‘McDonald’s Menu Is Not Unhealthy’
It is hardly surprising to hear that Chef Daniel Coudreaut, who looks after culinary innovation for McDonald’s USA, doesn’t find the menu “unhealthy.” He probably has not read about the “Rand Corporation” report, released recently, which states that as much as 96% of restaurant starters and entrees did not conform to nutrition guidelines laid out by the USDA. In his opinion, “I don’t see anything on the menu that’s unhealthy.” Wouldn’t you want to read more of what he has to say?
1) The non-famous chef
He may be responsible for culinary innovation that guides the diets of as many as 26 million Americans daily across some 14,000 outlets in the country, yet Coudreaut is not well-known in public. He joined McDonald’s in 2004, the year the restaurant chain came under severe attack from public after the release of Morgan Spurlock’s documentary, “Super Size Me.” Since then, he has constantly defended the McDonald’s menu against public onslaught whenever given a chance. But that doesn’t mean the guy is not concerned about your diet, especially when you are visiting a McDonald’s near you. He is the man behind some of the successful menu items at McDonald’s such as apple slices with Happy Meals, real fruit smoothies, and smaller orders of French fries. However, he himself is the most proud of the oatmeal, launched to salvage the fast-food chain’s image. In fact, he was in Cleveland recently to release McDonald’s new banana nut oatmeal with fresh blueberries. It was on this trip, while answering a spate of questions about the health factor of the menu, that Coudreaut made the infamous statement that he didn’t find his restaurant’s menu unhealthy at all.
2) Why Unhealthy?
The public health advocates may have derided their menu for years and the scientists may have proved the same beyond doubt, but Coudreaut refuses to believe that the menu that he has created for the restaurant chain is anything but healthy. To drive home the point, he even says that he and his family ate at McDonald’s at least once a week. He himself enjoys a Big Mac and for him, McNuggets are just “forcemeat.” If he is to be believed, the McDonald’s and similar restaurants have nothing to do with the rising levels of obesity in the country. Well, that is a little hard to believe, isn’t it?
3) Balance is the Key
When asked how he can advocate eating fast food without any health concern, Coudreaut has one formula. He says that just like everyone else, whenever he gorges on the fast food, he makes sure he balances his diet so as to accommodate the extra calories of the meal. In fact, he is quite unabashed in his defense of the McDonald’s corporation and its money-making tactics, which have taken a high toll on the health of Americans. He says, “I don’t see anything on the menu that’s unhealthy” while adding that the menu contains only what sells in the market. Apparently, his target is the customer base, which grew even after Spurlock’s documentary was released. After Spurlock described how he came to be on the brink of death after eating “super size” McDonald’s meals, the customer base for the chain grew by 1 million.
4) No Responsibility?
Coudreaut appeared calm and controlled when asked whether he didn’t feel even an iota of responsibility for McDonald’s role in serving fatty food to the population and raising the obesity levels. He just said that his only responsibility was mostly for his own children. He guided the eating habits of his son, aged 7 and his daughter, aged 11. He took his family to McDonald’s once a week, where they also ate McNuggets and Happy Meal but he added, “I control what goes into their mouths.” In defense of his company’s position, he asked that what the customer was eating apart from his McDonald’s meals made a large difference to his health. Speaking of statistics, an average McDonald’s customer ate roughly three times a month at the fast food restaurant. Therefore, according to Coudreaut, it was important to find out what was the customer eating in the rest of the month. He said, “I feel that if we were to close our doors of all of the McDonald’s tomorrow, the obesity problem would not go away.”
In the end, the McDonald’s senior director for culinary innovation just said that the customer needed to balance their meals while eating at McDonald’s. In this regard, he suggested opting for menu items like grilled chicken, low-fat milk, oatmeal, salads, or yogurt parfaits, instead of burgers and fries if they want to stick to a healthy diet. However, he adds, even burgers, fries, and milkshakes could be counted as a part of a healthy diet because it was all about “choice, balance, and moderation.”
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