“Healthy” Fast Food Surprises

15 08 2011

Jessica Peacock

We all need to eat on the go occasionally, and fast food restaurants are an easy and convenient choice when there’s not a lot of time. Some restaurants and chains even have special menus or options targeted to those of us looking to lose weight or stay healthy. However, even though something sounds healthy enough, we still have to do our research and be informed! Many “healthy” options out there aren’t as good for us as we hope. Here are some examples, taken from information provided by Time magazine and The Consumerist:
First, let’s compare some salads, which have to be healthier, right?

Wendy’s Garden Sensations Mandarin Chicken Salad: 550 calories, 26g of fat, 53g of carbs, and 33g of sugars
VS.
Wendy’s ¼ pounder Double Stack: 420 calories, 20g of fat, 34g of carbs, and 7g of sugars

McDonald’s Asian Salad with Crispy Chicken and Newman’s Own Lowfat Sesame Ginger Dressing: 470 calories, 19.7g of fat, 48g of carbs, and 22g of sugars
VS.
McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger: 440 calories, 26g of fat, 40g of carbs, and 9g of sugars

Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad: 840 calories, 45g of fat, 80g of carbs, and 10g of sugars
VS.
Taco Bell Chicken Grilled Stuft Burrito: 640 calories, 23g of fat, 73g of carbs, and 6g of sugars

Wow! As you can see, sometimes a small portion of a not-so-good option is better than a regular “healthy” meal.

It’s also important not just to compare calorie and fat content – think also about the nutritional quality of foods you’ll get when you dine out.
Here are some other interesting surprises found in “healthy” restaurant options:

A foot-long Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich from Subway has 760 calories and 2,020mg of sodium — that’s 520mg more salt than the USDA recommends that children, those with high blood pressure, the elderly and African Americans should consume in an entire day. The sandwich also has 34g of sugar, which is all you should reasonably get in a day as well.

Applebee’s Signature Grilled Sirloin with Garlic Shrimp is on the “Under 550 Calories” menu and has only 500 calories per serving, but it also has a whopping 21g of fat and 2,440mg of sodium — 140mg over the upper limit of the USDA’s daily recommendation. It also contains 51g of protein, which is more than the average recommended daily serving of protein.

McDonald’s new Fruit and Maple Oatmeal has more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than an Egg McMuffin. The Premium Caesar Salad, while listed as containing “grilled chicken breast fillet,” is actually made of reconstituted rib meat!

The next time you make the choice to eat at a fast food restaurant, do some homework first. Is the “healthy” option really so healthy?

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17 08 2011
Jessica Peacock

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