McDonald's CEO Don Thompson doesn't understand why the fast-food chain is blamed for contributing to the obesity epidemic when he lost 20 pounds last year eating McDonald's food every day.
"It's calories in, calories out," Thompson told ABC News Sept. 28. "You have to watch what you're putting in. Some days I have a Southwest Salad. Some days, a Big Mac. Some days I have fries. I can't give up fries, so I'll go extra on the treadmill, extra on the elliptical."
Thompson, 50, noted there are far fewer obese Europeans than Americans, probably because they're more active, eat less and walk more every day than Americans.
Last week, McDonald's announced it would promote healthier eating by giving customers the choice of a salad, fruit or vegetable as a substitute for french fries in its value meals.
The fast-food giant also plans to overhaul its marketing directed toward children by promoting milk, juice and water (instead of sugary sodas) on its menu and in advertising.
The changes were announced two days after rival Burger King began offering lower-calorie, reduced-fat french fries in a bid to appeal to health-conscious customers.
While fast-food restaurants are often blamed for the staggering spikes in obesity patterns, Thompson said controlling one's weight is a personal — not a corporate — responsibility.
He echoed comments made by McDonald's executive chef, Daniel Coudreaut, who said McDonald's food is not unhealthy and shouldn't be blamed for the obesity epidemic.
"I don't see anything on the menu that's unhealthy," said Coudreaut. "If we were to close our doors of all of the McDonald's tomorrow, the obesity problem would not go away."