COMMENTARY | As a nurse, you can imagine my shock and horror when I read Kyle Smith's article on the New York Post's website about the McDonald's McDouble being the most nutritious and most abundant food around. Smith argues that for $1, you can get half your daily serving of protein, 20 percent of your daily serving of calcium, and even a bit of fiber with this dollar-menu favorite. But Smith's argument is riddled with so many misleading statements that I'm going to have a difficult time keeping this commentary to 350 words.
According to McDonald's own website, the McDouble has 850mg of sodium and 19g of fat. You are consuming almost one-third of your recommended daily intake of sodium and fat with one little burger. Add on a small order of "world famous fries" and that's another 11g of fat and 160mg of sodium. I suppose you could buy the apple slices instead, but the burger-and-fries combo is so iconic, it's almost a knee-jerk reaction to buy the two as a pair.
What's so bad about sodium and fat? For starters, a high-sodium diet is a major cause of high blood pressure which, in turn, is a frequent cause of cardiovascular disease. You can pretty much guess that a high-fat diet leads to weight gain and obesity. According to data collected by the CDC, in 2008 the medical care cost of obesity was more than $147 billion. And what are some of the health consequences of obesity? Among other things, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Those $1 McDoubles are more costly than Smith would like to acknowledge.
To Smith's credit, he points out that healthier food does cost more than cheap junk food. And anyone who has shopped at Whole Foods Market can tell you McDonald's is easier on the wallet. But the solution is not telling the cash-strapped poor and lower-middle class to run to McDonald's for lunch and dinner. We need to educate people on nutrition and tell our government to stop subsidizing junk food and put that money toward subsidizing more fruits and vegetables instead.
I agree with Smith that the McDonald's McDouble is a cheap food source that's high in protein. But make this a regular part of your diet and you'll pay a higher price in the future in terms of your health and medical bills.
Jennifer Budd is a registered nurse and a former broadcast journalist in the NYC/New Jersey area.
- Disease & Medical Conditions
- Kyle Smith