McDonald’s Oatmeal with Modified Foodstarch, Maltodextrin, Barley Malt Extract and Caramel Color

12 Jan

McDonald’s Oatmeal with Modified Foodstarch, Maltodextrin, Barley Malt Extract and Caramel Color

America’s favorite fast food joint rang in 2011 with a new breakfast offering: McDonald’s new Fruit and Maple Oatmeal. Now keep in mind this is the same McDonald’s that has a treasured history of half-heartedly offering healthy menu choices and then citing low sales as the impetus for their certain and often rapid removal. Remember the McLean Burger?

While the concept of oatmeal is commendable, leave it to McDonald’s to louse it up. Wherein a typical 1 cup cooked oatmeal serving made with water would have just 150 calories (and maybe an extra 50 calories with some berries), McDonald’s bumps it up to 290 calories (and 60 grams of carbohydrate!) by adding sugary dried fruit, brown sugar and then mixing it with light cream.

Even the “oatmeal” component of the breakfast (which should consist of “rolled oats”) has the following:

  • Modified foodstarch
  • Maltodextrin
  • Barley malt extract
  • Caramel color
  • Natural maple flavor (but no maple syrup…)

The serving size is larger than it needs be – a 12 oz cup of cooked oatmeal – that, even with all the additives, still tastes kind of bland and watery. The whole thing emanates an odd citrus flavor – likely from the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) preservative used to prevent the packaged apples – the same packaged apples used in their Apple Dippers – from turning brown.

If you’re looking for someone else to make you oatmeal in the morning, a better tasting option is Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal. While Starbucks’ version does have some added ingredients, it comes a lot closer to tasting like it’s worth $3.00.

And lastly, while McDonald’s in the US pretends to get healthier – check out today’s Wall Street Journal article about what McDonald’s is doing in Japan. The McDonald’s executives there have no qualms about beefing up – and bragging about – their already-bulging burgers that now feature tortilla chips, fried hash browns and chili toppers!

5 Responses to “McDonald’s Oatmeal with Modified Foodstarch, Maltodextrin, Barley Malt Extract and Caramel Color”

  1. Trish January 12, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    Interesting. Didn’t know McDonald’s offered oatmeal. Good to know what’s in it. And thanks for the healthier alternative at Starbucks. I remember friends in France telling me how much healthier and more ‘gourmet’ their choices were there, as opposed to here in the U.S. Hope McDonalds one day makes a change.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Nice to virtually meet you :-)

  2. Chandos Schultz January 27, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    Don’t let this steer you away from McD’s oatmeal. It has 5g of Fiber, 5g of protein, and is flat out delicious. And it’s only $1.99. I wonder why the fiber and protein content were not mentioned? Especially since this is, “Fiber is the Future!” Kind of biased if you ask me. The writer of this piece is clearly not a fan Mcd’s. Not too mention it is extremely filling. I have been eating this oatmeal everyday for the past week, and with a few other small changes in my diet, have already lost 5 pounds. Starbucks oatmeal is bland and tasteless by comparison. Come on people, I know Vegetarians who treat their bodies like temples, and still have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. You have to enjoy life. And McD’s oatmeal is the bomb! ENJOY IT!!!

    • Amber W April 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

      I am glad you posted this article and have enjoyed others as well. Too often people are steered by marketing initiatives towards “healthy” items; however the hidden processed additives are what create problems. I enjoy the Starbucks oatmeal and have it plain (without the nuts/dried fruit). Sometimes I will add a packet of honey for natural sweetener. I have found that people who do not like “natural” foods in their whole state are often those that are only accustomed to processed foods, salt, hfcs, etc. Their tastebuds have become used to the chemically created sensations and tastes. As for those vegetarians and vegans that treat their bodies like temples yet have health conditions – it is a combination of the foods they eat and the lack of exercise they perform. You can treat your body like a temple with quality whole foods, but if you never run, walk, workout you are only completing half of the equation.

      • Chandos Schultz June 3, 2011 at 8:00 am #

        @Amber, I agree that exercise is EXTREMELY important. No doubt about that. I don’t do it as regularly as I should, but try my best to do something physical at least 3-4 times a week.

        But I also believe that genetics plays a HUGE role in how we are made up as humans. Example: A vegetarian who does everything right, and still dies of cancer, as opposed to a lifelong smoker, and red meat eater who lives until 100. I think a lot of the time it is simply genetics that plays the biggest part in how long we last on this earth.

        I realize my comment at the end about “enjoying life” is a little misleading. I am not saying just throw caution to the wind, but I am also an advocate of not being so critical of everything we put into our bodies. I mean everyone should enjoy a Twinkie every once in a while!!! :-)

  3. Mike April 28, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    If McD’s oatmeal is like the high-fiber version of Quaker Oats, the fiber is mainly from maltodextrin. Comparing Quaker boxes, the high-fiber version claims 8g of soluble fiber vs. 1g for the normal version (both Maple & Brown Sugar Instant), but there’s a footnote on the high-fiber version: “1g soluble fiber from oats.” That is, it has the same measly amount of oat fiber as the regular version.

    The question I’m trying to answer is if there are any studies that show maltodextrin has any significant good effects. As a highly processed powder, I’m guessing not. It may be a carb you can’t digest, but it’s certainly not a whole grain.

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