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"McDouble the most nutritious food ever"

30/07/2013 2:30:00 PM
Philippa Lees
Image: McDonald's

One of the authors behind the hit book Freakonomics has sparked a heated debate by suggesting the McDonald's McDouble cheeseburger is the "cheapest, most nutritious, and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history".

The McDouble retails for about $2 in New Zealand, depending on store promotions.

Reader Ralph Thomas emailed the Freakonomics authors, who are famous for applying economics to popular culture, with this controversial statement:

"It has been my gut-level (sorry, pun) feeling for a while now that the McDonald’s McDouble, at 390 Calories, 23g of protein, 7 percent of daily fiber, 20 per cent of daily calcium and iron, etc., is the cheapest, most nutritious, and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history."

Freakonomics authors Stephen Dubner and Steven D. Levitt were so intrigued by the claim they published it and opened the discussion to readers.

In New Zealand the burger contains 1850kj and 27.9g of protein, but readers argued they are highly-processed "empty calories" which reduce its nutritional value.


They suggested lentils and rice were of similar cost and nutritional value but also natural and unprocessed.

Senior nutritionist Aloysa Hourigan told MSN another flaw in the claim is the fat and salt content of the burger.

"Even though it may supply some nutrients – we also need to remember that it includes a high amount of saturated fat and salt (sodium) – as do most takeaway fast foods – and food is not very healthy for us if it is high in saturated fat and salt.

"It is very common to purchase this burger along with a serve of ‘fries’ and soft drink – which further raised the saturated fat, kilojoules, sodium and adds in unhealthy amounts of added sugars as well.

Hourigan says other low-cost meals are available that are also highly nutritious and "health-value for money" which incorporate canned vegetables, cheap meats like mince and wholegrains.

Have your say: Are you any more likely to eat the burger with its 'nutritious' label?

User comments
Why is it today all we think about is food ? T.V. cooks by the 100 or should that be 1000s? 775
I cant read an article containing the words macdonalds and Freakonomics so the following comments may be meaningless and or only vaguely connected to the content. Disclaimer. I like the idea that grandparents care enough about these articles to respond considerately. Heated debate hah. The product being discussed has less flavour than the cardboard box it comes in The spell checker doesnt know how to spell the word flavour. Its quite happy with flavor however. And the article has been paid for BY makkers Im guessing. This website has got to be the stupidest website with a .co.nz domain. If it was a hamburger you know what it would be. It would start with M. And you would eat the box. cheers
is this the stupidest website with a .co.nz domain?
If this is the case, why do we have so many kids "at risk eating take aways? Lazy parents plain and simple.
I have no problems buying at Mackers. I love to take my grandchildren, its a cheap meal out plus you have the option of take-away coffee, this I love.
I'd say we have several others who for the most part don't care about the outcome look into it and hear what they say.

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