McDonald’s and Their Warped Sense of Reality

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I was on Facebook the other day and saw fellow blogger Karen Anderson posted a link about McDonald’s new drink for kids. I opened the link and read the post. Absolutely unbelievable.

It seems that McDonald’s is introducing a new drink, called Fruitizz, as a way for kids to help meet their requirements of fruits for the day.


The article I read quoted McDonald’s President Jill McDonald saying,

“We are thrilled to be unveiling Fruitizz, a refreshing fizzy fruit juice drink that will help parents give children one of their five-a-day. For the past three years, we have been working hard behind the scenes to create a fizzy drink that is unlike anything else currently available in high street restaurants. We tried and tested 80 formulations in order to create the right product that delivers nutritional benefit as well as a new, exciting taste.”

Like so many things in life – if it seems too good to be true then it probably is, and this is no exception. Turns out that a 250 ml cup (or about a small size) has about 25 grams of sugar and about 100 calories. That in no way is a healthy drink for kids (or any of us) and that much sugar is ridiculous.

Some other foods have the following amounts of sugar:

  • 12 ounce Coke – 39 grams, 140 calories
  • Regular size Snicker bar – 30 grams, 280 calories
  • One Pop-Tart – 17 grams, 200 calories
  • Eggo Waffles, plain – 2 grams, 180 calories
  • Apple, 1 cup slices -11 grams, 57 calories
  • Cantaloupe, 1 cup – 13 grams, 54 calories

There are so many better choices for our kids (and ourselves) than fizzy drinks that are disguised as “healthy.”

Although we cannot lay the obesity crisis on McDonald’s doorstep, these kinds of messages really can be confusing to people. Although those of us that are interested in healthy living know that a Fruitizz drink for kids is not the ideal choice, I guarantee you that there are those people who honestly do not know that. Every time I teach a class or counsel someone on losing weight, I’m surprised at what they do not know. Basic things like what is a whole grain, whether a fruit popscicle is the same as a piece of fruit, that skim milk has no fat, or that skinless chicken is leaner than a fried hamburger.

These types of promotions from restaurants that people know and trust can be detrimental to the obesity crisis and to the health of our children. I wrote McDonald’s through their contact page and I’d encourage you to do the same. Let them know we are not fooled and it is not okay to mislead unsuspecting parents and children too young to understand.

What’s your take on these types of unhealthy foods and drinks that are advertised as “healthy?” Diane

24 thoughts on “McDonald’s and Their Warped Sense of Reality

  1. Sharon says:

    Although these two aren’t exactly related, I’m still very upset over Weight Watchers recent endorsement of some McDonald’s menu items. And now this! There is no good solution here. The food industry (and now I even place some blame on WW) will continue to entice with these types of products and promotions as long as we refuse to take personal responsibility and keep allowing ourselves to be totally dumbed-down! It’s shocking, scaring, but most of all, sad!

  2. E. Jane says:

    We are truly a “fast food nation,” and unfortunately the McDonald’s of the world are constantly trying to keep us coming, and they have been very successful! Fast food has become a way of life for the many families who infrequently sit down to a family dinner with regular food. It’s unfortunate that the fast food restaurants advertise in such a way that parents will think this drink is actually providing a fruit serving for their child, and most people will not give it much thought. It’s no wonder that we’re a nation with an obesity problem that continues to grow. They hook kids at a young age, and they have a customer forever!

  3. Trish @I_am_Succeeding says:

    Yeah this upsets me as a Mom to 3 kiddos that now they will think they have a healthy alternative at the golden arches and no doubt the advertising will hit hard this summer with kids out of school.

    It makes our job as parents harder to help them see the true healthy but it is doable…especially by our own personal example.

    I do not think marketing such as this will go away. Who better to aim to then the next generation…the impressionable ones.

  4. vickie says:

    McD’s Wild Berry Smoothie (12 fl oz cup)
    Calories 210
    Total Fat 0.5g 1%
    Carbohydrates 48g 16%
    Protein 2g
    Sodium 25mg 1%
    A bright mix of strawberry, blackberry and blueberry blended to perfection with ice and creamy low fat yogurt.

    When I looked at the 48g of carbs in the smoothie,
    I thought, that is a shake in disguise, but it isn’t:

    McD’s Strawberry McCafé Shake (12 fl oz cup)
    Calories 570
    Total Fat 17g 26%
    Carbohydrates 92g 31%
    Protein 11g
    Sodium 170mg 7%
    Creamy reduced fat ice cream with strawberry flavored deliciousness—topped off with whipped cream and a cherry.

    I could not find information on the specific yogurt in the smoothie (if it is plain or has added sugar).

  5. John says:

    From the article: “McDonald’s said the drink contains no added sugars, artificial colours or flavours and blends 60 per cent fruit juice from grapes, apples and raspberries with natural sparkling water, giving one of the five-a-day portions.”

    I guess you need to know the ingredients. Sure, it contains fruit and carbon dioxide, but what else does it contain? Maybe a bunch of emulsifiers and predigestors and what not. But it doesn’t contain sugar. That’s good. I don’t really have a problem with it, if the number of ingredients is less than say, 5 or 6. As for lack of knowledge about food, everybody is lacking knowledge about something. One third of Americans don’t believe in plate tectonics.

  6. Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count says:

    Places like McDonald’s are dangerous, but it’s not just them as you say, Diane. We were coming out of a local diner on Mother’s Day. I saw a family coming out with a toddler, maybe 3 or 4. He looked a healthy weight. but the five family members were all overweight. I even turned to my husband and said “that child doesn’t have a chance.” It’s so sad, that so many parents either don’t understand or just don’t care.

  7. Jody - Fit at 54 says:

    VERY FRUSTRATING Diane! Thx for sharing this!!! Watching The Weight of the Nation on HBO, these sugary drinks are the #1 reason they say for obesity – and it makes sense! Soda, sweetened tea that people don’t take the time to realize the calories & sugar init, juices and more!

  8. Sarah says:

    I really hate the misinformation. I never trust anything that claims to be healthy or natural. All those words are misleading, it’s the health halo effect. Unfortunately we have to take time to read labels and nutritional facts to make sure we know what’s in our food. The US has some the worst food regulations because of agribusiness and their wealthy lobbyist. We need definitions of words like health and natural, limited food advertising to children (does anyone else get annoyed by the hidden valley ranch commercials), etc.

  9. Alayna says:

    Thanks so much for adding the Mcdonald’s contact link. I just sent them a message about my unhappiness with their new ‘healthy’ drink for kids.

  10. C says:

    I don’t see what is so terrible about this product. Sure it is not as good as skim milk or water but for an occasional treat it looks like its not more harmful than the soda that is sold right next to it. Also if it is fruit juce then there is at least some nutritional benefit from it compared to soda. The article had the numbers for a large drink. I would object to getting a large drink for a child. The small at 100 cal is more likely what would come with a child’s meal. Like others have said, compare this to other resturants. At least they have their nutritional stuff out in the open and online. It may not be the best option but it is certainly not the worse thing a FF company puts out there. I was more shocked by the breakfast wrap at the end of the article that is over 500 cal.

    • Janis says:

      The issue is that anything is acceptable if it’s an occasional treat. A jar of nutella bought and consumed every six months is also acceptable.

      I think the biggest problem is that it’s just a drink, and an overly sweetened one. Drinking calories tends to get them into people without them even realizing, and a 100-calorie-a-day deficit can spell real weight loss. And … just in general, everything in the universe doesn’t have to taste like a candy bar. We’re at the point right now as a society where our tongues are so deadened that if something doesn’t taste like pre-chewed liquid sex, we don’t even register it anymore.

  11. Donna says:

    Take any restaurant and order of the menu and you are probably going to get more fat, sugar, carbs and calories than you think you are getting. Even when trying to make good choices off the menu, questions need to be asked. If you order scrambled egg white and they scramble them in butter or saturated fat then that choice is really not a good choice. If you order a salad and they cover it in a creamy /oily dressing again that is not a good choice. This fruity drink that McDonald’s is selling is not the best choice, but if someone is taking their child to McDonald’s to eat it may be a better choice. The fact that they are at McDonald’s says “you could have made a better choice” Thanks for the information.

  12. marie says:

    What’s wrong with water? I always get water and get it for the kids as well. But we rarely eat out and never go to McDonalds (except for ice cream) so it doesn’t affect me.

    I always put responsibility on parents. Buyer Beware. McDonalds is a business, they are not trying to better your health.

  13. nan @ lbddiaries says:

    Many a company has gotten away with that word “added” – no added sugars. In advertising, that means they aren’t telling your how much was in it before it wasn’t added to. Advertisers have been very creative in getting around the entire truth. I’ve been very shocked at the things I’ve learned over the past 5 or so years. Sneaky, sneaky. You have to be far wiser than they are in order to survive! Most people do not have the time and means to do the amount of research it takes to discover knowledge to eat right. How can they ever eat healthy without knowledge? And most are led astray by pretty fluffy advertising and will never believe some old boring scientist. I know I was so shocked and naive, “They’ve LIED to us.” Duh – money talks.

  14. nan @ lbddiaries says:

    OH and p.s. – to answer another commentor’s question up there – it is a fizzy fruit juice DRINK – not juice. Anything called “drink”, “beverage”, “punch,” “-ade,” “cocktail,” or “delight”, usually contain very little fruit juice. In fact, these products mainly contain sugar and water and color. They rarely contain the potassium, B vitamins and other nutrients naturally present in 100% fruit juice..

    It is not squeezed juice out of fruit, and it probably has less nutritional value than a glass of cola. One article said a cup contains 12 teaspoons of sugar. A McDonald’s spokesman said: “It is very duifficult to reduce the calorie content of fruit jiuce without introducng artificial sweeteners.”

  15. Dr. J says:

    Same as yours, Diane!

    I don’t recommend eating the whole natural food when it comes to meat 🙂 but with fruit, eating the whole natural food is the only way!

  16. Taryl says:

    It’s about as natural as anyone else at that restaurant! LOL

    Still, I agree with you the advertising is a bit deceptive, to say the least. Parents need to educate themselves on healthy diets for their children. On the occasions we go to McDonald’s (maybe once every two months?) might I get the kids this to go with their nuggets as opposed to their normal ‘juice’ (hiC)? Maybe! But it isn’t supposed to be healthy and I have no illusions about that. It is a rare treat we have when we’re out of the house and not the foundation of a healthy diet for them or any other kid. If anyone is going to McDonald’s for their health I would question what it is that they’re replacing that is awful enough to make that place look decent!

  17. Leah says:

    This whole subject leads me back to one of my “feeling old” pet peeves of why do we have to change things up; but, in this case, especially when it’s no different than the prior offerings?? This new fizzy drink is soda in a different label. That’s all.

    It’s sad to think people really can’t see that and think they are doing better for their children.

  18. Holly from 300 Pounds Down says:

    Wow Diane!! Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Isn’t that crazy? I have to admit that while I’ve been losing weight and focusing on myself I’m not sure I’ve done enough to change how I’m feeding my children. Just b/c my kids dont have a weight problem doesn’t mean it’s good for me to feed them Happy Meals and Coke on a regular basis. Even if you’re thin, that’s no excuse to consume a drink with 25 grams of sugar b/c there are other health problems that can come of it aside from weight gain! And I have to say I couldn’t wait to see if I’d win the contest…I had to order your book on my own and I’m tracking it right now hahaha…Can’t wait to read it!!!!!

  19. La. says:

    I just assume that anything from McDonalds is unhealthy and nasty. I don’t think any mother goes there because they think it is healthy. Clearly this fizzy drink IS healthier than soda which is how they should brand it instead of “healthy.”

  20. Crystal says:

    Humans have long been fascinated by the make up of physical reality..Thanks for sharing this kind of post..

  21. Mama Vega says:

    Unfortunately, too many people think because this Fruitfizz has a little bit of fruit, it’s not that bad. That is the problem! Saying it is not as bad as a soda is still comparing it to something that is bad for you. How about the reverse, it is not as good for you as … The later is what we need to be wording to children and reinforcing. These companies buckle under consumer pressure and the problem is not ENOUGH pressure is being exerted continuously and relentlessly to make them change. They do not give up so neither should we!

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