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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 24, 2007

Why the Hugo Outrage? These Drinks Are Worse

By Mark Sisson
13 Comments

You may have heard about McDonald’s new supersize drink that they refuse to admit is a supersize drink. Hugo (no relation to Lost) is the latest hypocritical atrocity from the Golden Arches. Guess it didn’t take them long to depart from the “we’re healthier now, honest” marketing of late. The Hugo contains over 400 calories (that’s a meal right there). At 42 ounces, this corn syrup catastrophe is priced at less than one dollar. It’s the special obesity value menu.

Hugo derision is already all over the health and consumer blogs and social networking sites (here, here, here, here, and here…and here). It remains to be seen what sort of impact (if any) the blogosphere will have in garnering public outrage over Hugo. But let’s think about this from a different perspective. Everyone cheered when McDonald’s canned its Supersize menu. Supersize-in-disguise Hugo is drawing plenty of flack.

But why pick on Hugo? The following drinks are:

– just as high, or far higher in calories than Hugo

– are massively popular and are consumed by millions daily

– are equally unhealthy

– are much more expensive – so you can be fat and broke

– and yet…they garner zero public outrage!

It’s too easy to pick on McDonald’s and everyone does. But where is the outrage over:
Starbucks: their much-loved grande frappuccinos and creamy “fruit” whipped delights are almost all in the 500+ calorie range and pack upwards of 80 grams of sugar (easily rivaling any decent milkshake – because these are milkshakes).

Jamba Juice and Robeks: these “healthy” fruit juice smoothies are entirely comprised of worthless, sugary juice, ice cream, sorbet or yogurt, and can top out at over 600 calories and 140 grams of pure sugar!

Even a McDonald’s milkshake has less sugar than a “healthy” smoothie. I don’t see anyone fretting over coffee drinks and fruit drinks that are terrible for health. In fact people seem to feel good about slurping these sugar buckets. We are drinking excessive, empty calories without so much as a second thought.

I’m no advocate of McDonald’s, and the new Hugo is both unethical and hypocritical, but let’s not pretend a coffeehouse with “culture” or a few pictures of strawberries are any better.

[tags] counter-marketing, Hugo, Starbucks, calories, sweetener, beverages, obesity epidemic, McDonald’s, Robek’s, Jamba Juice [/tags]

TAGS:  Hype

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13 Comments on "Why the Hugo Outrage? These Drinks Are Worse"

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Crystal
Crystal
9 years 2 months ago

“Hugo” Sounds like the name of a hurricane. Wouldn’t you just love to see on the Mcdonald’s menu, OBESITY VALUE MEAL options. Maybe a little candid camera, but the reactions would be funny.

Sara
9 years 2 months ago

Ha, I’d like to see that on the menu. Or maybe categories, like “Healthy Section” and “Get Sick and Die” section. and perhaps a “Daily diabetes special”.

Crystal
Crystal
9 years 2 months ago

Speaking of Hugo from lost. He’s one of my favorite characters but if he really wanted to get into his character, he’d lose the weight. The “stranded on a island diet” would work. But, then again Skipper from gilligan’s island never lost any weight and that show was pretty realistic. HeHe.

Bradford
Bradford
9 years 2 months ago

So why is it really called “Hugo?” Does hugo mean “Huge” in McLatin? If so, then you can’t say McDonald’s didn’t warn us.

Nibbles
Nibbles
9 years 2 months ago

It seems the whole country is turning into Texas.
“More and Bigger” isn’t definitely better.

Sara
9 years 2 months ago

Nibbles, couldn’t agree more!

Robert
Robert
9 years 2 months ago
I want to take issue with what you say about Jamba Juice and Robeks. While some smoothies like chocolate moo’d at Jamba Juice can carry a lot of calories, both places have smoothies in the 200-300 calorie range. Read a good nutrition book, there are tons out there but most do not get read because they are too in-depth and people just want the fad diet books. Also, most smoothies have far fewer than 160 grams of sugar and they are not “pure sugar” even if the label says sugar. There is a BIG differnce betwen the sugar in an… Read more »
Oxybeles
Oxybeles
9 years 2 months ago

To add to Robert’s comments…

Jamba Juice does offer a Jamba Light, made with Splenda, and an All Fruit Version (Fruit and Juice), which equates to FIVE servings of Fruit at one time (24 oz size of “Strawberry Whirl” contains 76g Carbs, however); the question remains are these better alternatives than fresh fruit, water, and/or a Protein Smoothie?

Oxybeles
Oxybeles
9 years 2 months ago

On a side note….

Is the Hugo, similar to the family size Yugo, a.k.a. the WEGO?

Younger readers need not apply.

Donna
Donna
9 years 2 months ago

Crystal,
I’ve been thru every Hurricane In Louisiana except the past 9 years. If they ever have one named HUGO- We better all leave the country till it’s over with…L.O.L. Louisiana does not need Hurricanes bigger than Hurricane Katrina & Hurricane Rita-Those 2 were big enough! Donna

Nibbles
Nibbles
9 years 2 months ago

It seems that the “direction” these shakes and malteds are heading in is more = better. While in the case of Jamba Juice, things like wheatgrass shots are a nutritional supplement, Their seems to be no additives in this supplement. However, their is sugar and starches added in the shakes.

Mark
9 years 2 months ago

Excellent conversation, all. Robert, I appreciate the different perspective. You make a very valid point. In general, however, I agree with Nibbles that “more is more” seems to be the general direction. Just wait for a video we’re posting today on the general trend…oh boy…

Cheapskate
Cheapskate
9 years 1 month ago

I have a question. Why would you buy a 42 ounce drink at a store where you can refill you 12 ounce cup as many times as you like?

I’ll take “diet”.

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