McDonald’s New York City and the Big Stupid
Michael Applebaum, MD, JD, FCLM


There is a lesson at the end of this rant that can help you succeed at weight loss.

But first, the rant:

They had their chance.

They blew it.

But what would you expect from the same people/place that invited Mehmet Oz, the IMHO nutritional homicide killer and diet idiot savant sans the savant, into their house?

For weight loss advice no less. See how well he’s done with AdipOprah.


Beginning  July 19, 2008, certain restaurant chains will be fined if they do not disclose Calorie information in a prominent spot on their menus.

Presumably, the reason for the legislation leading to the fine is to combat the overweight/obesity epidemic.

“In a 27-page opinion, Judge Holwell accepted one of the city’s main arguments for posting calorie counts — that doing so would help reduce obesity, which city officials say has reached epidemic levels. 

“It seems reasonable to expect that some consumers will use the information” on menu boards and menus “to select lower-calorie meals,” the judge wrote. He added that “these choices will lead to a lower incidence of obesity.”

Wanna bet?

There are clear intents here, e.g., to convince consumers to purchase items other than the ones they enjoy or to go elsewhere for their food.

“But the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, called Judge Holwell’s decision ‘a victory for New Yorkers.’

‘It will give people information they need, where they need it,’ he said. ‘If you want to use it, great, and if you don’t, that’s entirely your right.’

“If you want to use it, great.”

But the brainiacs and Oz fans in NYC missed a real opportunity to get it right.


The question is how can this legislation be used most effectively?

There is only problem that results in overweight/obesity. More Calories in than out.

Controlling caloric intake is clearly the most efficient way to lose weight.

But the problem all expert diets create is that they starve dieters into failure.

To successfully lose weight, the average (beginning) dieter who is not an unwaveringly committed self-hating self-abusing self-destructive masochist, should cut back no more than 125-250 Calories per day or 10% of total pre-diet daily caloric intake, whichever is less.

Do you know why only certain chains are subject to this law?

Because they excel at quality control.

The menu rule only applies to restaurants that serve standardized portion sizes and have 15 or more locations nationwide…”

The “standardized portion size” is the key.

Think about it. How much variation is there in the taste, size and consistency of a McD French fry from store to store? Or a Big Mac?

About none.

For example, a Big Mac has 540 Calories. Reliably.

If a customer only ate 75% or ¾ of a Big Mac, he or she would save 135 Calories. Reliably.

This is the average caloric equivalent of running 1.35 miles.

And this is pretty reliable. (Did I mention that already?)

Certainly much more reliable than food that is made at home or at places not designed to feed the masses quickly.

In fact, in the real world, there is likely no more reliable and reproducible way to cut Calories than by simply eat a lesser amount of fast food or processed food (such as sliced bread).

And sandwiches are ideal. They are usually a simple regular geometric shape – round, elliptical or square – easily divided into equal portion sizes.

Any variation from perfect is likely due to the eccentric placement of a pickle slice. A negligible matter.

If a customer chose not to eat only 25% of their Big Mac once a day, every day, 7 days a week, he or she would save 945 Calories per week or, in a year 49,140 Calories.

But the Oz-blinded NYC morons missed this important educational opportunity.

We are nearing the lesson and the restaurants should pick up on it and do it themselves, IMHO.

This can generate some additional good will with their customers, and if nothing else, educate a few of them on how to properly lose weight.

They can even offer a small handout with the simple guidelines to effective and successful weight loss eating their food.

A complete lunch of a Big Mac and Calorie-free soda contains 540 Calories. Eat only ¾ of the sandwich and the total is 405 Calories or 20.25% of the foolishly recommended 2000 Calories per day. (That is another story.)

Still, a modest caloric intake for lunch.

So, instead of posting only Calorie information, they could have suggested/required the restaurants to post pictures like these (for some representative McD sandwiches) and done way more good:


If your sandwich looks like this and it is cut  along the red and green lines…


It will look like this.
If you do not eat the part in white…


You will save this many Calories:









Calories Saved







Double Cheeseburger


Quarter Pounder®


Quarter Pounder® with Cheese


Double Quarter Pounder® with Cheese


Big Mac®


Big N' Tasty®


Big N' Tasty® with Cheese














Calories Saved




Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich



Premium Crispy Chicken Classic Sandwich



Premium Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich



Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich



Premium Grilled Chicken Ranch BLT Sandwich



Premium Crispy Chicken Ranch BLT Sandwich



Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich