Fast Food ConfidentialFrom
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
I don't know about you, but my overworked and overwhelmed
football-watching eyeballs are telling me 'tis the season for "limited time
only" fast food offers. Yes, from Burger King to Taco Bell, our favorite fast
food joints are vying for your cash with what they hope you'll consider
A fast quiz: What do basketball superstar
Shaquille O'Neal and cartoon stupor-star Homer Simpson have in common? They are
both pitchmen for the meaty-cheesy-bacony X-Treme Whopper being hawked by
If you knew the answer, you too have spent a few
hours in front of the boob tube recently. Lucky for you, I've tracked down some
of the nutritional info you need to kill these TV commercial-induced cravings
By the way, just what's so extreme about BK's new
X-Treme Whopper? Well for starters, the already calorie-rich and fat-packed
sandwich is now available with 4 slices of bacon. Does the word overkill mean
anything to the kitchen whizzes at the world's No. 2 burger joint? I don't
I couldn't find the exact nutritional numbers at
the BK website, ww.burgerking.com, so I tracked down the customer service
number and phoned Miami for the skinny on this fatty fare. The gal who answered
my call was cheerful but she couldn't locate the info either.
Since the X-Treme Whopper is basically a hybrid
of the ever-popular Whopper with Cheese sandwich I called on my math skills and
-- with a little side research into bacon -- came away with a "neighborhood"
total. Folks, it's a neighborhood you best stay out of!
One Whopper with Cheese sandwich packs 795
calories, 53 grams of fat (19 saturated), 115mg cholesterol, 1,390mg sodium, 51
grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 39 grams of protein. Add to this the
goodness of FOUR strips of bacon (not to mention the fries you will probably
gobble with your Whopper) and an extra slice of smoked cheddar cheese and you
begin to understand why you should exercise EXTREME caution here. According to
an Ohio State University website I stumbled upon while rooting for info on
bacon, TWO slices will run you 73 calories, 6 grams of fat and 11mg
cholesterol. Thus your 4-slice X-Treme Whopper could very well sport 941
calories and 65 grams of fat. And this doesn't include the fries or the extra
slice of smoked cheddar...
It's enough to make Homer shout his trademark
While there aren't any new products being pushed
by McDonald's, the world's No. 1 burger maker is urging us all to come in for a
$1 Big 'n Tasty sandwich. They've enlisted comic Cedric the Entertainer and a
couple of costumed McD's characters (the Hamburglar and that creepy-looking
purple critter -- NO, it's not Barney!) to shill for this Whopper
OK, I agree: a buck is a great price for a
"deluxe" burger. What's not so great is the 590 calories, 37 grams of fat (12
saturated), 95mg cholesterol, 1,210mg sodium, 40 grams of carbs and 27 grams of
protein that come with your Big 'n Tasty with cheese dollar deal.
Turning to Taco Bell... By now you must have seen
the cute Carne Asada Grilled Steak Taco TV spots. The ones where the single guy
attempts to woo a few hungry gals with his "family recipe" carne asada steak
tacos. The ad folks have dubbed this brazen act of deception "carne asada
bravado." Maybe it's just me, but the repeated use of the phrase CARNE ASADA
grates terribly on the nerves! Sure it sounds nice, but what the heck does that
mean to you or me? It's steak (well, at least that's what they tell us) used
instead of ground beef in a taco... nuff said.
According to the Taco Bell website,
www.tacobell.com, one grilled steak taco has 290 calories, 17 grams of fat (4
saturated), 35mg cholesterol, 640mg sodium, 20 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber and
13 grams protein. The numbers aren't all that bad, however one taco weighs
just 4.54 ounces... not nearly enough to satisfy my appetite. No, like Noah
guiding the animals into the ark, I must parade at least a pair of tacos
into my mouth or it just isn't lunch. Sorry, but for me one taco is an
appetizer or a snack at best.
Crossing the road to get to the Colonel's fast
food joint... I love Seinfeld reruns and I love original recipe KFC
chicken, but I absolutely hate the commercials featuring Jason Alexander
(a.k.a. George Costanza) as the smug fan of America's most famous fried
The latest entry features a pair of Alexanders --
one happy with his $2.99 3-piece KFC crispy strips dinner; the other pining
over the $7 version of a similar meal purchased at some unnamed family
restaurant. I could digress and tell Alexander just what to do with that $4 he
is saving, however I will instead tell you the nutritional numbers.
But first, I've said this before and I'll say it
again: KFC stands for Kentucky FRIED Chicken. White meat chicken can be a very
healthy part of your diet. But white meat chicken that's breaded and fried
should always raise a red flag.
According to the KFC website, www.kfc.com, 3
Crispy Strips have 340 calories, 16 grams of fat (4.5 saturated), 70mg
cholesterol, 1,140mg sodium, 20 grams of carbs, 0 fiber and 28 grams of
protein. The platter deal show in the commercial features the standard
sides of mashed with gravy (120 cals and 6g fat), cole slaw (232 cals and 13.5g
fat) and biscuit (180 cals and 10g fat) for an additional 532 calories and 29.5
grams of fat. Ouch!
The good news: Wendy's Mozzarella Chicken Supreme
is back for a limited return engagement. The bad news: this cheese-choked
offering has overstayed its welcome. Since this sandwich isn't standard menu
fare its nutritional info isn't found on the Wendy's website, www.wendys.com. A
customer service rep was willing to cough up the totals: 590 calories, 26
grams of fat (9 saturated), 1,300mg sodium, 56 grams carbs and 2 grams of
I'm about stuffed, but I'll squeeze in one more
food that's getting far too much airplay -- The Chicago Dish at Pizza Hut.
Sorry folks, but this pizza doesn't even look good. And you know they paid some
high-priced food poser to spruce up this product before the cameras rolled!
According to the Pizza Hut website,
www.pizzahut.com, one messy 6-ounce slice of the Meat Lover's style has 470
calories, 27 grams of fat (12 saturated), 30mg cholesterol, 630mg sodium, 35
grams carbs, 3 grams fiber and 21 grams protein. You can also have it in
pepperoni, pepperoni-Italian sausage-mushroom, Supreme and Veggie Lover's
style. The latter is the best bet here.
Anxious to know the best bets at your favorite
fast food eateries, sit-down restaurants and convenience stores? eDieters have
that info at their fingertips. So what are you waiting for? If you aren't yet a
member of the world's leading online weight loss and fitness website
click here and
get started today.
BEST OF YOUR WORST
Now for a few more of your personal worst food
tales. Please note: I am not urging anyone to sample one of these concoctions
-- the descriptions are meant solely to prove the contention that man (and
woman) will eat ANYTHING!
Here's a tale of bad food from over the water. I
recently went on a trip to Scotland with my boyfriend and he introduced me to
his local fish and chip shop specialty: A deep-fried pizza supper consisting of
one frozen pizza, deep fried, which is then smothered in cheddar cheese and
ketchup before adding a whole portion of chips, smothered again in cheese, salt
and vinegar. The mix is then folded over and devoured! This delicacy is also
available with a battered smoked sausage... just in case you are still feeling
This was a guilty pleasure when I was pregnant. I
still indulge on occasion. My husband called it an "Everything But The Salad"
salad, and for good reason. I would take massive handfuls of cheese, ham,
imitation bacon bits and huge croutons and mix all with bleu cheese dressing so
that it was swimming. It's great!
Before my grandfather's heart attack, he used to
eat a really gross snack. He would take a piece of chocolate cake, pour cooked
brown beans over it, then proceed to stir in Miracle Whip! He would eat it like
it was the best thing in the world. It still really grosses me out when I think
I'm sooooooooooooo embarrassed. I am an ovo lacto
vegetarian and I consciously tend to allow a few extra sweets in my diet since
I'm not eating the meat. (I am well aware that this is wrong.) Well last night
while coming home from work I decided to stop in a new gourmet dessert shop for
some coffee and pastry. There I discovered the Chocolate Mountain. Ready? It is
a wedge of chocolate cheesecake (about 5 inches high), smothered in chocolate
fudge and walnuts. It's topped with a scoop of rocky road ice cream and a scoop
of vanilla bean ice cream and more fudge on top. Whipped cream and nuts on top
of this. I left off the cherry so I didn't overdo it. I'm so guilty I'm
drinking water all day today.
Thank you for your newsletters telling us folks
about grocery foods. I am a Mom of three small kids, one husband and two dogs
and I work fulltime. I look to your newsletter to help me get foods that are
good for my family. I had no idea Kraft Macaroni and Cheese had so much fat. I
make that stuff all the time. Like when I get home at 5 and we have a kids'
basketball game or swimming lessons at 6, I throw a bowl of macaroni and cheese
on the table for all 5 of us and off we go. I will not do that again. My
8-year-old son usually eats 3 big bowls! I think of all the fat in his poor
young body. YUCK!!! Thanks for the information.
In response to the people who only put 1/4 a
stick of butter in their mac and cheese: It doesn't even NEED butter! It tastes
just as good without it! There are so many things that taste fine without
butter, like mashed potatoes, Rice-a-Roni, etc. Yeah, it might taste weird to
your non-dieting friends, but it's really easy to get used to!
I notice that all food packages will usually list
the amount of sugar in grams, but I'm having a hard time finding out how much
sugar is too much. Is there a daily requirement? What is a safe amount of sugar
on a daily basis?
eDiets' recently departed
manager of nutrition development Kathy Stone answers: You bring up an
interesting point, one that is a pet peeve of mine. In my opinion, the sugar
line is worthless. That is because the sugar grams listed are natural sugar as
well as added sugar. Just look at a carton of milk. The sugar grams listed are
the lactose, natural milk sugar in the product. It would have been nice if they
made the line "added sugar" that would have given you better information.
Still, if you are not eating an excessive amount of sweets each day, you should
not worry. There is a new Dietary Guideline that says that no more than 25% of
your calories should come from sugar. Most health-conscious people consume far
less than this.
LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING
My old pal Bill hooked me with this fish
Two fellows are fishing in a boat under a
bridge. One looks up and sees a funeral procession starting across the bridge.
He stands up, takes off his cap, and bows his head. The procession crosses the
bridge and the man puts on his cap, picks up his rod and reel, and continues
The other guy says, "That was touching. I didn't know you had it
The first guy responds, "Well, I guess it was the thing to do -
after all, I was married to her for 40 years."
Karen J. contributed this corny but cute
A woman accompanied her husband to the
doctor's office. After his checkup, the doctor called the wife into his office
He said, "Your husband is suffering from a very severe stress
disorder. If you don't do the following, your husband will surely die. Each
morning, fix him a healthy breakfast. Be pleasant at all times. For lunch make
him a nutritious meal. For dinner prepare an especially nice meal for him.
Don't burden him with chores. Don't discuss your problems with him -- it will
only make his stress worse. No nagging. And most importantly, make love with
your husband several times a week. If you can do this for the next 10 months to
a year, I think your husband will regain his health completely."
way home, the husband asked his wife. "What did the doctor say?"
you're going to die," she replied.
ETC., ETC., ETC.
Until next week, the fridge door is closed. But
if you have any questions and/or comments -- or a tasteful joke to share --
feel free to write me, eDiets editor-in-chief John McGran, at