Health, News

McDonald’s Posting Calorie Counts In U.S. Restaurants

McDonalds is one of the most successful restaurants of all time. As a result, their Golden arches are one of the most recognized symbols in the world. Image: McDonalds Canada

A typical, active kid should probably eat about 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day to stay healthy. (The exact number depends on a person’s gender, age and daily exercise level.)

But let’s say, 1,900.

Now let’s say that kid decides to buy her lunch at McDonald’s; maybe have a Big Mac and large fries.

Starting this week in the U.S., McDonald’s restaurants will show the calorie counts of each of their menu items—right up on the big menu board at the front of the restaurant.

The Egg McMuffin is one of the many popular breakfast sandwiches at McDonalds. Image: McDonalds Canada

That kid may change her mind about what to order when she does some quick math and figures out that her meal will total more than 1,000 calories: over half the calories she should be eating all day. And that’s without a drink.

More than 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States will make the change to their menu boards.

They’re making the change voluntarily, in advance of a law that’s slated for a year from now, that will make it mandatory for U.S. restaurants with more than 20 outlets to post calorie counts.

McDonald’s already posts calorie counts in its restaurants in Australia, South Korea and the UK. The state of California and some American cities including New York and Philadelphia already have the law in place.

There are 1,400 McDonald’s restaurants in Canada.

McDonald’s Canada offers an app for smart phones, on which people can get nutritional information about their meals. Image: McDonalds Canada

There is no calorie legislation scheduled for Canada. In any case, “people in Canada are more used to the nutrition facts table,” says Louis Payette, national media relations manager for McDonald’s Canada. He said Canadians want more than just calorie counts–they want to know how much fibre, sodium, sugar and fat are in their food as well. He said McDonald’s Canada is working with Canadian governments to “develop a made-in-Canada solution.”

He said McDonald’s has changed its menu in the past few years to give people healthier options.

“More grilled chicken products, new real fruit smoothies… people have more portion sizes to choose from as well,” said Payette. “There is something for everyone and people make the decisions based on their dietary needs. One day they’ll have a Big Mac and fries and another day they’ll have a premium salad with grilled chicken.”


By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
How do you think the new law requiring restaurants to post calories affected McDonald’s? Why do you think they decided to post calories before the new law went into effect?

Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating Text
The author of today’s text says that a kid who sees the nutritional information of a menu item at McDonald’s may change their mind about what they order. Do you think this is true? Why or why not?

Express personal opinions about ideas presented in texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Grammar Feature: Elipses
Elipses are a punctuation mark that can mean a few different things. One of the things that ellipses can be used for is to skip information. For example, in today’s article, ellipses are used to take the place of some things Louis said. The author wanted to skip to the next thing he said.

“More grilled chicken products, new real fruit smoothies… people have more portion sizes to choose from as well,” said Payette.

In this case, a writer cannot simply skip parts of a quote; they must use ellipses to show what they’ve done, and that there were words not included.

Why would an author use ellipses in this way instead of simply including the full quote?