Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: McDonalds and Health?

Do you want to eat like an Olympian? Well according to a McDonald's commercial which aired constantly during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics now you can...by eating their food. You may remember the commercial stating, "Now you don't have to be an Olympic athlete to eat like one." Wait, really? Is McDonald's 'sweet chili sauce' really the fuel Olympians eat for performance? Although I wish there weren't two sides to this story, sadly I must confess there are.

In my experience eating in the dining hall at the Beijing Olympics, I've seen first hand that many athletes do in fact eat McDonalds. Some even eat it right before their events...I even know a couple personally (including ones who won medals). So it's evident McDonalds does have truth in their statement. I shall bear all truth, too, 'after' my Olympic events were over I too delved into some McDonalds. It was a rare treat however.

On the other hand most Olympic athletes do not eat at McDonalds during their competition schedule. In fact many athletes turn their nose up at the thought of it. While training to compete at high levels of sport can and sometimes does include infrequent fast food and junk, generally it does not.

Social responsibility. The 'appropriate' phrase which came to mind when I saw McDonald's Olympic commercial. Is it socially responsible to link healthy Olympic athletes to unhealthy, yet tasty food...and imply that by eating it you too can be like an Olympian? Obesity in America continues to break historic records. Companies like McDonalds continue to try and align themselves with health through special meal programs, and commercials like the one discussed here. In this case, McDonalds should be ashamed. Do they not realize the negative effect they're having on society? Just like some of you, there were some other thoughts that went through my mind when I saw their commercial...explicit ones!

The following tweet reignited my thoughts about the McDonald's Olympic commercial, which brings us to the Tuesday Tweet of the Week. The tweeter is a guy named Rich Roll who is an UltraMan. Rich is as fit as they come. Check out his website to learn more about the crazy races he undertakes.

@RichRoll "Weight Watchers deal with McDonalds!?! This enrages me. Just another way McD is co-opting American health. MUST READ http://bit.ly/agjd35"

What are your thoughts? Please let us know!


Hobbes said...

I occasionally eat McDonalds - to the tune of once every two years or more while traveling if there is literally nothing else in reasonable walking distance and someone else is driving. Without fail I end up with a massive stomach ache and just feel awful for the next four hours or so; I can't imagine choosing to eat there on a regular basis.

This is why I've started traveling with Clif bars ;)

Ashley said...

I honestly can't wrap my mind around those two words together. "McDonalds" and "health". It just doesn't compute for me, I guess.

I've lost much more weight NOT eating McDonalds...so there is no way I'd eat a "healthy" meal from there.

It might work in New Zealand...but let's hope it doesn't catch on here.

Interesting article, nonetheless.

Payam said...

Ashley, I don't really remember the ad, but I don't think McDonalds ever even mentioned the word health in their ad. I am pretty sure that is garretts word. Don't ge tme wrong, I havent had McDonalds in years, but I don't think they have done anything wrong here.

They are not saying "McDonalds is healthy." All they are saying is that Olympians eat McDonalds, (which is true) and using that as advertising.

Let's be realistic, a company needs to advertise their product. Whether it is a cigarette company, fast food company, or any other company, they have to advertise their product to make money. McDonalds is not going to come out and say, our food is unhealthy. They are just using the fact that their food is very popular amongst some of the biggest role models in the world to their advantage, and you can't blame them. If you were in their shoes, you wouldn't pass upon this once every 4 years opportunity either.

Garrett, I believe your post shouldnt be directed at McDonalds. Instead it should be to the athletes. You should be telling the athletes: "hey! we are role models to these kids. We are the people they look up to in terms of fitness, nutrition and health. We can't be going around bragging about how much McDonalds we eat. (I think we both know what swimmer I am referring to who had countless spotlights on him during the olympics about his consumption of McDonalds.) The change needs to come from the party who has the choice, and is making the wrong choice.

The McDonalds director of marketing, probably KNOWS that what he is doing is immoral, but has no choice because like everyone else, he has a job to do, otherwise he gets fired. He is taking advantage of an opportunity in front of him and you can't blame him. Blame your fellow athletes who are being the poor role models because they are the ones who have the money and access to other food options, but are making the wrong choice.

Ashley said...


Part of the first line of article states: "Weight Watchers has now officially endorsed Chicken McNuggets as a "healthy meal" in New Zealand..."

Payam said...

haha okay, well thats my bad.

But i still feel like the athletes need to take more responsibility.

I remember during the olympics in beijing, i was so frustrated that athletes were talking about how they ate mcdonalds 3 times a day.

Unknown said...

Seeing an athlete in McD, for me, that would be most disturbing. I wouldn't even call that food.

I see it here at work. People brag about how many times they go to the gym and then during lunch time they are heading to McD... I mean.. what's wrong with this picture?

I agree with Payam, that McD is more than keen on advertising, that Olympians eat there and it is up to the athletes, to change that image.

Here in Israel McD advertises a "healthy breakfast"... I can only shake my head and wonder.

Muu said...

Like the picture of you and the sweet potato. Good to eat sweet potatoes.

Kait said...

I've always wondered if Olympics athletes really do eat McDonald's like the commercials say. Very interesting. I have to admit, I loved McDonald's as a kid, but maybe it was the PlayPlace, the toy with your meal and the ice cream sundaes, but I'm not a huge fan of McDonald's anymore. Although I do have it every once in a blue moon nowadays, but usually I feel sick afterwards - lethargic and just a general gross feeling. When I think of McDonald's, I definitely don't think of it as healthy, especially after the way it makes me feel (although, I usually only get burgers and not chicken or fish, etc from McDonald's). But this is very interesting. Thanks Garrett! Awesome to see that the NY Times picked up on your blog!

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