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December 11, 2007 at 3:30 AMComments: 1 Faves: 0

Top 10 Diet Myths: Myth 10, Fast Food Chicken Is Good for You

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

It may be the end of a long work day, or that you are running late to your child's soccer game, but either way, you are hungry! We all know that fast food isn't the healthiest choice, but sometimes it seems like the only option. Before you buy a chicken salad or sandwich and feel good about yourself for staying away from the "more fattening burgers", read this! A recently released report shows that some fast food items with chicken in them have MORE calories than a BIG MAC!

Don't Chicken out on These Facts

Beef does contain a higher calorie count than the chicken itself and is higher in fat as well. Researchers report that the fattening toppings and sides that come with chicken meals are where the real problem lies. These fatty dressings can make that seemingly "healthy" salad, worse than a thick beefed up burger.

An Example

In Wendy's Mandarin Chicken Salad, the chicken only contains 120 calories and a mere 3 grams of fat. Seems healthy, right? Wrong! When salad dressing, almonds, and crispy noodles are added, the calorie count quickly turns to 630 and 35 grams of fat! That is 60 calories more than a Chicken sandwich from Burger King. One reason for the high calorie/fat count in chicken items is because many restaurants and fast food chains are focusing their energies on offering low CARB items, not low calorie ones.

Low carb isn't a great option when you look at the calorie and fat count. Take, for example, a low carbohydrate breakfast bowl offered at a fairly popular breakfast chain: it includes eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, and cheese. There aren't many carbs in this dish, but there are tons of calories.

Healthiest Chicken Meals?

In a recent study, over 36 different chicken sandwiches were compared and underwent a taste test. Results concluded that each sandwich's calorie count varied from 360 all the way up to 950 and between 310-800 calories in a salad.

The most fattening and unhealthy salad is Boston Market's; their chicken Caesar salad has a whopping 8500 calories and 45 grams of fat! Some of the healthier chicken sandwiches are Quizno's Honey Bourbon Chicken with only 400 calories and McDonald's Chicken McGrill with the same calorie count. When it comes to salads, Subway has a great garden fresh salad with chicken and that is only 310 calories.

It's hard to know what is good for you when most fast food chains fail to list their items nutritional information. You can however, request these facts from the company or you may be able to find them online.

Here are some tips to ensure you are ordering the healthiest thing possible.

  • Order grilled food. Grilled foods have less fat than deep fried or breaded items.
  • Limit toppings. We know that extra cheese and bacon sound delicious, but the fats in those will clog your arteries faster than a "why did the chicken cross the road" joke.
  • Mustard and low-fat salad dressings should be chosen over mayonnaise or high calorie salad dressings.
  • Choose smaller portions. Don't order the largest thing on the menu just because you are "starving".

Sources:

http://www.wendys.com/food/Nutrition.jsp

http://www.bk.com/#menu=3,-1,-1

http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/bagamcmeal/nutrition_facts.html

http://www.bostonmarket.com/restaurant?page=nutritionSub&id=5&name=Salads+

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1 Comment

  • Great advise - who knew? I mean most everyone thinks chicken is the best choice. The next time I order a wrap I'm going to request no mayo with that! Who needs it anyway?

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