On Friday night, the Hubby and I were driving home from dinner, when I spotted this lovely little gem on the highway, beckoning to all who passed. No surprise here, it infuriated the crap out of me. In honor of this picture and my title, I’m going to keep today’s post to 1,000 words, since it gives me plenty of time to rant without going full-blown crazy.
This billboard is basically saying “Come eat our McMuffin which only has 300 calories. With numbers this low, you might as well eat it everyday for breakfast.” Is that what you see too, or did you actually read “eye-opener. 300 calories.” In any event, the trap has been set and the bait is hooked. I take issue with this evil advertisement (yes evil), and here’s why:
- For starters, this is the lowest calorie breakfast sandwich on the menu. A simple swap to sausage ups your caloric intake to 450, and if you decide to have it on a biscuit instead, well then you’re at 510 calories, bearing in mind this is only for the regular size sandwich. Let’s say you stick with the McMuffin, but add on a hash brown and some OJ, because this little bitty sandwich is not going to fill you up for any length of time, then you’re at a whopping 640 calories (more than double the advertisement, which lured you in from the start). It’s shameless marketing, and you could get a heck of a lot more bang for your buck. For 300 calories, you could whip up a two egg omelette with basil, tomatoes, feta and kalmata olives. This was my Sunday breakfast, and I would choose it over the McMuffin any day of the week. The omelette was super tasty and served as great fuel for the day, whereas the McMuffin might have tasted good, but would have left me feeling lethargic, lackluster and basically comatose on the couch. Not to mention nauseous.
- My other problem with this ad, other than the likely possibility you’ll end up consuming significantly more than 300 calories, is the type of calories you’re eating. The Egg McMuffin is essentially composed of salt, saturated fat (the BAD kind: Dun, Dun, Dun), and sugar. Just to show how fair and open-minded I am (snort), let’s talk about the nutritional benefits of the Egg McMuffin. It actually has some protein (18 grams), a decent amount of calcium (30% of your Daily Value (DV)), Iron (20% DV), Vitamin A (10% DV), and 2 grams of Fiber (8% DV). That’s it for the good stuff. However, you will get 24% of you Daily Value of Saturated Fat, 34% of your DV for Sodium (Salt), and 87% of your DV for Cholesterol. Ouch, and this is their regular lowest calorie breakfast sandwich. Diets heavy on these types of calories can increase your chance of weight gain, high blood pressure, cholesterol, stroke, diabetes, cancer and the list goes on and on. And if you’re eating the McMuffin, you’re likely to continue eating this way since you’ve merely piqued your body’s nutritional needs (Tease). You’re going to be hungry a short time later, and since you’ll be too lethargic to do anything about it, you’ll opt for quick and easy. Fast food is a vicious cycle, a crazy crack whore, so put the sandwich down and walk away. You’ll be better off in the long run.
Just in case you need another reason why I despise this marketing ploy: all calories are not equal, not even a little bit, because our bodies handle processed and unprocessed carbohydrates differently. Research shows it takes twice as many calories to break down and digest good carbs. You are burning more calories by making the right choices. Sadly, it doesn’t get much more processed than the Golden Arches, which serves millions daily. Just in case you’re skeptical, let’s break down the McMuffin (hey, they threw it on a billboard, so it’s fair game in my book). At quick glance, this little baby has only 5 ingredients (English Muffin, Egg, Pasteurized Process American Cheese, Canadian Style Bacon, and Liquid Margarine). Only five ingredients, so it can’t be all bad, right? Wrong, because each one of these is really just a component of food (not actually a whole food unto itself because that would be normal). Below you can find a full list of these easily pronounceable, delicious, and nutritious sounding ingredients (I just choked on my own sarcasm), but in an effort to be brief, I’ll recap here. Let’s start with the liquid margarine. First off, they still sell margarine? I thought it was universally known as the devil, and liquid form…Eew. It’s made up of 15 ingredients (!), and is actually a unique and separate ingredient in the Egg and the English Muffin. The “LM” has literally seeped into every facet of this sandwich. The egg (why can’t an egg just be an egg) has only 2 ingredients until you factor in the 15 ingredients brought along by its pal, the wet she-devil (now it’s a female, and I have no idea why). The Canadian Bacon weighs in at 9 ingredients, while the Pasteurized Process American Cheese brings 14 to the party. The absolute kicker is the English Muffin, which when you exclude the liquid margarine (and it’s 15 ingredients), has 35 additional ingredients. Yes, in the English muffin alone, there are 50 ingredients (seriously we are giving the British a bad name). So, I’m going to be nice and not repeatedly count the 15 ingredients in liquid margarine (even though it repeatedly appears in the sandwich), the Classic McDonald’s Egg McMuffin has a whopping 75 ingredients. Still sound appetizing…
And I clocked in at just over 1,000 words, when you exclude the ridiculously long list of ingredients below, because those shouldn’t be counted against me.
Does this freak anyone else out too? Why is it ok to feed people this crap? Is it possible to make a quality and affordable food product (and I stress food) to sell to the general public?
The Actual Ingredients in an Egg McMuffin
Canadian Style Bacon: Pork, water, sugar, salt, sodium lactate, sodium phosphate, natural flavor (vegetable), sodium diacetate and sodium nitrite (preservatives).
Egg: USDA Grade A eggs, soy lecithin (release agent). Prepared with Liquid Margarine: Liquid soybean oil and hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color). CONTAINS: EGG AND SOY LECITHIN.
English Muffin: Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, wheat gluten, soybean oil and/or canola oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, citric acid, calcium citrate, yellow corn flour, corn meal, rice flour, barley malt, artificial flavors, natural flavors (botanical source), dough conditioners (ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, datem, tricalcium phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, calcium peroxide), calcium propionate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), soy lecithin. CONTAINS: WHEAT AND SOY LECITHIN. Prepared with Liquid Margarine: Liquid soybean oil and hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color). CONTAINS: SOY LECITHIN.
Liquid Margarine: Liquid soybean oil and hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color). CONTAINS: SOY LECITHIN.
Pasteurized Process American Cheese: Milk, water, milkfat, cheese culture, sodium citrate, salt, citric acid, sorbic acid (preservative), sodium phosphate, color added, lactic acid, acetic acid, enzymes, soy lecithin (added for slice separation). CONTAINS: MILK AND SOY LECITHIN.
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table says
OMG – that is an EPIC ingredient list. Love all of your points… and the sodium in that thing too must be at least a whole days allowance.