It is possible, in some hospitals across the nation, to order fast food straight to your hospital room from fast food restaurants that are on the hospital campus. You might find your hospital on the list that was compiled by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles has a McDonald’s that will feed your sick children, if you so desire.
But exactly how outrageous is this, really? McDonald’s recently has been getting a black eye for the quality of the meats that it serves. It has long been in the spotlight over the quality of the food, mostly because of the high fat content and the fact that hamburger is red meat. Well, I don’t fear natural saturated fats or red meat either.
As far as I am concerned, the problem with McDonald’s is where they get their meat, from industrial meat producers who feed grain instead of natural forage. The other problem is that most of the calories in a McDonald’s meal are carbohydrates. The sugar in the drink, sucrose or high fructose, makes no difference, they are both fattening. The flour in the hamburger bun is fattening. The potatoes in the french fries or hash browns are fattening. The oil they use these days to fry everything is unproven and untested on it’s effects on heart health.
I am not too happy that hospital food is being replaced by McDonald’s food. However, hospital food is not a lot better. The meal will be low-fat, which means high carbohydrate. The meats will likewise be inexpensive cuts that are from the industrial meat production system. There will be a sweet dessert. The drink will be sweetened. The only difference in the two in my opinion is that one has been approved by an in-house nutritionist. I wouldn’t eat either of these choices, if given a choice. None of the food options on the entire hospital campus are what I would choose, which would be a local salad, along side a local meat entree, washed down with a glass of room temperature water.
It’s fashionable and easy to pick on fast food like Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A. Picking on them will have an effect. Fast food in Europe is WAY healthier than it is here, where it was invented. British fast food features organic milk, local meats and vegetables. French McDonald’s menu is unrecognizable–no buns, grass fed beef, real cheese (not pasteurized processed cheese food product). Here is how NPR describes it:
And if you like good meat (who doesn’t?!), then McDonald’s France is clearly superior. In the U.S., McDonald’s says its cattle are mostly corn-fed. While the company doesn’t address on its site whether growth hormones and growth-promoting antibiotics are added to the animal feed consumed by the animals it buys, it’s a reasonable assumption that they are.
French cattle are all grass fed, which many argue makes them tastier. Growth hormones are illegal here and each animal has a passport showing where it was born, raised, and slaughtered, according to McDonald’s France. That’s called traceability, and we don’t yet have such a national system in place.
So, go ahead and complain about McDonalds and other fast foods, but complain about the right things. A healthy hamburger is a possibility, but if we think healthy food is just low-fat, high carb, then fast food will never be anything but fattening, and it won’t matter if its the hospital cafeteria or a fast food restaurant is feeding your family in the hospital, its all fattening and unhealthy.
So – what we really need to do in this country is to get the kind of regulation that European governments obviously have: requiring cattle to be grass-fed, making growth hormones illegal — in other words, regulating the entire industry. McDonald’s is only doing what every corporation in America is doing: making the biggest buck for themselves by doing the cheapest thing that the American public – and our government – will allow.