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McDonald’s Profit, Americans Tip Scales

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McDonald’s healthier menu changed little: the fast-food giant’s profits are still growing – and so are American waistlines. The nation continues to fatten, according to a new survey. Some 26.1% of American adults defined themselves as obese in 2011, according to the “Well-Being Index” carried out by market research group Gallup and healthcare consultancy Healthways.

These unflattering figures were extracted from Gallup’s daily tracking polls of over 350,000 people and the obesity rates were self-reported. Worse, the real obesity rate is closer to one-third of the population, says Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Washington-based non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest, as people tend to underestimate their own body weight.

Hungry American consumers appear to prefer Chicken McBites over McDonald’s healthier Apple Dippers. Same-store sales at McDonald’s in the U.S. surged 11% last month, reflecting the success of its new McBites,  which have more calories per serving than the long-standing Chicken McNuggets  – or the cheeseburgers. Company spokeswoman Ashlee Yingling says McDonald’s also offers customers healthy choices such as oatmeal, fruit like Apple Dippers, salads and grilled chicken wraps.

Making small changes can have a huge impact, says Elizabeth DeRobertis, a dietician at Scarsdale Medical Group; for instance, a customer who switches from a 560-calorie McCafé Frappé Mocha to regular coffee would lose over a pound per week. In 10 major metropolitan areas where people tend to eat out more often the obesity rate is even higher — pushing 35%, according to the Gallup/Healthways survey. Americans in those cities pay an estimated $1 billion more in healthcare costs, the study says. Those rates are likely closer to 40% to 45%, says Wootan.

Read more:

Why Nutritionists Can’t Eat Fast-Food Profits

Critics Round On Ronald McDonald

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    • Bakery-style bun, eh? Just another one of those mapartingseekk phrases that drives me bonkers because it means, in essence, nothing. Somehow throwing the word bakery in there seems to give the burger cachet, but please it’s still a fast-food patty on a roll, right?I’m with you on this one.Feh.

    • News flash — the hamburger meat at Whole Foods has the same number of calories as the meat in fast food burgers. We’re staying away from Whole Foods.

    • we seniors luv breakfast at McD’s.

    • How can people be thin today when no one cooks anymore, and for good reason. Both spouses usually have to work, and everyone is so stressed out they don’t have time to fix a decent meal.

      Further, McDonald’s food is rife with high calories. In fact, recently, in order to gain weight I deliberately eat at McDonald’s now and again.

      The new Angus Bacon Burger, which I order without the salt has a whopping 750 calories! This is ideal for me because I need to gain weight. But, you figure that if someone is supposed to stay with 1500 to 2000 calories a day to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight and they eat one of these Angus Burgers, they are in big trouble.

      McDonald’s ought to offer a lower calorie menu and even some foods from their choices in other countries.
      But, the sad fact remains, McDonald’s wouldn’t be able to sell their 750 calorie Angus Burgers if the public didn’t demand them!

      And, that’s the key. It’s like cigarettes. If people didn’t want to smoke anymore, the cigarette companies could just whistle Dixie. But, we all know that’s not the case!

      So, Americans are overweight now more than every before because they don’t get enough sleep, eat out way too much, are too stressed out and don’t take time for exercise.

      Further, America is a society of excess where bigger is better. In France, people eat heavier, richer and fattier foods than in America, but they slow down when they eat and savor every delicious bite. Therefore they are slim. They are not just gobbling food like a vacuum cleaner like they do in America!

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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