McDonald's to Halt Supersized Food Portions
Supersized Fries and Drinks to Be Phased Out
March 3, 2004 -- The question, "Would you like to supersize
that?" may soon become a thing of the past. Fast food giant McDonald's says
it's phasing out the supersized french fry and drink options from its menu.
The company says eliminating the supersized options is part of
an overall effort to pare down menu options and establish a national core menu
in all its U.S. restaurants by the end of the year. But McDonald's says the
supersized drink will continue to be available on a promotional basis.
Fast food chains have come under growing pressure in recent
years to offer healthier menu options to help combat the nation's obesity
epidemic. To that end, many companies -- including McDonald's -- have added
entrée salads and more fruits, vegetables, and other more nutritious side order
But the colossal 42-ounce, 410-calorie supersized soda and
7-ounce, 610-calorie supersized french fries have remained. For years, at the
price of only a few cents, customers could "supersize" their meal to
include the oversized portions, which are up to five times the recommended
Once the supersize phase out is complete, the largest french
fry size will be the large size, which weighs in at 6.2 ounces and has 540
calories and 26 grams of fat. The largest soft drink size will contain 32
ounces and 310 calories.
Supersized Move in the Right Direction
Nutritionists and critics have welcomed McDonald's move and
urge other fast food chains to follow suit.
"McDonald's made a move in the right direction by stopping
sales of 'super-sized' French fries and soft drinks," says Michael F.
Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest
(CSPI), in a news release. "I hope it is an indication that the company is
paying more attention to obesity, heart disease, and other diet-related
diseases. McDonald's competitors should immediately follow suit and begin
normal-sizing their largest menu items."
Experts say cutting back on portion sizes is a good start to
helping people get their fast food eating habits under control.
"Phasing out supersized fries and drinks is a great move
because it appeals to so many people because it's such an inexpensive
option," says Kathleen Zelman, RD, director of nutrition for the WebMD
Weight Loss Clinic. "But in terms of health and calories, it's a very
But they also say the company could do more than just reduce
portion sizes to improve the nutritional value of its menu options.
"How about adding some nutritional goodness with a
whole-grain bun, more vegetables, and baby carrots as a side option instead of
french fries?" says Zelman.
In addition, Jacobson says he's skeptical because the last time
McDonald's made a major announcement in 2002 about improving the nutritional
content of their food by promising to eliminate artery-clogging trans fats from
its cooking oils, the company later postponed the plan.