“We all want what’s best for our kids,” says a disembodied voiceover, during McDonald’s latest commercial. Set to a moody, acoustic version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” the fast-food chain unveiled a healthier upgrade of the Chicken McNugget, a favourite among kids and the young (and possibly clogged) at heart: They’re now lower in calories and sodium, with no preservatives or antibiotics added.
The new recipe, quietly rolled out across Canada over the last month, is more in line with “the cares and concerns of the modern-day guest,” Nicola Pitman, director of menu management at McDonald’s Canada, told the Toronto Star. Interestingly, along with the highly underrated Filet-O-Fish, the humble McNugget is considered one of McDonald’s healthiest menu options by nutritionists, a dubious honour at best. But the tweaks — 10 fewer calories, 10 per cent less sodium and no more of the apocalyptic-sounding preservative “TBHQ” — are still drawing ire from health experts. As Bill Jeffrey, executive director of the Centre for Health Science and Law in Ottawa, told the CBC: “What they’re advocating is so far removed from good nutrition, it’s almost kind of laughable.” (For more on the enormous chasm between most “healthy” fast-food options and good nutrition, click here.)
In other words, whether or not the nuggets feature all-white meat and zero shelf life–boosting compounds, “what’s best for our kids” is probably still, well, vegetables.