Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

McDouble Cheeseburger: The latest superfood!

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I love it when you guys send me blogspiration. I’d like to thank my friend Ian for alerting me to this article in the New York Post, praising McDonald’s McDouble cheeseburger as the “greatest food in human history”. Now, I’m pretty sure the author is attempting to get a rise out of us “macrobiotic Marxists” by describing those of us who care about nutrition with those terms. As I’m neither macrobiotic, nor Marxist, nor could I afford $300 on highlights each month. And really, these descriptions are contradictory. If my recollection of Marxism is accurate I think that affordable food would be something of import to a Marxist. I do find it a little absurd that the author suggests that those of us who care about healthy food do not care about affordability. As someone who has only money for bills and food I can assure you that I still care about the nutrient content of my food and I’m fairly certain that I’m not the only one.

So, what’s the argument anyway? Apparently the McDouble cheeseburger is actually a nutritional powerhouse: “It has 390 calories. It contains 23g, or half a daily serving, of protein, plus 7% of daily fiber, 20% of daily calcium and so on.” And it’s cheap. Only $1.00 in many US locations. I’m not sure what it costs in Canada. The McDonald’s website doesn’t tell me and I don’t really feel like trekking to McD’s to find out. I’m guessing it’s more like $3. Still pretty inexpensive. So, we’ve seen what it has going for it. But that’s not the whole story.

The nutrition information also appears to be slightly different in Canada. It clocks in at 430 calories, 24 g of protein, 2 g of fibre (that’s a pretty pathetic amount of fibre for a meal considering that adult males should get at least 38 g of fibre a day and adult females at least 25 g), 25% DV calcium. I admit, the protein and calcium aren’t too shabby. However, the article fails to note that the sodium is 1, 150 mg (about 77% of the recommended intake for most healthy adults!), 22 g of fat (11 g of saturated and 1 g of trans – this is quite a lot of fat and a fair bit of undesirable fat at that as it’s advisable not to consume any trans-fat). Beyond what’s on the nutrition facts label are a whole lot of missing ingredients. How about the fact that you should have vegetables constitute at least half of your plate. I don’t think the three little slices of pickle or the globs of ketchup count as vegetables. And how about the actual ingredients in that burger. The bun, according to McDonald’s contains the following:

Regular Bun: Enriched wheat flour, water, high fructose corn syrup and/or glucose-fructose and/or sugar, yeast,
vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola), salt, calcium sulphate, calcium propionate, monoglycerides, enzymes,
azodicarbonamide, AND MAY CONTAIN ANY OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING IN VARYING PROPORTIONS:
diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides, BHT, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate, wheat starch, calcium
peroxide, wheat gluten, inactive yeast, sorbitol, dextrin, malted barley flour, ascorbic acid, citric acid, calcium
stearate, calcium iodate, silicon dioxide. CONTAINS: WHEAT, BARLEY. MAY CONTAIN: SESAME SEEDS

The beef patty is supposedly 100% pure beef. After all of the horse meat scandals in the UK I’m not sure that we can take their word for it but we have no reason not too. However, it’s also important to consider the environment in which the cows were raised, the diet they were fed (after all you are what you eat!), the conditions of the slaughterhouse and processing plant, as well as the handling by shippers and store employees. It’s definitely not a farm-to-table meal.

So, if you don’t care about your health or the health of the planet then yes, McDonald’s McDouble cheeseburgers sure are a bargain.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

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