On March 26, the McDonald’s in Oxford, N.C., held a “McTeacher’s Night,” in which West Oxford Elementary School teachers worked behind the fast-food counter, selling burgers and chicken nuggets to kids in an effort to raise money. Campaigns like the Coalition for Healthy School Food and the Physicians Committee’s Healthy School Lunches initiative have been working to get this type of unhealthful fare out of the school cafeteria—and for good reason.
According to a report published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 17 percent of children in the United States are obese. In North Carolina, 16 percent of children aged 10 to 17 are obese. Junk food like pizza, bacon, and burgers are some of the top sources of saturated fat in the American diet. (The highest source? Cheese.) The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Red and processed meat products have also been linked to various forms of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.
In a letter to the school principal, the Physicians Committee detailed the ramifications that come from feeding kids a diet full of saturated fat and cholesterol. But we want to help West Oxford Elementary School get a passing grade in nutrition! We’ve offered to sponsor a trip to the local farmers market as well as a tour of Granville Medical Center.
Do you know a school that needs a nutrition overhaul? Send them our Resources for Schools.
Or if you know a school that offers healthful, plant-based meals for its students, nominate them for a Golden Carrot Award at GoldenCarrotAwards.org!
The Physicians Committee is calling out Arby’s for misleading its 263,000 Twitter followers. The company’s recent #meatcraft tweets claimed that “Protein is better in meat form.” The truth is that animal protein is linked to several diseases, while plant protein is not. To protect public health, the Physicians Committee has filed a legal petition asking the Federal Trade Commission to halt this deceptive messaging:
Meat is high in cholesterol and saturated fat and many studies have found that meat consumption is linked with premature death from a variety of causes. In fact, processed meat products—like the deli slices found on Arby’s sandwiches—are so strongly linked with colorectal cancer that no amount is considered safe for consumption. Despite the known cancer risk, Arby’s has stated via Twitter, “If you’re not eating bacon, you’re not doing it right.”
Arby’s messaging perpetuates the myth that meat is the pinnacle of protein—when that’s just not true. Lentils have 17.9 grams of protein per cup. Split peas have 16 grams. Both of these protein sources are high in fiber and completely free of cholesterol and saturated fat.
Tell Arby’s that you don’t appreciate its nutritional misinformation by retweeting @PCRM’s tweet or sharing the image below!
Ronald McDonald just got a makeover. He’s still a clown hawking junk food, but now he’s dressed up in a blazer and bow tie instead of a jumpsuit. As McDonald’s sales and share values keep going down, it’s pulling out every trick in the book to pump up sales. Rather than improve its product, McDonald’s has kept its menu as stale and deadly as ever.
McDonald’s cheeseburger Happy Meal comes with 20 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, and a whopping 880 milligrams of sodium. Worst of all, it is marketed to children. Instead of an updated Happy Meal mascot, McDonald’s should get with the times and offer a veggie burger kids meal.
McDonald’s new mascot. (Screenshot from Twitter.)
More and more fast food outlets are offering vegetarian and vegan options because that is what customers are asking for. Chipotle launched the vegan Sofritas nationwide earlier this year, and profits during its first quarter skyrocketed 24 percent. Subway released a falafel sandwich in select locations and is now rolling out a hummus spread for its sandwiches. TCBY has added coconut- and almond-based vegan fro-yo flavors to its menu. Plant-based fast food outlets are also expanding nationwide. Native Foods Café, a fast-casual plant-based chain, has received a $15 million investment toward its goal of reaching 200 restaurants coast-to-coast in the next five years.
Hopefully McDonald’s gives consumers a little credit. A healthful menu overhaul is the way to bring back business. But a clown in a bow tie taking selfies? That’s just silly.