McDonald’s is marketing a line of new kale salads in Canada as a healthy lunch option.
One problem: The salads can have more calories, fat, and sodium than a Big Mac.
The marketing around the salads emphasizes health and nutrition. The Caesar Salad with Crispy Chicken bowl promises that “4 Servings Of Vegetables Never Tasted So Good” and encourages diners to “get your greens on.” On the McDonald website the salad is bill as “delicious” with a “nutrient-rich lettuce blend with baby kale.”
As first reported by the CBC, however, the Caesar Salad With Crispy Chicken And Asiago Caesar Dressing salad has more calories (730) than a Big Mac (680). It also has more fat and sodium and less protein.
It’s not uncommon for fast food chains like McDonald’s to market their products as healthy choices without actually improving their nutritional value. This deceptive marketing underscores the potential benefits of calorie labeling at chain restaurants — something that is required under Obamacare.
The rules, which were scheduled to go into effect at the end of last year, were delayed after a major campaign by restaurant lobbyists. Restaurants and other establishments serving prepared foods now have until December 1, 2016 to comply, unless the rules are delayed again.
A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association found that the Obamacare labeling provision “will likely encourage some consumers to eat more healthfully some of the time, and the policy is likely an important first step toward improving the public’s eating habits.” Some studies in New York and other cities that have calorie labeling found that it results in people consuming fewer calories.
McDonald’s has been one of the chains that’s more open to posting calorie counts. The provision is opposed more vigorously by the pizza industry.