Fast food companies probably shouldn't be responsible for educating kids about nutrition. Fortunately, American schoolchildren are no longer subject to McDonald's bizarre diet advice. The Washington Post reports that the fast food giant has ended its controversial nutrition campaign, which some parents and health experts argued was send mixed messages to kids about healthy eating.
Condemned as a propaganda tool, the program sent Iowa science teacher-turned McDonald's brand ambassador John Cisna into classrooms to speak about his questionable fast food diet. Cisna rose to fame after he claimed to lose 37 pounds eating McDonald's three times per day for 90 days. The story was later turned into an documentary (essentially the anti-Super Size Me) called 540 Meals: Choices Make the Difference. With the help of McDonald's franchisees, Cisna went on to spread the word about the "importance of choice and balance" at more than 90 high schools and colleges around the country. A Change.org petition that called for an end to the campaign launched last October received nearly 90,000 signatures.
A rep for McDonald's tells the Washington Post that Cisna is no longer visiting classrooms but instead focusing on "internal and local community events." Educational materials associated with the program are also no longer being distributed to schools.
Of course McDonald's isn't the only company that's been accused of spreading misinformation about nutrition. The soda industry has invested huge sums of money in research that refutes connections between obesity and sugary drinks. One study funded by Coke and Pepsi suggested that diet soda was just as good as water. Coke is also known for making deals with health experts to claim that soda products can be a "healthy treat."
Video: 5 Reasons McDonald's is on the Brink of Failure