Nothing “Unhealthy” On McDonald’s Menu, According To Its Head Chef

Chef Daniel Coudreaut is the senior director of culinary innovation for McDonald’s USA — the guy who knows every single fry and apple pie on the drive-thru board. He recently had a chat with a Cleveland journalist where he defended the offerings his employers put forth for 26 million Americans, saying, “I don’t see anything on the menu that’s unhealthy.”

Coudreaut, speaking with the Akron Beacon Journal, isn’t just blindly defending the food, as he says his own kids eat at McDonald’s about once a week, and that they even eat Chicken McNuggets. Which, by the way, are what culinarians would call “forcemeat,” he says. Ground white meat, shaped and tempura battered, then fried.

When asked about whether he feels a responsibility for McDonald’s perceived role in the American obesity epidemic, he says he’s more concerned with his responsibility to his two kids, ages 11 and 7, to guide their eating habits.

“I control what goes into their mouths,” he said.

He also likes McD’s, eating a Big Mac about once a week, adding that he moderates his diet when eating any other fattening food. As for those obese customers out there, he says the average fast food goer eats at McD’s about three times each month, so he questions what’s going on “with the other 87 meals.”

To Coudreaut, it’s all about choice, balance and moderation. There are healthful items on the McDonald’s menu — oatmeal, yogurt parfaits, salads, grilled chicken and low-fat milk. But burgers, fries, and milkshakes can all be factored into a healthful diet too, he said.

And hey, it’s not just McDonald’s that offers fatty food, he adds. You can eat a 2,000 calorie meal anywhere.

“I feel that if we were to close our doors of all of the McDonald’s tomorrow, the obesity problem would not go away,” he said.

One thing McD’s could do, he thinks, is move a bit faster to get things like its smoothies to customers.

“Are we perfect? Absolutely not. Are we getting better? Every day,” Coudreaut said.

Lisa Abraham: McDonald’s chef: says it’s all about moderation [Akron Beacon Journal Online]

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  1. Zowzers says:

    well, maybe nothing explicitly unhealthy… I believe quantity would be the real issue.

    • Coffee says:

      Compared to other fast food places like Carl’s Jr. and the vaunted Five Guys franchise, McDonalds proportions are downright svelte.

      • Gregory Varnadoe says:

        Unfortunately, the US has gone overboard with the portion sizes.

        I was in Japan recently and the large Quarter Pounder combo there would barely be considered a medium here. I don’t think regulating the amount you can buy “cough” NYC “cough” is a good idea, but we are definitely heavy on the portions.

        • Coffee says:

          It’s funny how our stomachs adjust to them. As I mentioned below, I’m a big guy…6’4″ and used to be 275. I could put away a double whopper with cheese and a large fry with a coke. Since controlling my portions more, I can’t really eat a similar amount and feel comfortable.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Me, too! I don’t know if it’s been age or diet changes, or both. But I just can’t eat as much in a meal as I used to.

            It’s a good thing, no doubt. But I just wish my weight would change in accordance with the change as well. My weight has remained mostly steady for years, though gone down a bit since doing some real exercising. But it still seems like my rather sigificant reduction in caloric intake should result in continuous weight loss, or least to a certain plateau.

          • HalOfBorg says:

            yeah, I miss the days of eating a huge meal and enjoying the feeling after.

            Now, even on Thanksgiving, with tiny breakfast and no lunch, I know I am not eating nearly as much – but I do feel full. It’s just not the same.

            As you may have guessed, food is one of the few pleasures I have left. :) At least it still TASTES good.

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            Since I started having trouble with a hiatal hernia, I can’t eat a large amount of food either. I just have to eat more often.

    • Leksi Wit says:

      Of course it’s unhealthy. It’s fried, grilled, doused in fats and none of it is organic, grass-fed, free range. The beef has been stuffed with corn and antibiotics. Any moron who has bothered to look into “healthy eating” knows that McD’s along with most other restaurants and nearly all “fast food” is garbage. But, is is any worse than say the other joints? Yes, because they market Happy Meals and playgrounds to lure children and parents in, and yes, because they are the most ubiquitous, and yes because it is often the only “restaurant” the poor can afford. So yeah, McDonalds is a blight on society, a cancer that has spread across the world and should be boycotted by anyone who wants to be healthy.

      • Doubting thomas says:

        Horse shit, if we were all that frail we would have died out centuries ago.
        Your complaints against them are laughable.

        There food has too much fat but they are bad people for marketing smaller portions to kids.

        Our kids are too fat but they are bad guys for having a playground for kids to run and play on

        Their food is too cheap and allows poor people to eat there.

        They are bad because there are too many of them

        Panicky Nanny statist sheep like you are the real cancer.

      • RedOryx says:

        I was up with you until this point:

        “Yes, because they market Happy Meals and playgrounds to lure children and parents in”

        All businesses market in a way to “lure” us in to buy crap we don’t need. That is the nature of marketing. Does that mean you buy everything that is marketed towards you? Of course not: as the Chef pointed out, as the parent HE is responsible for deciding what his children eat, regardless of advertising tactics. So be a responsible parent and don’t buy your kids crap they don’t need, food or otherwise.

      • MutantMonkey says:

        “Fried” and “doused in fats” is redundant, and what does “organic, grass-fed, free range” have to do with the healthiness of the food. Just because a cultivation technique may be more humain does not mean that end food product is any healthier or less healthy.

      • Zowzers says:

        “organic, grass-fed, free range”

        ah, your one of those.

        might I point you towards Penn & Teller: Bullshit episode on such things
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhBKtjDtTVk

        • hansolo247 says:

          I love P&T, but grass fed beef really tastes much better than corn-fed beef. I spend $7 a pound on it each week for my burger suppers.

          • Zowzers says:

            Leski Wit wasn’t talking about the flavor but rather implying that it was some how healthier.

            • Leksi Wit says:

              Well for starters they have to pump corn-fed cows with antibiotics b/c the corn makes them sick. They do not need to do this with grass-fed. So bacteria starts to develop resistances to antibiotics which leads to supergerms. It’s scary stuff… and yeah, I’m not implying I’m outright saying that if it’s not grass-fed it’s very bad for you. Not that you should be eating a lot of beef (everything in moderation). Just if you are going to eat it, be more selective for your own well-being. But yes, we all have free will to choose. Unfortunately, if you are poor the choices are not there, as most of our food supply is adulterated with corn… ugh, ok flame on… this will be my last post on this article as I have a life, really I do.

              • rmorin says:

                This is code for: multiple people have proved me wrong, I’ll try to leave on top.

                See: JennQPublic

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          The EU sponsored a four year study that showed that organic produce is more nutritious than conventional, and is noticeably higher in anti-oxidants (about 40% higher.) In the U.S., organically grown strawberries have been found to have significantly more nutrients than conventional, and they don’t spoil as quickly. The study done on the strawberries was over the course of several growing seasons. They also rot less quickly, which is great for the consumer. (organic milk also lasts longer.) The soil was also far healthier. There is a reason for this. Organic food growers are more likely to plant appropriate cover crops to replenish the nutrients in the soil. They also rotate their crops, and use organic fertilizers, which have natural nutrients in them rather than synthetic. When you have more nutrients in the soil, the produce will also have more nutrients. It’s very simple science.

          Organic foods also have significantly lower pesticide levels than conventional. While you can wash you veggies, many of the pesticides are oil-based and very difficult to remove. After all, they have to be able to cling to the veggies and survive rain. You also aren’t at risk for eating GMO with organic, many of which we don’t know the long-term consequences of eating, like the new Montsanto sweet corn that is designed to disrupt the digestive system of the insects that eat it, and it eventually kills them. This same corn has been shown to cause kidney failure in rats. Scary stuff.

          While their show is entertaining, Penn and Teller aren’t exactly considered accomplished scientists or an unbiased source of info. Basically, they set out to prove something wrong and only look for information to prove their point. That’s not how science works. I could set out to disprove something, find the research to support what I am disproving, and then easily turn around and disprove the other side and find research to back that up as well. They are very biased and aren’t a source I would go around citing as being as being an authority on anything but magic maybe.

          • Such an Interesting Monster says:

            And for every study you cite claiming how wonderful organically-grown produce is I can cite at least one that claims there is virtually no difference, even a few that “prove” how organic farming is actually detrimental and unsustainable in the long run due to insufficient/inadequate pest control and the subsequent low yields. So your point is?

          • Leksi Wit says:

            Thank you, I was too lazy to post all of that. Plus, I had a project deadline. It surprises me how many ignorant readers (or at least comment posters) there are on a site called “THe Consumerist” about these issues. It blows me away, actually. But then if the masses weren’t so ignorant, maybe we would have a stronger, healthier food supply like in EU countries.

            By the way, I have no problems with playground or toys at restaurants, just think that it makes it that much harder to keep kids away from the bad ones like McDonalds. And my original point is that Chef Daniel Coudreaut is full of shit or just plain ignorant if he really thinks that the shit they serve at McD’s is “not unhealthy”. That’s just plain delusional.

            • rmorin says:

              See here on the consumerist, we like things like “reason” and “logic” which apparent you leave on the wayside for things like blindly believing that society’s ills are the blame of Gold Arches.

              Seriously, your posts reek of self-importance and lack facts.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          > “organic, grass-fed, free range”
          >
          > ah, your one of those.

          You mean someone with a severe drug allergy?

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

            Luckily no drugs come from plants. They only come from evil chemical plants.

        • Clevelandchick says:

          Penn & Teller are full of bullshit.

          Organic grass fed beef is higher in Omega 3 and lower in fat. Organic veg are higher in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals than conventional.

          http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/29/grass.grain.beef.cookinglight/index.html

          http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/03/25/HOG3BHSDPG1.DTL

        • newsbunny says:

          Bullshit.

          Cows.

          Bullshit.

          Cows.

      • Cat says:

        “Yes, because they market Happy Meals and playgrounds to lure children and parents in”

        I am glad for the changes they have made over the years with Happy Meals. Remember when cookies were part of the meal? Now, the fries are 1/2 the size they used to be and include apple slices. Also, milk is an option at no extra cost.

        As for playgrounds, how does it feel to be a kid strapped into a car seat for hours at a time? I know when I make long trips, I seek out restaurants with playgrounds to give my kids a little activity and a chance to stretch.

        These are my choices to make for my kids, not yours or the nanny state.

      • Such an Interesting Monster says:

        Oh for God’s sake shut up.

        • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

          I’m with you. Does deep-fried “organic, free range” chicken make it any healthier than regular peanut oil-fried chicken? Probably lesser of the two evils, but it’s gonna end up unhealthy for you in excessive amounts.

          We all know fast food is generally unhealthy. But IMO it’s OK to indulge once in a while on “sinful” food, as long as it’s in moderation. McD’s is not making you stuff 50 pounds of burger and fries in your mouth.

          As for the “playground” thing, I’d rather have a section where kids can play and make their noise rather than running around the dining area screaming. Call it “luring” but that’s marketing — same concept as to why advertisments feature famous celebrities just to sell the product.

          Unhealthy food’s going to be around and is not going to go away any time soon, but you have the right to decide where you bring your kids to eat.

          • Clevelandchick says:

            Yes it does. Factory farmed meat has lower levels of omega 3 and higher levels of fat regardless of how you prepare it.

      • Leksi Wit says:

        I just want to make it clear, since several people have called me a “nanny statist” or something to that effect–I am for better food quality control and regulation, not preventing people from eating where they want. I would love to see EU food and beverage standards enacted in the US, so that the average family can afford to eat unadulterated food. Stop with the corn subsidies and start subsidizing foods that are more nutritious.

        By the way, there is a HUGE difference in taste between a grass-fed cow and one stuffed with corn. The meat even looks different. The ignorance is not on my part, feel free to start some researching of your own into agrobusiness.

        • MutantMonkey says:

          We are not talking about taste, we are talking about healthiness. In your post you allude that organic, grass-fed, free range animals provide healthier meat than those that do not qualify for those terms. That simply is not true.

          • Leksi Wit says:

            Someone said you can’t taste the difference, that’s why. I’m not going to try to change anyone’s mind. They can think for themselves and if they want to believe that “McDonalds is not unhealthy” like the corporate giant’s head chef wants us to believe, then go right ahead. And when BP tells you it didn’t damage any ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, you go on believing that too. :-)

            • rmorin says:

              Please post your food diary from the last 7 days:

              If you do not, then I will readily assume that you have eaten a meal less healthy then a meal from McDonalds, because damn near everyone will within a week.

              Get it through your nanny-state head: McDonalds is not poison. Having it once in a while is completely fine. If you do not understand this, then all of your comments are baseless.

            • MutantMonkey says:

              So your position is that many of us come to our conclusion about organic, grass-fed and free range food because McDonald’s releases a statement that says it’s own food is not unhealthy? O_o

              You will need to clarify that conclusion because as far as I can tell they never said one word about organic, grass-fed or free range food.

              On top of that, you need to realize that many of us have come to our conclusions about the healthiness of organic, grass-fed and free range foods based on scientific results that do not involve advocates for not eating such foods or those who do advocate eating such foods.

            • just_joe says:

              Ummmm…. Raises hand.

              Red herring? Straw man? BP in no way has any bearing on the argument? Any one? Please some one else smack this one on the head!

          • Clevelandchick says:

            Organic grassfed beef is most definitely more healthy healthy than that factory farmed antibiotic/hormone filled meat. It’s higher in omega-3 (14 times that of factory farmed meat), lower in fat and chemical free:

            http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/29/grass.grain.beef.cookinglight/index.html

            http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm

            Organic vegetables have much higher levels of antioxidants vitamins and minerals than conventional as well.

            http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/03/25/HOG3BHSDPG1.DTL

            Hormones, antibiotics and petrol based fertilizers, pesticides and GMO vegetables aren’t healthy by any stretch of the imagination.

      • rmorin says:

        Where to start:

        none of it is organic, grass-fed, free range.

        None of those terms guarantee healthy food.

        But, is is any worse than say the other joints? Yes, because they market Happy Meals and playgrounds to lure children and parents in

        What multinational QSR, do you know that does not advertise at all to children?

        yes because it is often the only “restaurant” the poor can afford

        So you advocate poor people not having access to QSRs? I don’t understand this statement at all. I fully understand food deserts, etc, but your insinuation that poor people should not be able to stop into a McDonalds is beyond nanny state and makes you sound down right belittling towards poor people.

        McDonalds is a blight on society, a cancer that has spread across the world and should be boycotted by anyone who wants to be healthy.

        I have known literal marathon runners that occasionally have McDonalds. If you have a problem with McDonalds being too unhealthy then you better have a problem with nearly every restaurant in this country, including mom+pop restaurants, because there is a small if any difference between the nutritional value of McDonalds offerings and those at other restaurants.

    • MeowMaximus says:

      There is nothing on the McDonalds menu that qualifies as food, so the statement is technically true.

    • Charmander says:

      There’s nothing healthy about Coke, or any other soda on their menu. Soft drinks typically contain zero nutrition value, just calories. So, I’d say that they are unhealthy.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yeah, my nutrition professor used to say “In general most foods aren’t unhealthy, in and of itself, it’s the amounf of it that you eat that becomes the issue, The key is variety and moderation.”

    • Clevelandchick says:

      It’s not just quantity, it’s content. What they put in the food is unhealthy and that’s not just the fat. McD’s pumps their food with HFCS (which IS more harmful to the body than sugar) preservatives, wood fiber (their buns), they use meat that’s rinsed in ammonia. There isn’t anything the least bit healthy about 99% of their food. There is a reason their food doesn’t decompose and flies won’t touch it. Flies eat shit but they won’t eat McDonalds. I find that disturbing.

  2. kelcema says:

    Oh my, you can’t really expect Americans to take, oh, I dunno, responsibility for their own choices…

    I work for a grocery store, and our company mission statement includes the text “…to give our customers the information needed to make informed buying decisions.” We don’t claim that all of our food is super healthy (even though we are commonly portrayed as a “health-food” store), just that we’re going to make sure you have the facts needed to choose wisely.

    • Tim says:

      And what happens when, despite giving them the information needed to make informed decision, one third of our country is obese and another third is overweight?

      • Doubting thomas says:

        natural selection?

        • Cat says:

          “…let’s follow the example of our friend the cockroach. They were before man, they’ll be here after man. You know why? They eat crap. And I say, if it’s good enough for the cockroach, then it’s good enough for my family!”

          ~Al Bundy

          “This show is dedicated to our brother, The Mighty Cockroach. Let him show us the way.”

      • BorkBorkBork says:

        Personal responsibility?

        • kelcema says:

          That was my point… people need to take responsibility for their own actions. It really sucks that people are overweight/obese, as I think that will lead to increased health costs and care in their future, and our health care system (as it stands) will probably not be able to handle the strain.

          But, from a business point of view– and strictly business– we’re just selling them the food.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          A balance approached to nutritional education in the 70s was dumped for a visibly unbalanced one in the 90s. A good number of people don’t do well with a diet that’s unbalanced in favor of bread and pasta.

          Pervasive cultural propaganda that were stamped out of the same mold in some Foxconn factory also doesn’t help. Rampant anti-intellectualism complicates this and any suitable level of self-awareness.

          You’re different and if you don’t know what kind of different you are then you aren’t likely to make smart choices for yourself.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        Look to the schools. When is the last time you saw kids have “recess” after lunch? I remember doing it all the way to 6th grade. We ran around on blacktop at full speed, kicking balls, throwing balls at other kids, playing jumprope, etc…

      • Jules Noctambule says:

        I’d start examining the politics of poverty, the low cost of low-nutrition foods, and how social factors create geographically limited food choices, personally.

  3. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    So, in other words, he’s being a responsible adult and parent when it comes to eating.

    Eat too much of anything, outside of lettuce and celery, over a long period of time, and you’ll gain weight.

  4. gman863 says:

    “I feel that if we were to close our doors of all of the McDonald’s tomorrow, the obesity problem would not go away,” he said

    He’s right. It would only move across the street to BK, Hardee’s or Jack In The Box.

    • dubsteppsycho says:

      or AppleBees, TGI Fridays, KFC, Taco Bell, Long john silvers, subway, quiznos, papa johns or any other of the millions of pizza chains, along with the millions of chinese and other asian cuisine places, not to mention any steakhouses or seafood restuarants etc

  5. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    For once, I cannot find a single thing with which to disagree about coming from the mouth of a corporate muckety-muck/spokes-droid. Color me impressed.

    • Coffee says:

      Agreed. I work near a number of fast food places and would frequently be too lazy to pack a lunch, opting instead to eat out, and until February, I weighed about 275 pounds. In February, I stopped drinking, started bringing health shakes to work for lunch, and began exercising more. Now I go to fast food places about once every two weeks. I’m down to less than 235. Lifestyle choices are something you have to do for yourself. Getting fat and them complaining about fast food companies isn’t really constructive.

      • RedOryx says:

        I’ve lost 88 lbs in the past year and a half and a lot of that has been from cutting out fast food. It wasn’t necessarily the fast food’s fault, but the fact that I was eating it ALL THE TIME. Even now I still sometimes “splurge” on fast food maybe twice a month, but I make smarter choices and honestly couldn’t even stomach to eat all that I used to. I don’t need that much volume of food anymore.

        • Coffee says:

          Hey, I know you’ve mentioned it before, but it still warrants it: congratulations…good on you ;)

          • RedOryx says:

            Thank you, my dear :) I’m hoping to get to 100 by the end of the summer. I have my third tattoo already planned for it!

      • Kryndis says:

        You mind if I ask what health shakes you’ve been using? My biggest hurdle to bringing lunch to work is the time it takes to prepare something. If I could find something that’s quick and easy to grab on the way out the door in the morning it would help a lot.

        • Coffee says:

          (Cut and pasted from a G+ post)

          There’s a chance that your Costco won’t have all this, but at Costco, I get:

          - 1 case Kirland Weight Loss Shake (~16.99 a case)
          – 1 ten-pack Odwalla variety juice drinks (in the refrigerated area…these weren’t at Mandy’s Costco, but Naked or something like that would do)
          – OPTIONAL: A six-pack of bell peppers and tub of hummus dip to eat as a snack when I get home
          – At the food court area – three or four chicken caesar salads…they’re about $3.99 and the dressing and croutons are separate, so they can stay in the fridge a few days.

          In the morning, one shake for breakfast.
          One shake at noon.
          One smoothie (e.g. the Odwalla) at about 3:00pm
          When I get home, one bell pepper + hummus (substitute whatever small snack here)
          Chicken ceasar salad for dinner

          I mix in light exercise (walking, for example), and also cut out alcohol.

      • jiubreyn says:

        Congratulations on you progress! That’s awesome. :oD

    • Costner says:

      Agreed – I was nodding in agreement to several points he made… especially the 87 meals part.

      I would even go so far as to say you could eat at McDonald’s one meal a day and still be “healthy” if you moderate your intake and watch what you are eating. If people would eat a cheeseburger instead of a double quarter pounder with cheese and try a small fry instead of a supersize mega-ginormous fry… they might be amazed at the difference.

      • cameronl says:

        There’s the rub. I remember McD ads of my childhood, where a regular hamburger, small fries and a small drink were offered as an adult meal. (It was also a time when they advertised that meal got you change for your buck).

        • Costner says:

          I have determined that for me specifically… I am fulfilled with a meal regardless of the size. So I can eat either a double cheeseburger meal, or I can eat a double quarter-pounder meal with large size fries and drink… and yet in both cases my hunger is addressed and I move on.

          I don’t find myself needing a snack an hour later when I eat the smaller meal, and thus I soon figured out eating a smaller meal was probably the way to go. I don’t enjoy that after lunch “stuffed” feeling, so I simply avoid it.

          Thus, when I go to McD’s I either order the double cheeseburger value meal, or I order from the value menu. I haven’t had a quarter pounder or double quarter pounder in years and I don’t miss them. I also stopped upsizing my meals and again don’t miss it. I just stopped the nasty cycle of feeling I always needed more and more – and my body thanks me for it.

          I suspect I’m not alone here. A lot of people simply eat what is in front of them, so whether they are served a small meal or a massive one they just eat it all. It is a mental thing as much as it is simply hunger, and our bodies soon adapt to require more and more. Heck – a lot of obese people will even admit they don’t always eat because they are hungry… they eat because they are bored or because the food is simply there.

          Either way it comes down to each of us to control our own intakes – and this is why I don’t have any sympathy for anyone who blames McDonalds or Burger King or Wendys or Coca-Cola, or the Hostess company for making them fat. It really isn’t that hard to control what we eat, and how much of it we eat.

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            I get a Happy Meal. It’s just enough food that I can eat without making my stomach hurt. Plus I love those little plastic cheeseburgers. I don’t know why…

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        There’s a pretty decent, albeit low budget, documentary on just that subject. It’s called “Fat Head” and is a rebuttal to Super Size Me. You can find it on Netflix IW.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        This. I used to frequently get an Egg McMuffin, hashbrown, and diet drink and lose weight. That whole breakfast was lower in calories than most of their breakfast sandwiches alone-450 calories. A 450 calorie breakfast can certainly be a part of a healthy diet.

      • kalaratri says:

        I did exactly that while working at McD’s. Ate a grilled chicken sandwich, small fry and water everyday (and occasionally a sundae) and lost weight thanks to the fact I was getting more exercise.

  6. dulcinea47 says:

    He’s completely right about looking at what’s going on with the other 87 meals a month. However, saying that there’s nothing unhealthy on the menu is bullcrap. A sandwich that contains two thirds of your daily calorie needs and more than 100% of your fat is blatantly unhealthy. If your diet is 95% healthy, it’s okay to eat unhealthy things once in a while. But that doesn’t magically make those things also healthy.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Really? So you’re certain that every single person in the entire country requires exactly the same calorie intake?

      There are plenty of people who need 3000 or 4000 calories a day, from construction workers and gardeners to nurserymen and farmers.

    • teqjack says:

      I am allergic to green veggies. For me, peas are an “unhealthy” food. Does that mean that many prepared (frozen, canned) meals in supermarkets are unhealthy because they include peas? And I should complain that they sell “unhealthy: food because they actually sell – the gorror! – peas?

      A “Quarter Pounder” is the same size as (or smaller than) the burger you could get at any diner in the 1930s. And a diet soda to wash it down probably has less sugar and/or fat than the coffee-with-cream-and-sugar a patron back then would likely have had.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      “A sandwich that contains two thirds of your daily calorie needs and more than 100% of your fat is blatantly unhealthy.”

      How so?

  7. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Being able to factor a cheesburger into a healthy eating lifestyle and whether the cheeseburger itself is “healthy” are two very different things, Mr. Coudreaut.

    • ajv915 says:

      He never said healthy, he said healthful.
      Healthy = in state of good health
      Healthful = good for one’s health

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      There’s nothing inherently “unhealthy” about a burger, in and of itself.

      Now…if your cholesterol level is already at 300% of normal…then yeah, that would be a pretty unhealthy thing to eat. You’re otherwise healthy to start with? Then absolutely – a burger and fries is categorically not “unhealthy.”

    • orion70 says:

      I kind of think a lot of people are also equating “healthy” with “low enough in calories that I could lose weight eating it daily”, too. A lot of “healthy” lower calorie items come with an ingredient list as long as your arm. Or a fruit smoothie isn’t too bad as a meal replacement but has a load of sugar.

      (For the record, I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with the occasional McDonald’s meal on either end of the scale)

  8. Nighthawke says:

    Of course he cannot say anything bad for the Golden Rule’s in effect here. He who has the gold, makes the rules. If he did say anything bad, then he would be SOL out of a job and possibly sued…

    A nice, neat, sweetheart deal there folks, the head chef “inspired” to speak on behalf of their PR department.

  9. ablestmage says:

    The unhealthy part is eating it a zillion times in a row, or if you have a particular allergy or cholesterol problem *already*

  10. polishhillbilly says:

    I can smell the exhaust fume from a local McDonalds, the Veterinary incinerator next door smells better.

  11. CrazyEyed says:

    Honestly, if you look at Micky D’s nutritional content vs other fast food places or eateries, you’ll find its pretty average. Did you know the double cheeseburger from Denny’s has 2-3 times the calories and fat as most McDonald’s Burgers. BK is way worse than McDonalds if you compare calorie info.

    Not defending McDonalds as a healthy place to eat for all meals, but they do have healthy options and Daniel is right: If you balance fast food places with other meals on a weekly or monthly basis you can still eat McDonalds and keep a balanced diet.

    A lot of these fast food places get a bad rap, only because they are bigger. Does one honestly make a quick trip through the drivethru because they are looking to lose a few pound? Problem is, we don’t make poeple accountable for their own actions. There’s always a finger to point at the restaurants serving us the food when we patronize the business. It’s not McDonald’s fault you can’t get away from a Big Mac or Chicken Nuggets.

    People are fat because they choose to be fat or have prexisting genetic problems or diseases. Mcdonalds doesn’t cram a big mac or chicken nuggets down their throat.

    • lihtox says:

      McDonald’s is under greater scrutiny than other chains because they’re bigger; e.g. long after they cut trans fats out of their food, Jack in the Box’s food was still loaded with it.

  12. El_Fez says:

    I don’t see anything on the menu that’s unhealthy

    Really? I guess he’s never seen a big mac then:
    Calories – 540
    Calories from Fat – 260
    Cholesterol (mg) 75 (25% of your daily value)
    Sodium (mg) – 1040 (43% of your daily value)

    Yeah, that’s not unhealthy at all. . . .

    • Vox Republica says:

      If you eat a Big Mac, then eat sensibly the rest of the day, and for the next couple of days… again, there is nothing inherently unhealthy about that food per se. It’s the context in which that food fits which is the real issue here.

      • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

        Heck, that still fits in a normal day. I frequently have days where I need to eat dinner in the car on the way to a late night project. Breakfast – Special K, fruit and coffee (450-500 cal), Lunch portion control (healthy choice kind of thing) with fruit (450 cal) and a big mac and fry with unsweet ice tea keeps me in the healthy range for the day.

        • redwall_hp says:

          And some of us just have better metabolisms. I eat fast food a few times a week, and I weigh ~160 pounds. Right around “normal” for an adult male. A lot of the foods people consider “healthy” aren’t satisfying, and I would have to eat 3x as much just to not be hungry. (Salads, for instance, go *with* a meal. They’re not something that stands well on their own.) Especially if I was doing anything remotely strenuous earlier.

          The real problem: having a high caloric intake and then sitting on your ass all day. If you eat high-calory food, sit at work all day, sit in the car, and then sit on your couch all day, you’re going to gain weight. Just take some time and do something. Bowling is good exercise if you’re serious about it and do it competitively.

    • StarKillerX says:

      No, that isn’t unhealthy, sure their are healthier options but that doesn’t make this unhealthy.

      Now eatting a couple of them several times a week would be unhealthy, but that’s strictly a quantity issue. Yogurt is generally considered a healthy food but does that mean you can ate a quart, or half gallon, a day without any adverse health effects?

  13. Vox Republica says:

    I’m not doubting that there are people out there who think McDonald’s and company are the Four Horsemen of the Cardiocalypse, and don’t speak on their behalf. I’m certainly not one of them, and count among my daily pleasures a large McDonald’s coffee (seriously, it’s great). However, I’ve had problems with McDonald’s in the past, and will continue to until I see some nationwide culture changes.

    The biggest difference I see, as a resident of early-adopter New York City, is the impact on consumption by posting the calories in a product/meal. That was a great, sensible move that certainly hasn’t hurt McDonald’s bottom line (people are now steering themselves towards high-margin salads, snack wraps, and their huge coffee drink selection)—but it wasn’t a McDonald’s idea. Before then, McDonald’s locations would bombard you with terms like “everyday values” and crow about their early/late hours, certainly intimating by association that McDonald’s could be (and, depending on your cynicism, should be) a constant presence in your life and stomach.

    McDonald’s certainly shouldn’t be blamed for making tasty food that people want to eat. However, establishments that offer ready-to-eat meals as such should, at least to some extent, be expected to show what exactly that meal entails. Consumer education is key. If, after reviewing the calorie counts, somebody wants to eat three McDoubles and wash them down with a four-pack of apple pies, go nuts. But, at least up here, they’re quickly becoming a minority.

  14. PhillipSC says:

    I would like to ask him: “So do any “unhealthy” foods exist? ” … i think his logic is that you have to have calories to exist therefore anything with calories is healthy

    • Mastodon says:

      Did you know you can eat a small amount of asbestos without harm? Asbestos sprinkles can be part of a healthy diet, I don’t understand why people fear it so much.

  15. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    AGREE 100%. There are no unhealthy foods. There ARE unhealthy quantities of ANY food.

  16. heismanpat says:

    I agree with his stance that adults need to be responsible for their eating habits and the eating habits of their kids, but it’s utter nonsense to say that *nothing* on their menu is unhealthy. You can find unhealthy food at virtually every restaurant, even ones that are known for being health-conscious. McDonald’s certainly doesn’t fit the bill of a health-oriented restaurant in any sense of the word.

    McDonald’s has plenty of item on their menu with zero nutritional value. Please try to defend how a 32oz. 1,160-calorie Chocolate Triple Thick Shake qualifies as “healthy” in any sense of the word.

    I’m all for personal responsibility and I don’t think McDonald’s deserves any blame for the obesity epidemic, but don’t try to present yourself as something you’re not…You’re a fast food restaurant that can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in limited quantities, and you have a few items that can be considered healthy choices. But go fuck yourself if you’re going to try to make ridiculous claims that nothing on your menu is unhealthy. Nobody is that stupid.

    • Vox Republica says:

      Something not being essentially healthy is not the same as something being essentially unhealthy, though. An unhealthy food qua consumable item would, in and of itself, have a specific and causal negative impact on your health solely by virtue of its consumption. Even the shake you describe won’t, absent some unforeseen allergic reaction, substantially degrade the health of the person consuming it on its own merits. It is entirely dependent on context.

      We’re getting into semantics now, but calling a food “unhealthy” in and of itself is a very tough row to hoe, and (should, anyhow) have a very tough bar for entry to consideration as such.

  17. Sean says:

    It’s parents who pick their kids up from daycare at the last minute possible (or later) before they close and then drive through the fast food drive through every day that there is a problem.

    There may be nothing blatantly unhealthy on their menu, but there isn’t any items that have any flavor that would make me want to go to McDs. It is all bland going for the lowest possible. I want food that has flavor and you can enjoy eating, not just fill me up and give me a little nutrition.

  18. Sarahlara says:

    If there’s nothing at all unhealthy on that menu, then there is no unhealthy food anywhere. He should have stuck with the personal responsibility argument. At least that made some sense.

  19. mistyfire says:

    Has he looked at a copy of Eat This Not That?

    • Cicadymn says:

      Doesn’t that book actually encourage people to eat big macs instead of whoppers?

      Actually isn’t it right there on the cover?

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        There are different editions. Those try to steer people who are going to eat fast food anyway to a more healthy option. They do the same with packaged foods.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          It’s all crap. So the premise of the book is stupid.

          If you are going to destroy your body with crap, at least eat what you like. At least get some pleasure out of it. Otherwise, there really is no point at all.

          If you are going to make compromises and deny yourself, you might as well eat celery. Just dump the junk food entirely and eat something decent.

          I will avoid McDonalds because I view it as inferior as an indulgence. I prefer to harden my arteries with more style than that.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      > Has he looked at a copy of Eat This Not That?

      What would you expect him to get out of that? That crap is still crap even if it’s slightly less crappy?

      The thing to get out of “Eat This Not That” is to realize that some things are junk. They are inherently harmful. There is no point in denying that. So you are intent on subjecting yourself to that harm, you might as well find some value in it.

      Pretending that all of that stuff (including McDonalds) isn’t junk is just stupid.

      Acknowledge reality and deal with it.

      That may mean avoiding the fries or avoiding the whole thing most of the time.

  20. Blueskylaw says:

    “I don’t see anything on the menu that’s unhealthy.”

    What he meant was that eating the menu board wouldn’t be unhealthy. The food is something else.

  21. ThinkingBrian says:

    I call this BS. Most the menu is unhealthy. Its fast food, what do you expect…

  22. jiubreyn says:

    Eating in moderation =! healthy when it comes to McDonalds. This “Chef” is an idiot if he can’t see McDonalds food is unhealthy. Was that a self-designated title or one achieved through culinary education?

  23. Chaluapman says:

    Smoothies? Those are just as bad as all the other shit they sell. Full of sugar, fat, and other stuff

  24. Piddles says:

    They could reduce overall carbohydrates in their food. I don’t see a reason why there has to be so much sugar in everything. Other then that, Coudreaut’s got a few good points. All McDonalds has ever done was meet a demand for quick food. It’s an option that people can choose to exercise should they want to.

  25. eldergias says:

    yeah… he needs to define what he means by “unhealthy” first.

  26. Anachronism says:

    “I don’t see anything on the menu that’s unhealthy.”

    Um, have you had your vision checked? A Double Quarter Pounder, Large Fries, Large Coke (or even worse, milkshake), which is bundled together on the menus board, can not be construed as healthy in any way that I can see.

    On the other hand, I don’t think McDonalds should be demonized as inherently unhealthy. Pairing one of the smaller-patty burgers (up to and including big mac), or one of the grilled chicken sandwiches, with a side-saled and diet drink or water (which can be ordered as a combo), is a perfectly reasonable meal.

    Their salads are some of the better ones in the fast-food market, with a variety of lettuce (instead of just random clumps of iceberg).

    I think its unfair to call McDonalds an unhealthy place to eat. There are plenty of opportunities to make unhealthy choices there, but also plenty of opportunity to get a quick meal that is also reasonable from a nutrition standpoint.

  27. Slow-talking Walter, the fire-engine guy. says:

    Director of Culinary Innovation??

  28. Dr.Wang says:

    “I control what goes into their mouths,” he said.

    I do to. I never took my kids to McSimburger. We are not healthfood nuts either. But McD is not real food, it’s the chemical equivalency. That is why it does not rot. It has nothing to do with moisture content.

  29. SteveHolt says:

    There are unhealthy foods on the McDonald’s menu, end of story. Do you really think he would say anything bad about McD’s? His answers are not exactly on topic, and sometimes straight up false. This sounds like a piss-poor attempt at spin. Sorry, I’m not buying it, and I’m not buying any McDonald’s either.

  30. WB987 says:

    “I run a business that provides choice, but then my company makes every effort possible in psychological and chemical warfare against our customers to extract every dollar from that customer.”

  31. gafpromise says:

    The average fast food goer eats 3x a month? I don’t think so. On weeks when I’m short on time I can go like 5-7 times.

  32. HogwartsProfessor says:

    What? No jokes about “forcemeat?” You guys are slipping.

    LOL I have this Gold Medal Flour cookbook from 1910 that has recipes that use forcemeat. I had to read that section about ten times before I figured out what it was.

  33. AndroidHumanoid says:

    I think a lot of people can only focus on the calories, fat, and cholesterol part of McDonalds food. But what about the HFCS, toxic chemicals, and frankenfood the menu is comprised of? This food is more than something that will make your ass fat.

  34. maxamus2 says:

    I think this guys comments hit the nail on the head. He talks of moderation, menu choices, balance, etc… Not sure why the hate.

    • Clevelandchick says:

      Because he’s lying out of his arse that there is nothing unhealthy about their food.

  35. No Fat Chicks says:

    PLEASE stop with all these food police, politically correctness, stories. Leave people alone and let them eat what they want to.

  36. Clevelandchick says:

    The high fructose corn syrup his company puts in every single food item they offer (except the apples and lettuce but I’m sure they would if they could) that’s completely unnecessary but also highly addictive is also making people fat and sick. Not to mention all of the other chemicals they pump into that food. There’s a reason it doesn’t decompose and not even flies will touch it.

    And I highly doubt the guy eats that food or feeds it to his kids once a week. I call BS on that one.

  37. Khayembii Communique says:

    He’s absolutely right. There’s absolutely nothing inherently unhealthy about McDonald’s from a weight loss/gain perception. It’s all how you fit it into your diet; I used to eat a Big Mac every day when losing weight.

  38. consumerd says:

    Well he is correct, even if they closed down all mcdonalds’ franchises and stores tomorrow that wouldn’t solve the fat epidemic, it just means the rest of the fast food places would share a larger portion of the blame, it wouldn’t fix the problem at all. He is correct that they are not perfect, hell no restaurant is for that matter.

    just like this page shows: http://thisiswhyyourefat.tumblr.com/

    we can come up with our own concoctions to make us fat just fine without mcdonalds.

    Really?