The Truth About McDonald’s Oatmeal

Just how healthy is it? Food writer and New York Times blogger Mark Bittman weighs in.

By Reader's Digest Editors

With much hoopla, McDonald’s recently launched oatmeal as a new menu item. Ostensibly, the fast food giant added the cooked oats as a healthy alternative to such breakfast mainstays as hotcakes and sausage and the Egg McMuffin. But just how healthy is it? Food writer and New York Times blogger Mark Bittman weighs in with a post at the, How to Make Oatmeal … Wrong.

1. It’s more expensive than a double-cheeseburger: $2.38 per serving in New York.

2. “Cream” is automatically added. Bittman uses quotation marks because the cream contains seven ingredients, only two of them are actual dairy. Brown sugar is optional, but is added unless a customer specifically requests otherwise.

3. The oatmeal alone contains seven ingredients, including “natural flavor.” Bittman says, “Real oatmeal contains no ingredients; rather, it is an ingredient.”

4. McDonald’s description vs. Bittman’s description:

McD’s: “100% natural whole-grain oats,” “plump raisins,” “sweet cranberries” and “crisp fresh apples”

Bittman’s: “Oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.”

5. Comparing other foods:

*McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal: 290 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 32 grams sugar

*A typical 2 ounce Snickers bar has less sugar and calories: 280 calories, 14 grams fat, 30 grams sugar

*An Egg McMuffin has 10 more calories: 300 calories, 10 grams fat, 3 grams sugar

2 Things to Know About Real Oatmeal

1. Quaker Oatmeal takes 5 minutes to make; not the instant kind, the regular kind.

2. If you cannot spare the time to cook oatmeal and put it in a container you still don’t have to wait in line. Bittman suggests that you “put some rolled oats (instant not necessary) in a glass or bowl, along with a teeny pinch of salt, sugar or maple syrup or honey, maybe some dried fruit. Add milk and let stand for a minute (or 10).”

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

Sending Message
how we use your e-mail

  • Your Comments

    • molly

      dang it, now i want their oatmeal

    • azink769

      Point taken, but please make realistic comparisons. A Snickers bar has a whole lot more fat and worse ingredients than MD ‘oatmeal’.

    • Jello Beyonce

      But it makes a darn good enema. The 11 weird ingredients add extra cleaning & lubing power. Easy in, easy out.

    • ImNumberOne34244534534

      I always ask them to leave off the brown sugar when I have my oatmeal with my Big Mac and large french fries.

      • jcfinley1

        Snark, Snark, Snark

    • Sunshine

      But it’s so good,I eat it cuz it’s good not for a health kick. I still like it.

    • Sum Dum Phuk

      Like we need the NYT to tell us McD isn’t the healthiest of foods.