After axing its “creepy king mascot,” Burger King became the latest major fast-food chain to add oatmeal to its menu this week, a trend spurred by consumer demand for healthier choices. (And probably the fact that the profit margin on oats must be pretty damn high.) But a closer look at fast-food oatmeal raises the question: At what point does added sugar negate the healthiness of oats? Here’s a breakdown of how the different companies stack up.
Burger King Fruit Topped Maple Flavor Quaker Oatmeal
Sugar: 29 grams (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)
Weird ingredient: Burger King has not yet published the ingredient list for its oatmeal, according to a call to customer service, so God only knows.
Corporate bloviating: “At a time when so many families are looking for better-for-you meal offerings on-the-go, Quaker’s partnership with Burger King Corp. provides a flavorful, whole grain choice when eating outside the home.”
Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal with Brown Sugar, Fruit, and Nut Medley
Sugar: 33 grams (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)
Weird ingredient: Niacinamide, a B-vitamin additive.
Corporate bloviating: “Start the day off right with our warm and hearty Perfect Oatmeal – 100% whole grain goodness made-to-order with your choice of brown sugar, dried fruit and nuts.”
Jamba Juice Berry Cherry Pecan Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Sugar: 28 grams (more than 2 tablespoons)
Weird ingredient: Jamba Juice is cagey about revealing its ingredients, preferring only to state if products contain potential allergens like tree nuts or soy. Odd.
Corporate bloviating: “Start your day off right with organic steel-cut oats slow cooked with soymilk and topped with your choice of toppings. It’s a hot bowl of morning motivation.”
Chick-fil-A Multigrain Oatmeal with Toppings
Sugar: 21 grams (almost 2 tablespoons)
Weird ingredient: Malic acid, which lends a tart taste, like citric acid.
Corporate bloviating: “Warm & wholesome, our multigrain, steel-cut oatmeal is first slow-cooked in kettles the old-fashioned way.”
McDonald’s Fruit & Maple Oatmeal
Sugar: 32 grams (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)
Weird ingredient: Mostly found in the cream that McD’s dumps on top. One example: sodium phosphate. Little-known fact: If you search on Google for “sodium phosphate,” the first link you will get is from NIH, and it says, “Sodium phosphate is used to completely empty the colon … before a colonoscopy.” Yep.
Corporate bloviating: “See what happens when wholesome meets delicious – your taste buds will sing!”