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McDonalds ice cream nutrition scam?

Ok, I admit it. I LOVE McDonalds soft serve ice cream. It is one of my favorite treats after a long joggle, softball game, or road trip. At a mere 150 calories, it’s a great choice compared to things like candy bars, soda pop, and donuts. That’s why I was appalled to see this report about McDonalds ice cream from the folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Ice cream cone McDonaldsAccording to them, that ice cream cone that I thought was only 150 calories is really more like 225 calories with 4.5 g of saturated fat. CSPI says that McDonalds is “lowballing” their nutritional content to make the dessert seem less bad for you than it is.

I don’t know. I’ve never put too much stock in what the people of CSPI say. In the United States they are the “food nannies” who tell us that everything we’re eating is bad for us. They use the word “science” in their title to make themselves sound more legit but they don’t do science at all. They begin with the position that processed food is bad for you and collect data to prove that.  In this case they looked at ice cream from 5 different McDonalds all in the Washington DC area.  If they were really doing ‘science’ they would’ve made it a country-wide survey using random sampling.  They would’ve also had some experimental controls.  For example, if they did get the sizes indicated on the McDonalds website, does the ice cream cone score nutritionally the way McDonalds says it does?

When I get an ice cream cone the size is completely dependent on the person serving it.  Some people load it up with 5 swirls of ice cream, others skimp and give only 3.  In the long run is the 75 extra calories going to kill me?  I don’t think so.  So feel free to eat that McDonalds ice cream cone despite what the CSPI has to say.  I think I’m going to get one today after kicking my ass for an hour on the treadmill.

Today’s joggling workout…Six half mile repeats at a setting of 10.5 to 11.0, then a 2 mile cool down.  It’s gonna be fun for this joggler.

This Post Has 18 Comments
  1. I actually might be running the Scotiabank half as a training run so I might see you there. If I don’t, I’ll definitely be down there to watch. I LOVE McDonalds ice cream. I usually get a strawberry sundae and not a cone though. Makes me wonder why the shakes are such fat filled calorie monsters when the ice cream is relatively healthy by comparison.

  2. I love McDonald’s ice cream too, but they seem huge, way more than 3.2 ounces or whatever the serving size is supposed to be. Maybe that’s why the CSPI measurement came back so high. I think you’re right, the serving size realy does depend on who is serving it.

  3. I love the apple pies but I don’t know if I’m fond of their promotion on it: In my neighborhood you can buy one pie for 99cents or buy 2 for a dollar. Of course I opt for the better deal thus eating more. I try to stay away from McD by default though..

  4. OK its August, its hot outside and I walked over to McDonalds and got a soft serve in a cup. My secretary say hey that’s 500 calories Bud. So I searched and found your website indicating the ice cream cone is only 150 calories so I think AHA! I can handle that. Then I think wait is this is a Mc D’s scam?… the cone is 150 calories, who in the world knows what the ice cream is!? So if you only want the cone…enjoy!

  5. Ken, the entire cone + ice cream is 230 calories according to McDonalds published nutrition information. I don’t know where you got the notion that the cone is 150 without the ice cream but that’s just wrong.

    Enjoy the whole dam thing.

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