I’m minding my own business and then I see in Yahoo News:  “The Five Worst ‘Healthy’ Fast Food Meals for Kids

Okay, now I’m curious.  I’m always hearing how terrible fast food meals are for kids, so I take a look.

The very first paragraph starts:

 “Calling them contributors to the childhood obesity epidemic, a non-profit advocacy group made up of nutritionists and physicians has named the five worst “healthy” fast-food meals for kids …”

The second paragraph says:

 “Frankly, passing off these meals as ‘healthy’ ought to be a crime at a time when 16.9 million American children and adolescents are obese,” PCRM president Dr. Neal Barnard wrote in a blog post this week.

Now most people are not going to read this long article.  They’re going to see the horrors of the crapola that is being foisted off as food to innocent children who then immediately explode into fat children.

The contents of these meals are about what you might expect.  Burger or chicken (grilled), fries, apple slices, juice or low-fat milk.

I kept reading.  I kept reading after the list of the five worst meals.

And that’s where I (finally) found:

 “The recommended daily allowances for a child age 4 or older is 2,000 calories, 65 grams of fat, 20 grams of saturated fat, 300 milligrams of cholesterol, 2,400 milligrams of sodium (sugar is not a daily nutritional requirement). All five of these meals fall well within that range, though it’s easy to see how eating several fast-food meals each week could really add up.”  [Emphasis added.]

Do the math (I did).  There is basically nothing wrong with these meals.

So WTF?  This is a non-story.

You might not want to feed your kids this every day, three times a day; but I doubt that is happening.

So who is this group that is so sure these fast food kid meals that are making kids fat?  That would be Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).  And what’s the connection between these fast food meals for kids and responsible medicine?

Well, PCRM’s name does not describe one of their fundamental missions.  They pro-vegetarian/vegan.  They don’t like these meals because they contain meat and dairy product.

Now I have no problem with people eating a vegan/vegetarian diet.  To each their own.  But using fat kids to hide your true agenda is pretty despicable.

And especially shame on every “news” organization that posted this article with the highly inflammatory title and leading off with the childhood obesity bug-a-boo.  Clearly, the title and the beginning of the article have nothing to do with the real message, which is PCRM thinks a vegan/vegetarian diet is more healthy for kids.

By the way, someone should let PCRM know that, yes, Virginia, there are fat vegans and vegetarians.



  1. What about portion sizes? Not all kids are eating kid sized meals and many of the adult sized portions in a regular combo meal at your average fast food joint are quite large, often too large for me although I try to force myself to eat it anyway, primarily because I hate to waste food. I think portion and frequency have to do with how healthy or unhealthy these meals are and how they are affecting us. I have recently cut down on fast food in the past month because I got into the habit of having fast food almost every day, so I cut down and have went back to eating more grocery food items, and my belly pooch and thighs have already slimmed back down to normal. Not only that, I have a lot more energy and don’t feel as stuffed and sluggish. I’m not saying this would be the case for everyone and I’m not saying that fast food is not something we can enjoy once in a while, but I personally think the trick is not eating it multiple times a week and not ordering enough to make you absolutely stuffed at the end of your meal because they are awfully high in fat and calories.

    • Ashely, this post is about meals that target children – not anything else on the menu. I firmly believe there are no “bad” foods. As you have stated before, you are a naturally slim person, and I am sure that when you say “slimmed back down to normal”, you mean “normal” for your own body. You might want to check out the online posts of Gerald Rubin PhD at and

      He seems to have made a focus of calorie-dense foods and he has some interesting thoughts on the subject.

  2. Good catch! Thanks for the info. I have to ask; who’s got the disposable income to feed their kids take-out/fast food 3-4 times a week? My kid is lucky if he gets it once or twice a month.

  3. I am the author of the the website that tanterri is referring to. As the webmaster I took note of the hits from this blog in my web statistics program. Marketing a website is quite an effort. My point of view is that there is no childhood obesity epidemic to begin with. If you simply observe kids, you just do not see it. I consider this entire affair to be an artifact on a flawed and biased Body Mass Index assessment tool. The BMI is biased for adults but even more so in children. With my background in applied mathematics, I was able to use another researcher’s determination of an equation and parameters that describes how child’s weight increases relative to height as he or she grows. I looked at boys of 5 different ages and, in many cases, the weight at the 95 percentile designated as the lower limit for obesity in a child was about 10 pounds too low. SOME CHILDREN ARE BEING DEFINED OBESE AT A WEIGHT THAT IS TEN POUND TOO LOW. Our children are dealing with all kinds of oppression based on a false issue. This is so tragic, especially because stigmatization has gotten worse and attempts to lose weight do not work in the long run anyway. If you have a scientific interest you might want to check my specific webpage Look at the chart in the middle of the page that says a lot about erroneous assessment of obesity in children.

    • Thank you for posting Dr. Rubin. I found your sites very interesting and am glad that I now have them in my box of resources.

  4. Good job sleuthing PCRM’s hidden agenda. I just want to mention that you are so correct that there is no relationship between types of food eaten and obesity. The number of calories, rather than the nature of the calories, is what regulates appetite and food intake. Nature is trustworthy, people by and large, are not. Here is a sane report from the otherwise ant-obesity Downey Report:

    The whole ‘Junk foods’ anti -McDonalds thing is totally specious. Yet the cultural energy behind such vilification is tremendous, and many otherwise sane members of the HAES community often fall into this trap of false nutrition ideals. The fallout is enormous. For example food pantries are often afraid to supply their clients with cheap calorie dense foods. Instead they spend huge resources on fruits and vegetables and end up not being able to meet the caloric needs of their clients or having to limit the size their client base. It is well known that food insecurity is related to obesity. So the specious fear of “junk foods” ends up boomeranging and causing just what is feared, more obesity.

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