Studies show that just hours after a person eats a typical fast-food lunch, fat globules start to collect in the blood vessels. It’s easy to see why repeated consumption of these unhealthy meals can contribute to heart trouble, diabetes and obesity. Blame this bad news on an overload of calories, fat and sodium — the major concerns of a fast-food-heavy diet. All tie in to what may be the biggest (pun intended) problem with fast food: portion sizes.
The film “Super Size Me” shed light on mega-portions — and not coincidentally, “supersize” options vanished from certain fast-food menus after the film’s release. Still, oversize servings are the norm for the fast-food industry. McDonald’s has unveiled a one-third-pound Angus burger, which you wash down with a 42-ounce beverage called a Hugo. That’s roughly the equivalent of 477 calories of cola. Some establishments are being a bit sneakier: What was once a Great Biggie order of fries at Wendy’s was reintroduced in 2006 as a large. It’s 0.2 ounces smaller but still in excess of 500 calories.
Best advice: When ordering fast food, choose the smallest size, regardless of its name. Stick with single-patty burgers or order a kids’ size. And be sure to steer clear of these foods if you want to keep your nutrition on track, even at the drive-through.
1. ARBY’S ROAST TURKEY & SWISS
Sure, it sounds healthy. But with those supersize slabs of bread, you get 725 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat and more than a full day’s worth of sodium! If you must, order it without the mayo to make it healthier and save half of the sandwich for the next day.
2. SUBWAY FOOT-LONG SWEET ONION CHICKEN TERIYAKI SUB
Don’t be fooled by the Subway “health halo.” This sandwich delivers 9 grams of fat, not to mention nearly 800 calories. On top of that, you’ll be getting more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium with your sub. Most adults should consume less than 2,300 milligrams per day.
3. CINNABON CARAMEL PECANBON
At 1,100 calories, 141 grams of carbohydrate, 8 grams of protein and 56 grams of fat (no, that isn’t a typo), this sticky-sweet treat from the food court is more like a dirty and dangerous trick. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of this monster “snack.”
4. MCDONALD’S FILET-O-FISH
Usually fish is a healthier choice than a burger but not in this case. The McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish contains 380 calories, which isn’t that outrageous — until you consider the 18 grams of saturated fat. To make this sandwich less of an insult to your heart, ask for no mayonnaise or tartar sauce; at about 100 calories per tablespoon, these condiments can add up fast.
5. BURGER KING TENDERCRISP CHICKEN SANDWICH
The Tendercrisp will fill you up with 800 calories and 46 grams of fat. Add a side and/or soda to your sandwich, and you’ll be getting way more than a full day’s allotment of calories and fat in one sitting — without a single respectable serving of veggies or fruit in sight.
6. TACO BELL VOLCANO NACHOS
With a name like “volcano,” you can expect the worst. And you won’t be disappointed: Weighing in at 1,000 calories, 62 grams of fat and 1,930 milligrams of sodium, this nacho “snack” has all the makings of a nutritional disaster. Its one redeeming quality is its 16 grams of fiber, a testament to the sheer volume of this volatile side dish.
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