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McDonald's: The Cheapest, Most Nutritious Food In History?

The Freakonomics of a Double Cheeseburger

McDonald's: The Cheapest, Most Nutritious Food In History?

The nutritional pot was stirred and shaken this week with Freakonomics writer Stephen Dubner's controversial podcast suggesting that the world's "cheapest, most nutritious and bountiful food" is none other than the McDouble cheeseburger.

Cue mass outrage from sustainable, organics-loving types. But stop and look at the figures for a minute. The burger may reside on the junk food blacklist, but at 390 calories it packs a kick of protein, fibre, and calcium that's hard to beat. Add to that the fact that you can get one on practically every North American street corner, at little more than a buck, and it's little wonder that Dubner and Co. have hailed the burger as the "one of the unsung wonders of modern life."

According to an article in the New York Post, the value for money of the burger is incomparable. I can relate. When I was backpacking and living like a Dickensian character, those golden arches were the best option I could afford. Fact: a meal deal was sustenance, as close to a 'balanced meal' as I could get at the time.

As the Post's Kyle Smith argues, in this economically pinched age, the divide between rich and poor is rarely more stark than when it comes to food. Fresh produce and quality meat are increasingly becoming luxury items that are scarcely affordable for many people.

"If the macrobiotic Marxists had their way, of course, there’d be no McDonald’s, Walmart or Exxon, because they have visions of an ideal world ..." writes Smith. "That’s not going to work for the average person, but who cares if they go hungry because they can’t afford a burger anymore? Let them eat kale!"

What do you make of Smith's rant and the Freakonomics of McDonald's?