Lifestyle & Belief

Calorie counts pop up on McDonald's menus nationwide


A photo illustration of a Happy Meal at McDonalds on November 3, 2010 in San Francisco, California. San Francisco became the first city in the country to pass a law to control the giving away of free toys with unhealthy meals for children. The law requires that kid's meals meet nutritional standards before they can be sold with toys.


David Paul Morris

In case you ever wondered how many calories are in that Big Mac you're about to eat (550), McDonald's is rolling out a nationwide calorie count posted on is menus and drive-throughs. 

Reuters reports that the burger chain made the announcement Wednesday ahead of a national rule that will require larger restaurant chains to disclose their nutrition information to diners. 

Under the new Affordable Care Act healthcare law, restaurants with more than 20 outlets must soon clearly post calories and other nutrition details on menus. New York and California already require larger chains to post calorie information. 

Fast food chains have been resistant to calls from the U.S. government to give consumers more information about their nutritional quality. According to Reuters, a McDonald's nutritionist told a group of health reporters in Los Angeles several years ago that the company opposed the rules because they violated customer privacy.

The Los Angeles Times reports that McDonald's making this preemptive move will likely encourage other fast food chains to post their information as well. 

McDonald's was one of the first chains to start offering healthier options such as salads, oatmeal and apple slices. Many other fast food chains followed suit. 

The world's number one burger chain is trying to sway more customers by testing new menu items such as seasonal fruit and vegetables and more grilled chicken, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Sara Deon runs the Value [the] Meal campaign at Corporate Accountability International. She told the LA Times that the move was “purely PR spin.”

“McDonald’s wants to paint itself as a leader, but in truth, regulations that appear in the Affordable Care Act will soon require McDonald’s to implement these changes,” Deon said in a statement.

“The corporation must stop the egregious, targeted marketing of its unhealthy brand to children, and go further to mitigate its impact on our children’s health.”