McDonald’s Makes Positive Food Changes Due to Demand for Healthy Food

McDonald’s Makes Positive Food Changes Due to Demand for Healthy Food

McDonald’s has been in the news a lot this month, thanks to big changes the fast-food company is making to several of its menu offerings.

The company began making these changes more than a year ago, when it replaced margarine with real butter in its Egg McMuffins, and added kale and spinach to the iceberg lettuce in its salads. (Those kale salads wound up being higher in calories than McDonald’s famous Big Macs, though.) [1]

In March 2015, McDonald’s said it would only source chicken raised without antibiotics important to human health. The company said it expected it would take until 2017 to accomplish that goal, but the switch occurred sooner than expected. It also said it would transition to using only cage-free eggs, but that it could take up to a decade. [2]

Let’s take a look at some of the other changes coming to your local McDonald’s.

No More High Fructose Corn Syrups in Sandwich Buns

The high fructose corn syrup found in McDonald’s sandwich buns will be replaced with sugar. [1]

High fructose corn syrup has been linked to obesity and Type 2 diabetes by wreaking havoc on the body’s metabolism, plus more health problems than I could list here. A few include:

  • Heart failure
  • Reduced lifespan and infertility
  • Leads to overeating

In 2014, Chick-Fil-A announced it was removing high fructose corn syrup from its buns. Taco Bell announced in 2015 that it would remove the sweetener from its food.

So Long, Artificial Preservatives

McDonald’s is ditching artificial preservatives in its McNuggets (remember the infamous pink slime debacle?), pork sausage patties, omelet-style eggs, and scrambled eggs. [2]

Becca Hary, a McDonald’s spokesperson, said the company got rid of an artificial preservative in the cooking oil for the McNuggets, and that the chicken nuggets now contain “ingredients that sound more familiar to people,” including pea starch and rice starch.

McNuggets will also be free of chicken skin, safflower oil, and citric acid. Citric acid, a common ingredient in Coca-Cola and other soft drinks, is harmless in small amounts; however, in large doses it can eat away at your stomach and esophageal lining.

Sodium phosphate will be removed from the McNuggets’ meat, but not the breading. In 2014, researchers in Vienna suggested adding phosphates to the list of unhealthy ingredients to watch for on nutritional labels after linking them to high blood pressure and heart disease.

The healthier version of the McNuggets supposedly taste the same. McDonald’s tested them out in Oregon and Washington earlier this year.

Hary said other items on the menu could also be overhauled, but didn’t specify which ones. She said:

“Some items on our menu still contain artificial preservatives, and we are taking steps to evaluate the ingredients in these items.”

There’s Still Much Work to be Done

While these moves represent a significant and positive step in the right direction, McDonald’s is hardly a health food joint.

The sweet-and-tangy “secret sauce” that tops McDonald’s Big Macs contains an astonishing 32 ingredients, including the same high fructose corn syrup the company has vowed to remove from its sandwich buns.

The sauce truly is a secret, but we do know it contains as many as 5 preservatives, including potassium sorbate and caramel color. [3]


[1] The Wall Street Journal

[2] USA Today

[3] The Street