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The Truth About McDonald's Calories, Salt, and Sugar

Despite its pledge to be healthier, McDonald’s is lagging behind in efforts to better the quality of food.

According to a report by The Sun, the Golden Arches is not the place to go if you’re looking for a meal on the go while on a diet. It’s also not the place to go if you’re looking for a semi-healthy meal. In fact, in comparison to a leaflet put out by the fast food chain in 1989, McDonald’s food is now higher in calories, sugar, and salt than it was 30 years ago.

Not only is sugar up to three times higher in the fast food chain’s burgers, including up a whopping 221% in the infamous Big Mac, but levels of protein have also fallen in most of its burgers. The Golden Arches coveted French fries are up 42.8% in calories, 17.2% in fat, and 24% in salt, while a simple vanilla shake has increased in calories by 25.2%, sugar by 31%, and fat by 23%.

“These figures truly are shocking. At a time when the food industry should be making strides to reduce the amount of foods high in sugar, salt, saturated fat and calories, McDonald’s is clearly lagging behind,” Professor Graham McGregor, of Action On Sugar, said.

While a McDonald’s spokesperson did not comment on the uptick in calories, salt, and sugar, she did state that almost 90% of its standard food and drink items have fewer than 500 calories and that “for more than 30 years we have provided clear nutritional information at point of sale and on tray liners.”

The fast food chain’s calories, salt, and sugar aren’t the only things that have increased over the years. A recent resurfacing of the popular fast food chain’s first ever menu showed just how much has changed since the Golden Arches first opened their doors in 1940.

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The simple nine item menu, dubbed the “McDonald’s Amazing Menu,” included the likes of a Pure Beef Hamburger and Tempting Cheeseburger, which customers could get for the fair price of 15 cents and 19 cents, a far cry from the still relatively low prices of today.

While the Golden Arches no longer offers menu items for the price of some spare change, it has introduced its new Dollar Menu, giving customers the option to order off the $1, $2, or $3 tier.