The Guy From CSPI is at it again. Take a look. (Sorry, you’ll have sit through a commercial first.)

As an online article about the lawsuit explains, CSPI is now apparently blaming Happy Meals for most of the nation’s health issues:

The nutrition group claims that using toys to entice children instills bad eating habits and puts kids at higher risk of risk of developing obesity, diabetes, or other diet-related diseases over the course of their lifetime.

Yeah, right. I visited my daughter’s school a few months ago to join her for lunch. She brought lunch from home:  lunchmeat, cheese, nuts and olives. The kids eating the government-approved school lunch were busy snarfing on

  • Four chicken nuggets
  • Peaches in syrup
  • A big scoop of mashed potatoes
  • A dinner roll
  • A box of juice

Anyone want to try to explain to me how that’s a nutritious meal, while a Happy Meal instills bad eating habits?

The CBS “unscientific experiment” was just plain silly, by the way.  Offer me a Guinness, or a Guinness with a 20-dollar bill attached, and you can pretty much guess which one I’d prefer.  It tells us nothing about how Happy Meal toys affect our food choices when we grow up.

I agree with Jacobson on one thing: five-year-olds don’t always understand that the point of advertising is to sell products. That’s why I rarely allow my five-year-old to borrow my wallet and car keys and go shopping by herself. But to hear the fruitcakes at CSPI tell it, you’d think McDonald’s has found some sneaky way of removing parents from the equation:

“McDonald’s is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children,” CSPI’s litigation director, Stephen Gardner, said in a prepared statement. “It’s a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction.”

I think it speaks volumes when an organization identifies its own spokesman as the “litigation director” without wondering if perhaps that makes them sound like lawsuit-happy scumbugs. But that aside, the scenario the lawsuit-happy scumbag paints is ridiculous. If McDonald’s is the creepy guy handing out candy, then in the real world, his encounters with children would go something like this:

“Hello, little boy. Want some candy?”
“Uh … Dad, can I have some of the creepy guy’s candy?”
“How much is the candy, creepy guy?”
“It’s free!”
“I see. So what exactly do you want in exchange?”
“Well, uh … I thought maybe I’d invite your son to take a ride in my car afterwards.”
“Wow! Dad, can I go ride in the creepy guy’s car?”
“No, son. Now if you’ll step aside, I need to punch the creepy guy in the nose.”

McDonald’s can’t sell anything to little kids. They can only sell to the parents. So it’s not really the creepy guy with the candy that CSPI doesn’t trust … it’s the dad. Or the mom. This statement says it all:

CSPI director Michael Jacobson acknowledged that parents bear much of the responsibility for children’s eating habit — a criticism industry defenders often levy. “But multi-billion-dollar corporations make parents’ job nearly impossible by giving away toys and bombarding kids with slick advertising,” he said.

How does “bombarding” my kids with advertising make my job as a parent impossible? Sure, advertising has made my kids aware of Happy Meals toys. That’s why we sometimes have conversations like this:

“Daddy, can we go to McDonald’s?”
“No.”
“Puh-leeeeeeeease!”
“No.”

Or, if we’re at McDonald’s …

“Can we get the Happy Meal?”
“No. Mom said to get six McDoubles to go, and that’s what we’re getting.”
“But I want that toy!”
“No. It’s not worth the extra money.”
“But I really, really, really want that toy!”
“No.”

Trust me, it’s not that hard to say no. I do it all the time. If there are parents in the world who are powerless to say no when their kids whine, those kids are going to have far worse problems in life than bad eating habits. Besides, when they end up in prison, they’ll be fed according to the government’s nutrition guidelines — which The Guy From CSPI likes — so it all balances out.

Sometimes we say yes to the Happy Meals, of course. It’s our choice. We know exactly what we’re doing.  But The Guy From CSPI believes it’s because we’re stupid.  Or, to use the consumers-as-victims theory he prefers, we’ve been duped by “misleading and deceptive advertising.” I guess I’ll have track him down someday and ask for his definition of “deceptive.” I’ve seen the ads, and as far as I can tell, the message is:  Hey, folks, if you buy a Happy Meal, you’ll get

  • This fun little toy
  • A burger or small order of McNuggets
  • Apple slices or a small order of fries
  • A milk jug or a juice box

And wouldn’t you know it, when I take the girls to McDonald’s for a couple of Happy Meals, they end up with

  • The fun little toy
  • A burger or small order of McNuggets
  • Apple slices or a small order of fries
  • A milk jug or a juice box

If there’s deception going on here, it’s so deeply deceptive, I can’t even spot it. If I opened the Happy Meal box and found a tofu-spinach pie inside, then I’d feel deceived.

If anyone should be sued for deception, it’s The Guy From CSPI. He’s the one who insisted in his newsletters twenty years ago that hydrogenated oils were perfectly safe, then harassed the restaurants into using them for frying. It’s his organization that harassed schools into serving fat-free milk instead of whole milk — which provides growing brains the saturated fats they need. It’s CSPI that tells parents to give their kids cereal for breakfast instead of eggs.

There is a creepy guy lurking on the playground … but it’s The Guy From CSPI.

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50 Responses to “The Guy From CSPI Isn’t Toying With McDonald’s”
  1. This one I’m sort of conflicted about. Regardless of what is actually in the Happy Meal, I don’t like the idea of advertising targeted at children.

    But to focus on the Happy Meal, and specifically on the toys, diffuses the message that advertising to children is evil.

    You know what? Now that I’ve thought it through, I’m not conflicted after all.

    I’m not at all conflicted. Kids can’t buy diddly, so it’s up to the parents. And if we’re going to outlaw ads “targeted at children,” then someone in government will have to define that term, and it’ll get real stupid, real quickly. What makes an ad “targeted at kids”? Anytime there’s a cartoon character? If Ronald McDonald appears? What if he’s encouraging kids to exercise? What if McDonald’s creates a character named Mr. McSalad?

    Better to leave it alone and trust parents to have brains.

  2. Kleedrac says:

    You should really get your wife to do a few more of those “The Guy from CSPI” cartoons to accompany these blog posts, they were quite entertaining and slightly less disturbing than seeing that annoying personage of little intelligence speak for real.

    I actually thought about that, but she was asleep by the time I was finished writing.

  3. Thom Brogan says:

    It’s obvious that if we don’t behave as the CSPI collective believes we should, it’s do mental defects on our part and the slick advertizing of wretched capitalists out to make bucks off our stupidity. And, later, it’ll probably be the fault of rogue publishers of Mises and Friedrich Hayek that keep us feebly innocent victims from wanting to be placed in gulags.

    And then it’s time for re-education camps.

  4. MikeC says:

    Whenever I read a story like this, I make it a point to go buy something from McDonald’s the next day. Two McDoubles, hold the bun, please.

    That’s how I react, too.

  5. Cathie in Ut says:

    As usual the CSPI folks just can’t resist the notion that all people (with the exception of themselves) have no thought processes other than a follow the evil food people’s lead and can’t decide for themselves what they want to eat.
    Food Nazis strike and again and I will ignore them with one hand full of a no bun burger and a salad in the other with full fat dressing of course!

    Every time The Guy From CSPI opens his mouth, he’s essentially calling the public stupid.

  6. Rahul says:

    Hey Tom,
    I totally agree with this but I became a CSPI hater right from the time I saw your movie. As for that whole CSPI guy being the creepy guy in the playground…..don’t you think that its coincidental that he actually looks creepy (with his whole diseased einstein look) if u actually so that man near a playground and u didn’t know him as the CSPI guy I bet you would still be on alert mode and think “Something about that man isn’t right……” lol atleast I would be lol

    I’ve always thought he looks a little creepy.

  7. mezzo says:

    Just LOOK at that guy from CSPI. What does HE feed on? Whatever it is, I doesn’t seem to make him healthy and happy. Especially not the latter, I rather feel it has turned him into an old grumblo.

    He’s a vegan. And he doesn’t look healthy to me. I’m pretty sure my six-year-old could take him in a fight.

  8. Josh Goguen says:

    Why is CSPI fighting this? Don’t they see the solution is right in front of them?

    Just go to the dollar store and buy a bunch of cheap toys. Then, stick them next to what ever food you want your kid to eat. They’ll be powerless!

    “Hey, forget the slice of pizza. I want that broccoli that has a robot next to it.”

    A cheap meal with a free toy seems like a godsend for poorer families. Eh, who worries about them though, right?

    Brilliant! If toys turn kids into mindless eaters, we can get them to eat anything.

  9. Jan says:

    We saw this on the news the other day – my 15-year-old immediately shouted, “LOOK! It’s the Guy from CSPI!!”

    I never realized it was possible to feel so much amusement mixed with so much disgust, but it is. My son was much more succinct: “That’s just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.”

    Tom, you need a Facebook fan page.

    That’s hilarious! If only I get the media to start calling him that.

    I believe my wife set up a Fat Head facebook, but I rarely remember to check it.

    http://tiny.cc/mjj19

    I need to remember to go there more often.

  10. TWV says:

    I was waiting for this post as soon as I saw the story about this group of goobers and the threat of a lawsuit. Can’t they be sued for interfering with parenting? Who the hell do they think they are? The only problem with these nutjobs is that people sometimes listen to them or bend to their will. Okay, say the happy meal and other types of meals like that go away. What’s next? I noticed at the local supermarket (unamed because I don’t want these goons to bug them) that toys are on the same isle as the candy. OMG!

    I don’t drink but if you gave me a Guinness with a 20-dollar bill, I would take it just the same.

    That’s why drives me up the wall: the arrogance. I don’t need him to protect my kids. I’m perfectly capable of it myself.

  11. Tom Miller says:

    I saw this article yesterday and cannot believe that CSPI has nothing better to do than sue McDonalds for this. As you state in Fat Head, that most of the kids are more interested in the playlands (and the toys) than actually eating the food in the Happy Meals. Even if they do eat the meal, I checked the McDonalds website and the calorie content of the highest Happy Meal is 580. If you remember in Super Size Me, that they stated that the kids lunch programs in schools, the caloric content topped almost a 1000 for some meals! If they really want to go after the “creepy” people that are causing our kids to have poor eating habits, then they need to go after the goverment, and change the subsidized meals they are providing for the school lunch programs.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen my girls actually finish a Happy Meal. Usually it’s three bites, then they’re running off to the playland … you know, getting some exercise and all that.

  12. D says:

    When I read the news article, I thought, “Tom Naughton needs to blog about this!” You didn’t disappoint, either.

    I have a friend who goes to McDonald’s to buy the toys without the meals. Sometimes the toys are really cool, too. I think adults like the toys as much as the kids do. I wish they gave the toys with ALL the meals. Wouldn’t that make that CSPI guy go ballistic?

    Yes, but pretty much everything makes him go ballistic.

  13. Isabel says:

    I really should take the car keys away from my 3 yr old, because every time she sees a McDonald’s commercial, she grabs her purse, hops in the car and drives over there…

    If only she’d run over The Guy from CSPI …

  14. Beatle says:

    I remember being targeted by adverts as a kid in the early 80′s. McDonalds included. This is nothing new. When I was a kid, we went to fast food joints when my Dad decided it was time to take the kids out. This was not a daily or weekly thing. We didn’t get toys, unless it was our birthday or xmas.

    What has changed? Parenting. Kids today are spoiled.

    kid: “Mom, can we go to McDonalds”
    Mom: “No”

    It’s that easy.

    It was that easy for my parents, and it’s that easy for us now.

  15. Katie says:

    So glad you wrote about this! I posted an article about this to Facebook with similar commentary regarding the fact that, the last time I checked, kids weren’t driving themselves to McDonald’s and forking over the money for the happy meals. Parental responsibility, people.

    Plus, fast food restaurants have been giving out toys since I was a kid (which was more than 20 years ago now), it’s not like this is a new thing! I believe my Mom still has teenage mutant ninja turtle, Garfield, and original Batman cups from when we were kids. Not to mention the time when the McDonald’s mini beanie babies were more popular than the regular ones you could buy in the store. Why is this suddenly such a public health emergency? Oh that’s right, it’s because, as you mentioned, CSPI still has its tail between its legs for forcing all of the fast food joints to use “healthy” hydrogenated vegetable oils for frying instead of “arteryclogging” beef tallow and lard. Look how well that one worked out…

    And never a single apology. “Sorry for all the heart attacks we helped cause, folks, but we meant well …”

  16. Erica says:

    Well, I got something out of that video beyond a headache from eye-rolling. I’m going to start putting stickers on the plastic baggies that hold my 6 yo daughters veggies, cheese and blueberries. I think that’s a great idea. Sure, she’d still rather have fruit snacks and potato chips, but that’s why I don’t buy those things.

    You mean you’re able to say no?

  17. What makes an ad “targeted at kids”?

    I think one pretty clear line is when it’s a TV broadcast made for schools, shown in schools, filled with plugs for corporate sponsors. Did you know that was happening? Are they showing it in your kids’ school? See “Consuming Kids” for that and much more — http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/consuming-kids/ I was really disturbed while watching that, to realize there is a whole industry made up of people willing to psychologically manipulate children to make a buck.

    I agree that I don’t want a government bureaucrat telling me what I should feed my kids. They haven’t exactly done a great job of that. But on the other hand, I’d rather not give corporations free reign to tell my kids what they should be eating. Somewhere between those two extremes should be a sensible middle ground.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on that. Ads can perhaps make kids want something, but so what? Until they have money and transportation, they can’t buy anything. I wanted all kinds of things as a kid that my parents never gave me. I wasn’t traumatized as a result.

    I’m not seeing any damage here that makes it worth chipping away at the First Amendment, and courts have already determined that free speech includes commercial speech.

  18. Gwen says:

    This is about the Proteus Effect — image perception affects how people feel about, and react to, people, things, and events. It also affects how they think of themselves. Making the packaging or the environment surrounding an item or event more pleasing than the same item or event without the packaging changes how people think of the item or event. There’s not only guilt by association, there’s credit by association.

    They’ve used the same thing to sell everything from sneakers to swords since the dawn of time — the athlete’s endorsement on the sneakers, to make you think that if you buy that brand, you too will jump higher and run faster, even though the sneakers have little if anything to do with your ability to run and jump, and while a swordsmith’s mark on a particular blade might speak volumes about the quality of the sword, and its durability, flexibility, and perfect craft, it cannot turn a poor swordsman into a Cyrano — but the implication is there in legend that the great swords lend their perfection to the wielder. (Ever watch Kill Bill? The legend of the Hattori Hanzo blade is a good example.)

    The Proteus Effect is also seen in online communities and virtual worlds, where the user can change the appearance of their “avatar” to look different from their real self. It has been shown in studies that how they feel about themself is changed by the appearance and qualities of the avatar they wear. If forced to wear an unattractive avatar, even if they are attractive in real life, their self-image suffers.

    When a product is sold with another, attractive product, we automatically ascribe characteristics of the attractive product to that with which it is included.

    The original study was done by Nicky Yee over a period of time. Here’s a link to the abstract of the dissertation. There’s a link to a pdf of the entire dissertation on the page. http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/001569.php

    It’s standard operating procedure. I don’t think using toys to sell Happy Meals is any worse than using Arnold Palmer to sell me Pennzoil.

  19. Tina says:

    When my kids were small, I would take them to McDonalds when the new toy came out in the Happy Meals. How often is that? Once a month at most. And they would only ask if the toy was of interest to them at the time. No big deal

    But wait … you’re giving them bad lifelong eating habits!

  20. Jonathan says:

    My wife is a preschool teacher. She pointed out to me once that a happy meal with fries, milk, and add a pack of apple dippers, would meet the government requirements for a day care meal; a protein (meat in nugget), a fruit (the apple), a vegetable (they count fries), a starch (the breading on the nugget), and milk.

    I didn’t know it was the toy that made kids fat. Wow.

    That’s why this is so ridicuous. If anything, a Happy Meal is better than what they serve at my daughter’s school.

  21. Ms. X says:

    I’ll tell you what’s deceptive… the kids meals at Burger King come with FAT FREE milk. Bleecch. My kids won’t even drink it so it’s a total waste of money. At least McDonalds still has a trace of fat in the milk.

    CSPI has manage to harrass almost everyone into serving fat-free milk now. Now … if fat is bad for you, why did Mother Nature put so much of it in milk?

  22. labrat says:

    hmmmmmmmmm

    milk or a juice box? Did the Food Police already work their magic? No small soda anymore?

    Ah the McDouble! Dollar Menu! Mommy’s rule – we only order from dollar menus and no drinks – btw – not ‘cuz I’m a food nazi – because I’m too cheap.
    I usually make ‘em share the fries too if we get any at all.
    I like to think they lose money on me.

    Mommy definitely determines the McDonald’s orders around here.

  23. M Lewis says:

    I still want a CSPI Guy t-shirt.

    I think those would sell. Unfortunately, Cafe Press wants $21 per t-shirt. If anyone knows of a cheaper print-and-ship producer, give me a shout.

  24. Gwen says:

    I toyed with a pic of CSPI guy from the video, but it’s just too grainy. I was going to see if I could find a place for you to use, but there’s just too many goofball sites out there. I used to have a good place that did dye sublimation printing, but it wouldn’t work well for this application, and it wouldn’t be any cheaper, just better quality.

    I’m getting some good suggestions.

  25. tony-k says:

    I can’t believe these guys. The only reason idiots like CSPI and Meme Roth make it on the news so much is because they’re sensationalsits, plain and simple. They make a lot of noise and they make for good news. BTW, since you feature McDonalds so prominently in “fathead” and not in a negative way either, any chance you might strike a deal to get your movie placed in the Redbox machines around the country for rental? It would be a great way to get the film seen, folks can pick it up for a buck along with their dolar menu goodies!

    They make for good copy or good sound-bites, indeed.

  26. Elle says:

    Ads have targeted children since my parents were kids (50 years ago). When television first started airing shows aimed at kids, advertisers realized that they could advertise their wares directly to kids. This is also about when advertisement left the “Nine out of ten doctors recommend Lucky Strikes” scientific model to “Hey this is super-awesome and you want it because it’ll make you super-awesome!”

    It took 50 years for people to realize that parents have zero control over the purchases that com into the house [/sarcasm]

  27. Try Zazzle.com. You can get them for under $15.

    I’ll give it a look, thanks.

  28. John Hunter says:

    Sounds like school lunch to me is

    * A little bit of protein coated in starch
    * Sugar lumps in sugar sauce
    * A big pile of starch
    * A little more sugar syrup to wash everything down with
    * And a hardened ball of starch that probably comes with some little lump that most likely started out as corn, then, through chemical magic, is turned it into something that is supposed to resemble butter, but is probably more closely related to and nearly as healthy as plastic.

    SETTLE DOWN CLASS!!!! I just don’t know why they are bouncing off the walls. They can’t concentrate and they are all complaining about being hungry thought they just ate 45 minutes ago.

    And then pass out the ADD prescriptions.

  29. Andrew says:

    Went to McDonalds today to get a Big Mac in honor of CSPI guy. Came home, no burger in my burger. CSPI guy strikes again!

    That happened to me once when I said “no bun” at a drive up. Quite a miscommunication.

  30. Todd says:

    It’s kind of funny, in a sad clown way, that many vegans do get that creepy look after they’ve been wasting away for a few years. The long-term vegetarians and especially vegans I know do tend to have sunken, dark eyes, sallow skin, and a hunched over, skeletal appearance. It’s difficult for me to take health advice from someone who does not appear healthy themselves.

    Michael Jacobson certainly isn’t going to persuade people with a “Be Like Mike” campaign. He looks like Ichabod Crane.

  31. They can market to my kid all they want. I named him Bruno so I can say “NO” to him every time I call his name. Kidding aside, we haven’t gone to McDonald’s in a couple of years, mostly because they started putting high fructose corn syrup in nearly everything. And even when we did, our kid never finished a meal. How’s he going to get fat eating half and spending most the time on their playground?

    Same for my girls. I don’t care what the calorie count is for a Happy Meal, because I’ve never seen them finish one.

  32. Todd says:

    That’s one thing that stikes me about kids. They say what they think…including “I’m full.” And once they’ve declared that, try convincing them to have more! Adults somehow have lost that natural limit on overeating – probably because we know how much it costs.

    It would be a good thing if restaurants offered meals in various serving sizes, instead of one-size-fits-all.

    Too many adults overproduce insulin, which tells them they’re still hungry.

  33. Howard says:

    I’m scratching my head here. Marketing to children is evil and possibly illegal? I’m 54 and I remember watching cartoons and kiddie shows and every commercial, be it for toys or candy, was marketed directly toward children. And it’s amazing how easy it was for my parents to say no. In fact, they said no so often that after a while we pretty much assumed the commercials were only for entertainment value, since we knew we would never get to have any of that stuff.

    Believe it or not, some couple a few years ago — both educated professionals — sued to stop ads directed at children because having to say no all the time was placing an undue burden on them.

    Talk about a society of spineless weanies …

  34. Melissa says:

    Well if I gave my son a bag of beans with dora on them and told him they were magic, he’d put them in his mouth, determine weather he likes them, then spit them out.
    It wouldn’t matter who I put on there. He either likes them or he doesn’t.

    So if they’re suggesting that McDonalds do the same with “magic beans” I think most kids are smart enough to know that they’re not magic, especially if they taste bad.

    Oh this is totally unrelated but I thought you might like to check out this article about Gwenyth Paltrow (micrbiotic diet lover) having bone disease at 37
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1289644/Gwyneth-Paltrow-Im-suffering-brittle-bone-disease.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    Exactly right. I’ll take the Guinness with the $20 attached, but that same $20 will never make a Coors Light take like actual beer.

  35. TonyNZ says:

    “The kids eating the government-approved school lunch were busy snarfing on

    ◦Four chicken nuggets…”

    If you asked me what contains 4 chicken nuggets and a few fillers I would immediately think happy meal. How is the happy meal worse?

    Anyway, I remember getting wee rugby balls and soccer balls and the like with happy meals when younger. We’d have gone to McDonalds once every one or two months but the exercise we had chasing those balls around (they were plush, so not subject to the same “balls inside” rules as proper balls) would have been easily equal to 20 times the calorie content of the meal.

    I wonder whether there would be a public outrage if Miley Cyrus or Justin Beiber ever got a McDonalds endorsement. I remember there was a bit of a furore when McDees in New Zealand got two of our Olympic gold medalists as spokespeople in an ad campaign that was all about balancing food choices with healthy lifestyles. The nerve of those people.

    There are people here whose hatred of McDonald’s defies logic. It’s pure emotion. Partly it’s because they kill cows, and partly it’s because they make billions of dollars, which is all it takes to inspire hatred from some elements in America.

  36. Lori says:

    Todd said, “It would be a good thing if restaurants offered meals in various serving sizes, instead of one-size-fits-all.”

    When you place an order for a meal you know is going to be too big, you can ask your server to box up half of it to go. You can also split a meal with a companion, or order an appetizer or the ubiquitous grilled chicken salad.

  37. Dave, RN says:

    “The long-term vegetarians and especially vegans I know do tend to have sunken, dark eyes, sallow skin, and a hunched over, skeletal appearance”.

    I noticed a celebrity that has taken on that appearance. When I read your post I Googled her. Yup. Ellen Degeneres turned vegan.

    Noticed when watching idol. She looks terrible.

    Too bad. By virtue of being a celebrity, she’ll inspire others to do the same.

  38. TonyNZ says:

    A few New Zealand restaurants have some meals in different sizes. I just find stuff like the following amusing:

    Lamb skewers with seasonal veges and mint chutney
    Medium – $19
    Large – $23
    Huge – $27

    Because if they use small, medium and large people don’t think they are getting as much food for their money. But HUGE for 27 DOLLARS!? Bargain!

    I’d go for the huge and take half of it home.

  39. monasmee says:

    Going after McDonald’s for children’s toys is simply ridiculous!

    If parents have already been saying no to saturated fat throughout the years because of misinformation, surely they can now say no to the onslaught of sugar and carbs through updated information.

    Said discipline just gets reframed by making informed decisions which Fat Head offers in spades.

    Goofy groups like CSPI basically want to turn the state into everyone’s daddy.

  40. Bruce says:

    Is it possible to file a lawsuit against CSPI for the hydrogenated oil fiasco? How many people were and are hurt by that nonsense? I hate frivolous lawsuits, but, I think we should sue them out of existence.

    And their little dog too!

    I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’d love to see it happen.

  41. mrfreddy says:

    watched a top chef episode yesterday that had me tearing my hair out and “duh” slapping my forehead over and over… the challenge was to produce a healthy kids school lunch on a limited budget… all fine and good, but it was tragic to hear what their ideas of healthy were… yogurt over mayo… and oatmeal based taco shell… no fat this, low fat over and over again…. to be fair, their idea of healthy also included no sugar. It seems like the anti-sugar message from the low carb movement is filtering thru, but the “fat is good” message isn’t getting thru at all.

    To top it off, the guest judge presiding over this nonsense was the head nutritionist or whatever from the White House. Prattering on about teaching kids to eat this way now so that they will eat healthily for the rest of their lives…. I’m thinking, yeah, mal-noursihing kids so that they’ll be weak and soft boned and disease proned…. for the rest of their lives…

    sorry for the rant, had to get that out of my system. I feel better now.

    Based on what I’m seeing in the new Dietary Guidelines, that’s an accurate assessment. They’re finally admitting sugar is bad news, but can’t shake the idea that saturated fat is bad, or that whole grains are health food.

  42. Dee says:

    My grandmother used to chime in whenever we watched television and the ads were misleading–”That doll doesn’t really walk by herself” or “Why would any person want to eat something that a cartoon tiger says is good?”

    My children had choices of snacks in the grocery store (no junk) and my daughter would invariably choose herring. I hate it when I hear parents make the excuse that their children won’t eat this or that. How do they know? These kids don’t have the experience to say what they really like or don’t like.

    That’s right. And ultimately, my kids can’t eat anything without my approval. They don’t go shopping or drive themselves to McDonald’s.

  43. Shmaltzy says:

    God help us all! My home state here in Australia is looking to bring in the law for fast food establishments to display calorie counts on their menus.

    http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-national/fast-food-outlets-to-show-calorie-count-20100630-zjky.html

    “Jane Martin, senior policy adviser for the Obesity Policy Coalition, says clearer labelling on menus will help consumers “sort the fat from the fiction at a glance”.

    LOL!! …”sort the fat from the fiction”… these guys are hilarious…in more ways than one.

    All based on the idea that people don’t know fast food is high in calories, which is a load of bologna.

  44. Bushrat says:

    @ Shmaltzy. I’ll welcome the calorie counting menus. That way I can get the most fat for my dollar. The NSW gov is so helpful in helping me save a few cents at McDonalds but I can’t help but think that maybe State governments are redundant if this is the most pressing issue.

  45. Bullinachinashop says:

    CSPI is really over-estimating how kids respond to these ads. When I take my 6 year old daughter to McDonald’s I ask “Do you want a happy meal?” She says “No, I want a hamburger, french fries, soda and a toy”.

    She pretty much expects that from any restaurant we ever bring her to… unless she sees a sushi place at the mall, then hamburgers be damned! McDonald’s has absolutely no elevated status in her mind, despite any ads they may have thrown in her direction.

    CSPI thinks we’re all a bunch of helpless idiots.

  46. Linda says:

    Has anyone considered that CSPI may just want the money from the lawsuit? I’ll have to look up how they are funded.

    Let us know what you find out.

  47. Pegi says:

    Obviously I have to expand Mean Mommy School. My children now range from 23 to 30, but they can tell you about it.
    No one is mean enough to be a Mommy without special training, so there is a school to teach mothers to be Mean Mommies.
    Rule #1. The answer is no–no matter what the question.
    Rule #2. If you ask for it, I won’t buy it.
    There are many others in the same vein.
    I don’t think that they EVER had a Happy Meal.
    The chicken nuggets in the children’s school lunch may very well be partly soy. McDonald’s are all chicken.

    Good point. Our government thinks soy is health food.

  48. Myrna says:

    I am also a Mean Mommy: Ever since my son was a baby, it has been a rule that if a food is advertised on TV, or has a cartoon character or mis-spelled words (i.e. “Kool”)on the package, I won’t buy it.

    But how are you able to resist the whining?

  49. JStheguy says:

    *Start legendary sounding orchestral soundtrack*
    You hold in your mind, the power only our ancestors know. You can wield the word No. Tom, you are clearly the Hero of Parenthood. Go and save parental control, stop Michelle Obama, and protect free enterprise! GODSPEED!

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