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McDonald’s to offer lower-fat fries

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THE NATION’S biggest hamburger restaurant chain says its new, healthier french fries will cut so-called trans fatty acid levels in half while providing more beneficial polyunsaturated fat. A growing body of scientific research concludes that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated ones can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

“It’s a win-win for our customers because they are getting the same great french fry taste along with an even healthier nutrition profile,” McDonald’s USA president Mike Roberts said in a statement Tuesday.

But it remains to be seen whether the new version of one of the companies hottest sellers will win over the taste buds of fat-fancying fry fans. McDonald’s says extensive tests found that consumers couldn’t taste the difference with the new formula. Still, there’s a risk that consumers will be cool to the new fries, according to U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray analyst Allan Hickok.







“It’s a huge risk,” he said. “McDonald’s used to fry in beef tallow, and they had the best fries in the business. Since they changed to the current oil, they’ve lost traction in having the best fries.”

Meanwhile, fast-food critics say the moves don’t go far enough in warning consumers about the dangers of eating too much fat. They think fast-food chains should include health warnings like those found on cigarettes packages and liquor bottles.

“Eventually they’re going to be forced into doing it — voluntarily or through legislation,” said John Banzhaf, a professor at George Washington University, who is suing McDonald’s and others.

McDonald’s says the lawsuit, and other legal efforts to hold fast-food purveyors liable for their customers obesity, are nonsense.

“We’ll proudly defend the McDonald’s hamburger,” said company spokesman Walt Riker. “It represents the most basic building blocks of the American diet.”

But the legal challenges to the fast food industry are apparently beginning to get some traction. Banzhaf and a group of his law students recently won a $12.5 million settlement against McDonald’s for mislabeling the contents of its French fries as vegetarian. As part the settlement, McDonald’s also issued an apology on its Web site.








The action was followed by class-action suit filed in late July, in which a 57-year-old, 270-pound Bronx maintenance worker, Caesar Barber, claimed that McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and KFC didn’t adequately warn him that his steady diet of fast food would lead to subsequent health problems, which include heart attacks and diabetes.

The fast-food industry counters that exercise is a readily available antidote to obesity and that fast food, by itself, is not dangerous.

“There a big difference between food and tobacco — it’s not addictive,” said Mike Burita, spokesman for the industry-funded Center for Consumer Freedom. “Food on its face is not bad for you. If you lived on tofu and bottled water, you’d have health problems as well.”

But Burita and others acknowledge that the legal campaign against fast food has intensified.

“There’s been a big spark in what we call the ‘food cop’ movement,” he said.

Both sides agree that spark is due in large part to a report last December from U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, which said that an epidemic of obesity may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable deaths. The surgeon general said 61 percent of adults and 13 percent of children are overweight, and that obesity contributes to 300,000 U.S. deaths a year — fast approaching the 440,000 killed by smoking.





But it remains to be seen whether juries will hold the fast food industry responsible for that epidemic. Banzhaf says the legal challenge against the fast food industry is just beginning to organize a tobacco-like assault, starting with a gathering later this fall in Boston of attorneys that make up to “fast food” bar.

McDonald’s says the decision to switch to lower-fat fries was unrelated to legal actions. The company says it’s been working for years with longtime supplier Cargill to develop the new oil, which a few of its restaurants will begin using in October. All 13,000 domestic McDonald’s restaurants will use the oil by next February.

The company is testing other lines of healthier food, including a new “Lighter Choices” menu at some outlets in Canada. But it may be awhile before the idea catches on in American fast food markets, according to Hickok.

“Burger King is advertising two Whoppers for two bucks,” he said. “It’s saying, ‘Hey, you can eat more if you like. And you know what consumers will do? They’ll eat more.


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“We’ll proudly defend the McDonald’s hamburger,” said company spokesman Walt Riker. “It represents the most basic building blocks of the American diet.”


I can't believe someone would say that and actually stand by it! Gross.


Hey - on another topic, did you know that the guy who started the populare Atkins diet scam is actually overweight himself?

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i just saw something about that tonite. the fries are lower in fat, but the calories are still the same. and if macdonalds represents the american diet, i guess that explains why the U.S. is the most obese country in the world.......

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has anyone else noticed that all of mcdonalds new products

have failed horribly



-sourdough burger

-chili cheeseburger



i know there are more but i cant remember at the moment


funny how all the fastfood places just rip of jack in the box's ideas

but make them of poor quality and fail.

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Guest willy.wonka

seen it on the news....like that will actually ge me eating at McDONALDS again.

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