February 06, 2007 | Graham

Putting heart into fast food

I was recently very critical of a Cancer Council NSW study into fast food advertising. The award of Heart Foundation ticks to some McDonald’s meals puts the study into more trouble.
McDonald’s has paid $330,000 to the Heart Foundation, and nine of its meals have qualified. Before anyone suggests the Foundation can be bought, this is the standard fee and goes to pay for the cost of the program, not fudging the standards applied. Any company with a Heart Foundation tick has paid a similar fee.
This goes to show that not all fast foods are the same. In fact, for some time McDonald’s have been doing what every economics text book says they should do in a competitive market – change to meet consumer demands. They provide nutritional break-downs of the various foods on the packaging, and you can buy salads, deli sandwiches, cereals, and a range of non-soft drinks, including mineral water. Long gone are the days when the main choice was whether or not to have fries with your Big Mac .
The Cancer Council NSW study looked at advertising for “unhealthy foods” and concluded that producers of these goods were breaking the national guidelines in their advertising of them. So, how do you define an “unhealthy food”. The study appears to have disappeared from the council’s website, but from memory, any takeaway food was defined as “unhealthy”. This is an unsatisfactory way of defining nutritional content. It means an ad for a high calorie Big Mac is equal to one for a Subway Sub, or now, one of McDonald’s Heart Foundation approved meals.
But apparently to the ideologues at the Cancer Council, all takeawy foods are equal. I don’t think consumers will agree with them. I’m not so sure that this will lead to slimmer citizens however. It’s not the quality of food that puts on weight, so much as the quantity. In a society where food is plentiful, so too will be excess human pounds.

Posted by Graham at 5:23 pm | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Health

1 Comment

  1. I’d like to see the Heart Foundation, or someone to at least investigate potential damaging effects of restricting food intake to lose weight. Most dieters do this to lose weight in an effort to ‘look better’ not necessarily to be healthy. They then find chronic restrained eating impossible to maintain, and put the pounds and kilos back on again.And usually put on more than they would if they hadn’t have dieted in the first place.
    This has been shown to put undue stress on the human cardio-vascular system. The dieter feels bad and guilty and returns to chronic restrained eating and the same thing happens, each time causing more and more stress on the cardio-vascular system due to ‘yo-yo’.
    We need to know if the diet and weight loss industry can get the tick of approval for keeping us healthy?
    It seems they are just lining their pockets and getting fat on junk sceince and hysteria over being fat and self-obsession.
    Eating a moderate variety of food and doing half an hour’s moderate exercise each day is hardly rocket science – even if one is carrying around a few extra pounds.

    Comment by Dominic McCarthy — February 7, 2007 @ 11:32 am

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