McDonald’s Manages To Make Oatmeal Unhealthy

McDonald's oatmealHere’s a trick question: How many ingredients are there in oatmeal?

One, right? OK, even if you count the oats and the water, that’s two. So… two at most, right?

Not when you get oatmeal at McDonald’s.

The fast-food chain, noted for making food that is very bad for you, has recently added oatmeal to its menu as a healthy option for customers in the United States*.

But unlike regular oatmeal, McDonald’s oatmeal is bad for you.

According to a recent article by author Mark Bittman in the New York Times newspaper, McDonald’s oatmeal has more than a dozen ingredients.

What are they, you ask?

First is the oatmeal itself, which is made up of seven different ingredients including “natural flavour.”

Next, they add “cream.” Unfortunately, McDonald’s “cream,” which should be just cream, is actually made of seven ingredients and only two of those are dairy products.

They add brown sugar unless you ask them not to add it. And they add a lot of sugar—in fact, there is more sugar in McDonald’s oatmeal than in a Snicker’s chocolate bar.

Then they add some dried fruit: apples, cranberries and raisins. The dried fruit is pretty good for you.

As the New York Times article points out that’s: oatmeal, cream, dried fruit, sugar and a bunch of “weird ingredients you’d never keep in your kitchen.”

Not only is McDonald’s oatmeal bad for you, but it’s expensive. One of the good things about normal oatmeal is that it is very cheap to buy. Oats don’t cost very much money, and they’re quite filling so you get a lot of nutrition for your money. A package of oatmeal would cost you about 50 cents.

However, at McDonald’s one serving of oatmeal will cost you $2.38 a serving, which is more than they charge for a double-cheeseburger.

*Oatmeal is not currently available at McDonald’s locations in Canada.

Related Link
Read Mark Bittman’s original article in The New York Times.


Writing/Discussion Prompt
If someone walked into McDonald’s, they might order the oatmeal because they would assume that it is a healthy choice.  They wouldn’t know it was bad for them unless they had read this article or they had heard from another source. 

Do you think McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants should have to clearly post signs telling their customers the ingredients and nutritional value of their food? 

Reading Prompt
In writing, “voice” is how you “speak” on paper.  It is how your personality and ideas come across to the reader. 

The journalist who wrote this article has a strong “voice.”  What do you know about her personality and her feelings towards McDonald’s from reading this article?  How does the journalist’s “voice” help you to understand this text?

Identify various elements of style – including word choice and the use of similes, personification, comparative adjectives, and sentences of different types, lengths, and structures – and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.4)

Identify some simple elements of style, including voice, word choice, and different types of sentences, and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.4)

Grammar Feature: Rhetorical Questions
In this article, the journalist wrote a lot of questions.  These questions are called “rhetorical questions” because the journalist doesn’t actually expect you to answer her. If the journalist doesn’t expect you to answer her questions, why do you think she wrote them?  If she had changed the questions into statements do you think your interest in the article would have changed?