when is oatmeal not really oatmeal, or, why mcdonald's is always crap, no matter what they claim

Q. How do you take a nutritious, pure, easy-to-prepare food and turn it into garbage?

A. Ask the experts: McDonald's.

In this excellent little piece, Mark Bittman deconstructs McDonald's self-described "bowl full of wholesome", which in reality contains 11 not-food ingredients, more sugar than a candy bar, and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald's cheeseburger.

This is a perfect example of so much that's wrong with the industrial food chain, how advertising lies, and why fast food should be avoided. And if you need some ideas for quick, nutritious breakfasts, Bittman has those, too.
How To Make Oatmeal... Wrong

by Mark Bittman

There’s a feeling of inevitability in writing about McDonald’s latest offering, their “bowl full of wholesome” — also known as oatmeal. The leading fast-food multinational, with sales over $16.5 billion a year (just under the GDP of Afghanistan), represents a great deal of what is wrong with American food today. From a marketing perspective, they can do almost nothing wrong; from a nutritional perspective, they can do almost nothing right, as the oatmeal fiasco demonstrates.

One “positive” often raised about McDonald’s is that it sells calories cheap. But since many of these calories are in forms detrimental rather than beneficial to our health and to the environment, they’re actually quite expensive — the costs aren’t seen at the cash register but in the form of high health care bills and environmental degradation.

Oatmeal is on the other end of the food spectrum. Real oatmeal contains no ingredients; rather, it is an ingredient. As such, it’s a promising lifesaver: oats are easy to grow in almost any non-extreme climate and, minimally processed, they’re profoundly nourishing, inexpensive and ridiculously easy to cook. They can even be eaten raw, but more on that in a moment.

Like so many other venerable foods, oatmeal has been roundly abused by food marketers for more than 40 years. Take, for example, Quaker Strawberries and Cream Instant Oatmeal, which contains no strawberries, no cream, 12 times the sugars of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and only half of the fiber. At least it’s inexpensive, less than 50 cents a packet on average. (A serving of cooked rolled oats will set you back half that at most, plus the cost of condiments; of course, it’ll be much better in every respect.)

The oatmeal and McDonald’s story broke late last year, when Mickey D’s, in its ongoing effort to tell us that it’s offering “a selection of balanced choices” (and to keep in step with arch-rival Starbucks) began to sell the cereal. Yet in typical McDonald’s fashion, the company is doing everything it can to turn oatmeal into yet another bad choice. (Not only that, they’ve made it more expensive than a double-cheeseburger: $2.38 per serving in New York.) “Cream” (which contains seven ingredients, two of them actual dairy) is automatically added. . .

. . . Here’s the thing: McDonald’s wants to get people in the store. Once a day, once a week, once a month, the more the better, of course, but routinely. And if you buy oatmeal, they’re o.k. with that. But they know that, once inside, you’ll probably opt for a sausage biscuit anyway.

And you won’t be much worse off.

Read it here. And don't ever buy what they're selling - not just the products, but the lies behind them.

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