Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Big Challenge Facing McDonald's

After reading about McDonald's official announcement to cut out trans-fat, I recalled a story I had heard about their initial announcement to look into the issue. But I couldn't find a news report until now, so here you go.

Back in 2002, McDonald's said they would start looking at ways to reduce trans-fats from their fries. Almost immediately, customers started calling in and complaining about the new taste,
reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in January. The problem, of course, is that McDonald's hadn't changed anything -- yet. Of course, the official announcement came yesterday.

Trans-fat gives foods a more appealing texture. Unfortunately, they also boost bad cholesterol and cut the good stuff. This represent's such a serious health danger, that
New York City moved to ban the stuff from restaurants last fall.

Since so much of McDonald's reputation is based on its fries, its work is cut out for it. As I mentioned in
yesterday's post, fry sales in Denmark dropped after McDonald's cut trans-fat, and they never recovered.

Would that be a bad thing? Of course not. Hopefully, people will find other, more nutrient-rich sources of calories.

On a side note: In
an article on the challenge's chefs face in New York under the new ban, they note that trans fat was first introduced in 1911 by our friends at Crisco. Why did it take almost a century to ban them if they're so bad? It's because trans fat didn't become a "staple of the American diet" until the "rise of fast food" in the 70s.

On another interesting side note: Crisco originally introduced a trans-fat free shortening in 2004, but it was pulled back because of "production and performance problem."
It wasn't until this year that they tried again.


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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.