Is McDonald’s New Oatmeal Wholesome?

More than a year ago, McDonald’s introduced an oatmeal that the New York Times’s Mark Bittman roundly criticized. “From a marketing perspective, they can do almost nothing wrong,” he wrote in his column; “from a nutritional perspective, they can do almost nothing right.” The same can be said for this year’s new breakfast offering, the Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal. The problem is that the company is expert at convincing consumers that whatever they market as wholesome is actually wholesome.

McDonald’s aims “to show families how the new oatmeal fits into a ‘wholesome start’ breakfast,” cites the press release announcing the launch of the product. “Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal features fresh, juicy blueberries and crunchy walnuts along with a tasty hint of real banana. Made to order, McDonald’s new Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal provides two servings of whole grain and about a quarter cup of blueberries for 290 calories” and “is the perfect choice for your morning.”

It would seem that the new breakfast offering is the very model of wholesome simplicity: blueberries and walnuts sprinkled atop banana-infused oatmeal. Nothing more, nothing less.

The TV commercial for the new product features two women having breakfast at a McDonald’s. The older woman asks the younger:

“What are you eating there?”

“Oh, it’s their new oatmeal.”

“Well, what’s all that la-di-da?”

“Fresh blueberries, walnuts…”

“In oatmeal? In my day oatmeal had two ingredients: oat and meal, and not all that fancy-pants what-not.”

Here again the suggestion is that the only ingredients in the product are “oat and meal,” along with “fancy-pants” fresh blueberries, walnuts, and a bit of banana.

But what’s really in the Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal?

A lot of sugar, for one thing. 21 grams of it. In fact, four out of the five allegedly “wholesome” breakfast offerings at McDonald’s have a lot of sugar. The list of ingredients for the oatmeal begins as follows: “whole grain rolled oats, brown sugar, dried crushed banana, food starch-modified, natural flavor (wheat and botanical source), salt, spices.”

Sugar as the second ingredient to start your day? A handful of blueberries and some walnut bits can’t compensate for the load of sugar in the Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal. Many of us now know just how toxic sugar can be, given the obesity epidemic and new research from the likes of Robert Lustig and his team at the University of California, San Francisco. But the sugar habit is a very hard one to break, and this is something McDonald’s and other food companies are quick to exploit.


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Photo Credit: isthisREALLYmylife?


Jim Ven
Jim Vabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Dale Overall

Can't really imagine having breakkie at McMucks but then everyone is different. Still haven't had the nerve to try one of their pucks...hamburgers.

No, as Luvenia says, no one forces you to go to McMuck's unless one is a child and the parents are into McMucky's culture or give in the the child's wishes after watching TV ads. Many just see McMuck's (mucky food) as another unhealthy place to do oneself in if one goes there constantly and there are actually some people totally unaware of nutrition.

Going once in a blue moon is not going to do one in but there are those who trek there often. Yes, it is their choice, no one tours the street in a van grabbing victims off the street and carting people inside to force feed the petrified hostage the "food'. People just tend to shake their heads at the latest bid to look "healthy" while sugar coating the breakkie literally with you know what.

Valerie Hammett
Valerie Hammett5 years ago

would you like some GMO fries with that?

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

Sugar as the second ingredient? It won't be anything I'm going to eat now or in the future. I haven't been to a McDonalds in MANY years and don't plan to go anytime soon either.

Laurie T.
Laurie T5 years ago

Boy... I think I'll quietly saunter over to the pantry..grab up my 100% plain ol' rolled oats..cook them in a pot w/ water..throw in a sliced banana and a handful of my home roasted almonds, kept in a jar...a glug of milk and if I'm really going to be bad....a tablespoon of honey. So far, as an aged lass, I'm not overweight, no diabetes or heart problems..obviously no bowel problems (that breakie works out fine in the end) ... AND..get this... If I ever have to rely on a doctor to aid because I am ill in health, it won't be because I opt to let some fast food business con me into so called healthy foods. At least I'm doing all I can to eat the best that I can, so that I have every reason to crab and complain over high medical bills...because I wasn't part of the cause of them. By the way: one boring ol' 1kg. bag of oats feeds me 35 breakfasts, at approx. .05c each...plain..saving $$ to buy other additives that can be shared with other meals.

Howard C.
.5 years ago

I live in England and I'm not sure if McDonalds sell this here - I'll confess, I'm no expert, I haven't been in to a McDonalds for years but I haven't seen it advertised on television. All in all hiding sugar in a product and presenting it as 'healthy' is un-ethical. Anyone who buys a burger or a milk shake and then expresses surprise that it is un-healthy is either naive or lying but a product like this, that is a different matter entirely.

Jude Hand
Judith Hand5 years ago

I was wondering about the stuff. Thanks for the info; no buyer here, after all.

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad5 years ago

Who cares? As is the food bought at the grocery any better.......REALLY?

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for the information.

Gerald Landry
Gerald L5 years ago

"Horrors of Industrial Food" Industrial oats (grains) sprayed with (formic acid) to inhibit mildew, farmed blueberries sprayed with pesticides. Why added sugar when they have blueberries and banana ?

Try to scratch cook at home, simmer organic oats for 5 minutes, pour over fresh or frozen wild berries (or fruit) of your choice, The milk of your choice, and voila for the price of one oatmeal breakfast you can cook yourself up 3/4 at home. And you have avoided the sprays and added sugar. And eat your juice or (fresh squeeze), and avoid HFCS used in sodas and juice and thousands of processed foods.

Check out the link mentioned from Dr. Robert Lustig "Sugar the Bitter Truth" U of California