," he said. "I guess it opens new ideas for people. Maybe they'll see McDonald's in a different light."

 

Dr. Alan Rulis, senior adviser for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites), said the chain is giving consumers more information. "We encourage that, even if it's an incremental step."

 

He said the FDA is discussing America's obesity problem and possible solutions with food processors and the restaurant industry. A report on the subject is expected next month.

 

"People don't go to McDonald's looking for diet food," said Smith, "but what Real Life Choices does is it gives them a chance to have food that will fit within their diet but still with that flavor that they're seeking."

 

McDonald's is also test-marketing an adult version of its Happy Meal called Go Active. Instead of a burger and a toy, the meal will include a salad and an exercise booklet. Other fast-food chains also have started offering healthier fare. Burger King, the No. 2 hamburger chain, for example, has a new line of low-fat, baguette-style chicken sandwiches.

 

Last year, a federal judge in New York dismissed two class-action lawsuits blaming McDonald's for making people fat.

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Why don't they downsize the portions?

bling bling.

 

i personally don't mind the large portions since i have the appetite of a whale, but i can definitely see how it's not in the best interests of our nation.

 

from an economic standpoint, one could call the advent of the super size the next big drain on medicare, medicaid, workmans comp, and health insurers. in a way, you could relate mcdonalds to the tobacco industry. eventually, taxpayers will have to pay up.

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They hsould change the portions because rest of the Nation doesn't know how to control themselves.This Nation is becoming overweight because people are lazy and rely on fast food to feed their families everyday.I know some people just don't have the time but is a serious problem that Americans families should start paying more attention to.I would hate to go to Burger King and find my self ordering downsize whopper.

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It's peoples own fault. I mean this stuff obviously wasn't made to be ate everyday. If people can't be responsible enough to lay down on the fast food, then let them get fat/unhealthy, they'll have to learn the hard way. I mean everybody knows it not good for you.

 

And I don't think saying that you don't have time to cook or go eat at a real restaurant or w/e is a good excuse. There's plenty plenty of healthier things you could buy at any supermarket that you can make fast. And if you're on the road and in a hurry, then go pick up the McSalad at McDonalds, not the big mac. How about that! :rolleyes:

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All other Mcdonalds overseas have much smaller portion sizes and suprise suprise those countries aren't as overweight as us.

how can u prove this?

 

in europe ppl have to walk everywhere and thas why everybody there is thin mostly. outside of europe theres not much mcdonaltd i dont think. maibe in aisa but its dif in japan cuz they gott a whole diff menu.

 

mcdonald dont gotta bring portion down. they just gotta cut back on all the greese and oil and unesecary calories and fat calories they use to make they food and how they food comes precooked.

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All other Mcdonalds overseas have much smaller portion sizes and suprise suprise those countries aren't as overweight as us.

how can u prove this?

 

in europe ppl have to walk everywhere and thas why everybody there is thin mostly. outside of europe theres not much mcdonaltd i dont think. maibe in aisa but its dif in japan cuz they gott a whole diff menu.

 

mcdonald dont gotta bring portion down. they just gotta cut back on all the greese and oil and unesecary calories and fat calories they use to make they food and how they food comes precooked. I agree with Pubes :plain

 

Its true they could make their foods a lot healthier by just changing simple things. For example making the cheese lowfat same goes for the mayonnise they put on burgers. Also how about instead of frying the burgers they could grill them.

 

There are many things they can do to make their foods healthier and still taste good.

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funy thing is that alot of those calories and fat calories they use like nothing, it would taste the same without it or a better alternative.

 

for example: they should have options of non fat cheese, or low fat cheese.

grill the burguers, grill the chickin nuggets and bake the fries. mayo should have an option for low fat one. theres lotta stuff they could do that wouldnt really be much a big deal. it makes a big diff though in health tho.

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no ur retarded dood.

 

the atkins diet is alright, but mcdonalds hardly has stuff with carbs.

 

only the bred buns, maybe some in the fries, and in the sodas are the carbs, but diet soda gets rid of the carbs in sodas and frieds and bun hardly have carbs.

 

most of they food has just a HUGE amount of fat calories cuz of the way they cook it. hamburger meat and french fry oil and greese doesnt have carbs, or much of it.

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