Removing Soda from Kids' Meals Among McDonald's Improvements

Statement of CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan


Note: McDonald's and Alliance for a Healthier Generation made misleading statements to the press, to CSPI, and in their advertising about removing soda from Happy Meals menu boards. CSPI issued a follow-up press release a day after this release was issued.

Ronald McDonald's slow march toward healthier meals made a major advance today, but a long road lies ahead for the company. Getting soda out of Happy Meals is historic progress that should immediately be adopted by Burger King, Wendy's, and other chains. Soda and other sugar drinks are leading promoters of obesity and diabetes and one day it will seem crazy that restaurants ever made this junk the default beverage for kids.

Obviously, any 'innovation' that puts more fruit and vegetables on McDonald's menus is good news for children and adults. Besides including salads in combo meals, McDonald's could make its meals less harmful by continuing to reduce sodium, adding more whole wheat into their buns, and phasing out their 30- and 21-ounce soda sizes for adults. The last thing a meal of a burger and fries needs is 19 teaspoons of sugar.