The food guide according to McDonald's

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Responding to criticism that its food is unhealthy, McDonald's has recently published a series of brochures in which it wants to show that it is a responsible company.

One of these brochures, entitled "Für eine ausgewogene Ernährung Ihres Kindes" ("A well-balanced diet for your child") contains a couple of interesting details.

I was quite impressed by the food guide pyramid on page 7, and especially the positions that various McDonald's products have been allocated in it. French fries, for example, appear in the "bread, flour, grains, potatoes and pasta" category (of which a lot should be eaten) rather than in the "butter and oil" category (of which very little should be eaten); this despite the fact that a medium portion of fries contains almost twice as much fat (17g) as a hamburger (9g). I'm actually fairly sure that the food guide pyramid designers did not have fries in mind when they added those potatoes.

Second interesting design choice in this diagram: they use a bottle of mineral water as an example for a drink; I daresay that mineral water is one of the less frequently sold beverages at McDonald's. I can't even blame them for not listing Coke in the brochure at all; after all, the brochure's title is "a well-balanced diet".

It's probably for the same reason that only the small portion of fries is mentioned in the brochure, which also does not show any obnoxious employees trying to supersize your meal.

Speaking of supersizing, the brochure suggests four "well-balanced" meals for children, which have 580, 425, 215 and 295 kcal respectively. A supersized Big Mac menu with ketchup has 1210 kcal.

Still, it's quite impossible to say they're not telling the truth. Page 9 contains a particularly true statement: "Fresh fruit, wholemeal bread and low-fat dairy products are ideal energy sources between meals."

Can't argue with that.

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Strange sort of food pyramid. It looks like they put the milk in with the meat and fish, instead of in a separate dairy section. It's probably okay to have a small serving of fries included in the bread and starch group, but what are those sugary looking beverages doing on the bottom? Left to right, the first four look like a cola beverage, Hawaiian punch, orange juice, and cocoa. Or are these things grape juice, tomato juice, oj, coffee, water and tea? I think only water should be on the bottom.

I googled food pyramids, and found about 50 million of them:

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