McDonald's Nutritionist Cindy Goody: Our Food Is Healthy

03/29/2013 04:37pm ET
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 19: A McDonald's quarterpounder and a large order of french fries is seen June 19, 2003 in Miami, Florida. News reports say that In response to warnings that use of antibiotics on U.S. farms is making the drugs less effective for treating people, the fast-food chain is directing some meat suppliers to stop using antibiotic growth promoters altogether and encouraging others to cut back. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Just days before a study from the Center for Science in the Public Interest lambasted fast food restaurants for the nutritional failures of their children's meals, McDonald's director of nutrition, Cindy Goody, defended the chain's menu offerings as healthy.

"We're making nutrition more mainstream at McDonald's today," Goody told The Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday. She noted that in the past few years, McDonald's has added oatmeal dishes, chicken sandwiches with buns that boast 8 grams of whole grains and a new Happy Meal with apples and a smaller portion of fries. Chocolate milk, once 1 percent fat, is now fat-free.

"All of that came from careful listening to moms in particular and recognizing people are becoming more mindful about what they're putting in their mouth," she said.

Goody went on to declare that processed food could "absolutely" be healthy, offering up examples from her own diet:

I'm a mom of a 2-year-old and I gained the prerequisite [sic] 30 pounds and I was able to lose all that baby weight. I don't have a fast metabolism and I eat at McDonald's once or twice a day. Really. Plus I work out the recommended 5 hours a week. I may eat an Egg McMuffin and apples. My new thing is to have either a hamburger or a double hamburger, no cheese, two bags of apple slices and an oatmeal cookie and still keeping it under 600 calories.

Goody spoke to the Tribune as part of McDonald's promotion of its new McWrap line. Earlier this week, Advertising Age wrote about an internal McDonald's memo that referred to the McWrap has a "Subway buster"; McDonald's hopes to chip away at its rival's popularity with millennial customers. Depending on whether one chooses grilled or deep-fried chicken, the wraps range from 360 to 600 calories.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest study, Subway's eight children's offerings are exceptions to the usual fast food fare for kids. All met the center's nutrition criteria; kid-sized subs at Subway come with apple slices; and low-fat milk or bottled water is offered in place of soda.

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