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Archive for Monday, March 25, 1991

TRIMMING THE FAT

March 25, 1991

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McDonald's, one of the nation's leading fast-food chains, has been a target of considerable health-conscious criticism in recent years, but now it's getting a pat on the back.

McDonald's, whose menu is built on a burgers-and-fries theme, has recently introduced a new hamburger it calls "McLean." The burger contains only 9 percent fat, compared with 20 percent to 30 percent fat in the average fast-food hamburger.

That improvement caught the attention of Phil Sokolof, the president and founder of the Omaha-based National Heart Savers Assn. Sokolof, himself a victim of heart disease, declared war several years ago on high-cholesterol food and misleading packaging that encourages Americans to eat an unhealthy diet. He has spent thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars on advertising criticizing offending firms.

But now, he has a compliment in the form of a full-page ad in USA Today for McDonalds. He hails the introduction of McLean and challenges other fast-food chains to follow the McDonald's example.

Many fast-food restaurants have made special efforts in recent years to add healthier foods, such as chicken sandwiches and salads, to their menus. The changes offer welcome options to health-conscious Americans who like the convenience of fast-food service.

The new McLean sandwich is another step in the right direction. It will be interesting to track, however, how many Americans will actually put their health-conscious attitudes where their mouths are and take advantage of the new offerings to help trim the fat from their diets.

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