This year fast food giant McDonald’s has made some serious changes, but you might not have noticed them at all. If you’ve ever worried about grabbing breakfast on-the-go from McDonald’s while you gear up for your day, you can worry a little less. The restaurant chain has eliminated artificial preservatives from a number of breakfast items, including pork-sausage patties, omelet-style eggs and scrambled eggs. They’ve also decided to leave the preservatives out of their Chicken McNuggets, making late-night snack binges just a little bit less unhealthy.
For those of you who believe that food from those golden arches might not be that bad for you, consider that artificial preservatives have been linked to breathing difficulties, heart damage, and, according to the Archives of Disease in Children, behavioural changes and hyperactivity. However small, this is a step in the right direction for the burger monolith.
The changes also include adding new burger buns that do not contain high fructose corn syrup, of which the effects are still unknown, according to the Mayo Clinic they may be similar to those of high levels of sugar.
According to the McDonald’s corporation, the changes in their ingredients affect nearly half of the items on the menu.
“We’re making changes to ensure the food we’re proud of is food our customers love and feel good eating, and we remain committed to our continuing food journey at McDonald’s,” stated McDonald’s USA president Mike Andreas in a press release.
The restaurant chain has also announced their commitment to using chicken free of antibiotics “important to human medicine” in their American locations, something they have been aiming to accomplish by 2018 in Canada. Farmers supplying chicken to the chain will still use ionophores, a class of antibiotics that are not prescribed to people, that the restaurant claims help keep chickens healthy.
McDonald’s has been fighting their negative image as a contributor to the obesity epidemic and supplier of food that makes people sick since the backlash from Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary film Supersize Me, in which Spurlock spent 30 days eating only food he bought from McDonald’s. The company has been steadily adding ‘healthier’ options to their menu and began phasing out the option to ‘Supersize’ your meal – that is, upgrade to an extra-large soft drink and fries— in 2004, though you can still upgrade your medium soft drink and fries to a large.
Experts from EatThis.com, a website that helps the average person maintain a healthy weight and proper nutrition without giving up convenient fast food, recommend, if you cannot avoid McDonald’s altogether, sticking with wraps and grilled chicken, with salad as a side, and the restaurant’s high-protein breakfast menu.
While the McDonald’s menu may still not fall into the category of ‘healthy eating,’ efforts by the company to reduce the negative aspects of some of its food may at least be headed in the right direction with these undoubtedly positive changes to the menu.