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The Physicians Committee



Over 1 Million Served: PCRM’s Commercial Targeting McDonald’s Goes Viral

PCRM’s new “Consequences” ad, which takes aim at McDonald’s high-fat menu, racked up more than 1 million views on YouTube in just days last month. The provocative ad was also covered by newspapers and broadcast media across the world, including The Wall Street Journal, U.K.’s The Guardian, CNN, The New York Times, and hundreds of other media outlets from Germany to China.

“Our nation’s addiction to Big Macs and other high-fat fast food is literally breaking our hearts,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., PCRM’s nutrition education director. “PCRM’s commercial tackles heart disease head-on by educating millions of people about the dangers of fast food.”

How unhealthy is the McDonald’s menu? The world’s largest fast-food chain serves a long list of high-fat, high-cholesterol items and offers almost no healthful choices. Even many McDonald’s items that consumers may believe are healthful—salads, for example—are generally high in calories, fat, and sodium.

The Big Mac, the chain’s signature sandwich, packs a walloping 540 calories and 29 grams of fat—but it is hardly the most unhealthful item on the menu. Here are five McDonald’s menu items with more fat and calories than a Big Mac:

  • Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese: 42 grams of fat, 740 calories, 155 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,380 milligrams of sodium
  • Angus Bacon and Cheese: 39 grams of fat, 790 calories, 145 milligrams of cholesterol, 2,070 milligrams of sodium
  • Sausage Biscuit with Egg (Large Size Biscuit): 37 grams of fat, 570 calories, 250 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,280 milligrams of sodium
  • Premium Southwest Salad with Crispy Chicken and Ranch Dressing: 35 grams of fat, 600 calories, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,450 milligrams of sodium
  • McSkillet Burrito with Sausage: 36 grams of fat, 610 calories, 410 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,390 milligrams of sodium

Studies, including one from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, show that people who consume fast food are at a higher risk of obesity, a key risk factor for heart disease. Regular consumption of high-fat, high-cholesterol foods increases the risk of heart disease, and studies have found that even a single fatty meal can raise blood pressure, stiffen major arteries, and cause the heart to beat harder.

The commercial will air in fast-food addicted cities with high rates of heart disease over the following months.

To read more about the dangers of fast food, visit PCRM.org/Health.




Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.


PCRM Online, October 2010

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