Among the dozens of high-calorie items available on the McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) menu, at the top of the list is one with 1,880 calories. The 40-piece Chicken McNuggets has a calorie count that puts it well above any other item.
The product also has 118 grams of fat, 118 grams of carbohydrates, 87 grams of protein and 3,660 mg of sodium.
One could argue that McNuggets should be evaluated based on less than 40 pieces. However the product actually exists on McDonald’s menu. According to the fast food company, it “serves 4” — or perhaps one person with an extraordinary appetite or the ability of ingest huge amounts of food.
Among the arguments that McDonald’s food is fine is the case of a science teacher who two years ago lost 37 pounds over a 90-day period. Many experts pointed out that, while the weight loss rate was impressive, it did not change the danger that high-calorie foods can have on heart health and on obesity.
McDonald’s has started to address the attacks on its menu, which has many items with calorie counts of over 600. A meal with a large hamburger, a large milkshake and french fries can push the number of calories over 1,000. McDonald’s claims it will mitigate health issues with food that is better for customers.
Recently McDonald’s announced a program with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the Clinton Foundation and American Heart Association. According to a company press release, the program has a wide range:
McDonald’s specifically commits to:
- Provide customers a choice of a side salad, fruit or vegetable as a substitute for French fries in value meals. (Salad, fruit or vegetable option will vary per participating market.)
The commitment also includes the following related to the promotion and advertising of Happy Meals:
- Promote and market only water, milk, and juice as the beverage in Happy Meals on menu boards and in-store and external advertising
- Utilize Happy Meal and other packaging innovations and designs to generate excitement for fruit, vegetable, low/reduced-fat dairy, or water options for kids
- Dedicate Happy Meal box or bag panels to communicate a fun nutrition or children’s well-being message
- Ensure 100 percent of all advertising directed to children to include a fun nutrition or children’s well-being message
McDonald’s menu has not changed enough to eliminate the 1,880-calorie 40-piece Chicken McNuggets item.