McDonalds ‘healthwashing’ of oatmeal

This awesome article was posted over a year ago on the New York Times, but it’s too great not to share. Mark Bittman, beloved foodie columnist, wrote about ‘How to Make Oatmeal… Wrong.‘ His article attacks McDonald’s for selling oatmeal as a ‘healthy option-‘ even though it’s anything but.

McDonald’s began offering oatmeal early last year, which is great news for the company, who can now claim they are offering healthier options so that customers can make better choices. McDonald’s promises to offer, “100 percent natural whole-grain oats,” “plump raisins,” “sweet cranberries” and “crisp fresh apples,” but according to Bittman, the real ingredients should look something like this: “oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and eleven weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.”

So, whatever, there are some weird ingredients in the oatmeal. But it’s still a healthier option than their other breakfast foods, right? Wrong. Bittman notes that, “the McDonald’s [oatmeal] contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. (Even without the brown sugar it has more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.)” I checked on the nutritional data for the Starbucks oatmeal- which is offered as almost as many location across the country. The oatmeal at Starbucks contains a few odd ingredients that are not necessary in oats (calcium carbonate, guar gum, caramel color? why-it’s already brown) and a host of enriching vitamins (not necessarily bad, but not really needed, either).

Though Bittman’s article was posted a year ago, the idea that companies make health claims about their food when, in fact, there is nothing healthy about it, is a topic that is ALWAYS relevant. It’s important to ask yourself whether or not it’s worth the ‘convenience’ to stop at McDonald’s, Starbucks, or other coffee shop for your morning nourishment. Oatmeal is super easy to make at home, crazy cheap, and incredibly customizable. Follow the links below for great oatmeal recipes from the Important Media team. If you choose the cafe-breakfast route, ask the company about your foods: what ARE the ingredients, how can you customize it to make it more healthy, and if they don’t have healthier options, encourage them to add some to their menu.

Baked Oatmeal
World’s Best Oatmeal
Overnight Oats
No-Bake granola
Crockpot Granola

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About Andrea Bertoli 597 Articles
A vegan chef, cookbook author, wellness educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in Honolulu. Follow my delicious adventures on Instagram

1 Comment

  1. Those to go oatmeals are hilarious to me, because it’s so simple to make your own to go oatmeal by just mixing up rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts, and a little maple syrup. You can add water from the coffee machine at work for instant oats without stopping at McDonald’s or Starbucks or whatever. It’s healthier and SO MUCH CHEAPER!

    You could even mix up a bunch of servings on Sunday so you can grab and go all week. It would probably take 10 minutes tops!

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