Healthier fast foods coming soon

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Last week The New York Times reported that fast food giant Burger King has developed a new coating for its French fries. The new coating will render their potatoes less able to absorb fat, and thus calories, when they are deep-fried. And today McDonald s announced far-reaching changes in its menus that will give consumers a wide variety of choices of fruits and vegetables, as well as lower calorie menu options.

Working with the Clinton foundation s campaign to fight obesity in children, McDonald s will offer customers a salad or a piece of fruit instead of fries with their meals. In addition, consumers will be able to order Egg McMuffins made with egg whites rather than whole eggs, and wraps made with grilled rather than fried chicken. They already post calorie counts on their menu boards, and have signs giving people the choices that will provide different levels of calories e.g., 200 or 300 or 400 calories. Further, McDonald s will use their advertising muscle to advise people of the availability of juice, low-fat milk and water as drink choices for their Happy Meals.

The company is planning to make these changes in 20 of its largest markets, both in the U.S. and abroad.

We re impressed with the efforts by these companies to be part of a solution to the obesity problem. ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava commented. Of course, to borrow a cliché, the proof of the pudding is in the eating: Will consumers take advantage of these menu changes to make changes in their eating choices? Only time will tell.