The first McDonald's opened its doors in 1940 in San Bernadino, California. It was a drive-in barbecue restaurant with car hop service run by Dick and Mac McDonald. In 1948, McDonald's changed its style a bit, to a self-serve restaurant featuring wildly popular 15-cent hamburgers. Over the years, the chain grew into an international giant which still features the hamburgers that made the chain a success. The menu expanded right along with the restaurant chain, which also offers dessert items, including a small vanilla ice cream cone.
McDonald's small vanilla cone contains reduced-fat ice cream. There are 150 calories in this 3.2 oz. dessert. Taken by itself, the small vanilla cone does not contain an exorbitant number of calories, and is an acceptable treat if you indulge in it only occasionally. Based on a general diet containing 2,000 calories per day, McDonald's small vanilla cone provides 7.5 percent of the day's calories. Of course, if you have a very high-calorie lunch or dinner at the same time, it may be best to skip dessert altogether.
Fat and Cholesterol
A small vanilla cone at McDonald's contains 3.5 g total fat, with 2 g saturated fat. It also has 15 mg of cholesterol. Fat is an important part of your diet; you need it to help absorb certain nutrients and keep your cell membranes intact. However, having too much fat in your diet can pose a problem, including increased risk of heart problems and elevated cholesterol levels. According to the MayoClinic, you should not have more than 78 g total fat, 22 g of saturated fat and 300 mg of cholesterol in your diet each day.
Carbohydrates and Sugar
McDonald's small vanilla cone contains 24 g of carbohydrates, 18 g of which are in the form of added sugars. Sugar offers little in nutritive value, save for additional calories. In fact, eating a lot of foods with added sugars can lead to weight gain and tooth decay. The American Heart Association advises that women get no more than 100 calories from added sugars per day and men get no more than 150 calories; at about 4 calories per gram, the sugar in the small vanilla cone adds up to 72 calories.
There are 60 mg of sodium in McDonald's small vanilla cone. You do need some foods containing sodium in your diet every day. Sodium helps keep your blood pressure and fluids stable. However, eating too many foods that are high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease over time. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should restrict your daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. A small vanilla cone at McDonald's does not add a significant amount of sodium.