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Eating Healthful Fast-Food Is Possible

Want to eat a healthful meal at a fast-food restaurant? You can do it.

Leave it to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI), a Washington, D.C.-based consumer group, to tell us what’s best for us - and worst.

You might be surprised at some of the findings.

McDonald’s - CPSI’s most popular target for fat, cholesterol and sodium - is rated the “best bite” in three of nine categories, more than any of the other 15 national fast food contenders.

Of course, not every chain has products fitting every category.

But at least McDonald’s was awarded no “worst bite” ratings.

Here’s how CSPI sees it in the January/February issue of its Nutrition Action Healthletter:


Best: McDonald’s McLean Deluxe (270 calories, 12 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 530 milligrams sodium) has only one-fifth the fat of a Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese. Regular burgers from McDonald’s, Burger King and Jack in the Box have less fat, but they contain only two ounces of meat.

Worst: The Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger from Carl’s Jr., a Southwestern chain, with 63 grams of fat, 32 of which are saturated. The aforementioned Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese also has 63 grams of fat, but only 24 of them are “artery clogging” saturated fat, CSPI says.

Chicken/turkey sandwiches

Best: Served without mayo, the McDonald’s McGrilled Chicken Classic checks in with 3 grams of fat (250 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 510 milligrams sodium).

Worst: The Turkey Bacon Club (680 calories, 47 grams fat, 1,898 milligrams sodium) from Rax, which has more fat than two Quarter Pounders (20 grams each) and threequarters of a day’s sodium.

Dishonorable mention went to Burger King’s Chicken Sandwich, with 43 grams of fat.

Main dish salads

Best: McDonald’s Chicken Salad with Lite Vinaigrette Dressing (210 calories, 7 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 560 milligrams sodium) deserves a special pat on the arches for keeping sodium down, as well as fat and saturated fat.

Worst: The fattiest food you can buy at Taco Bell is the Taco Bell Taco Salad (838 calories, 55 grams fat, 16 grams saturated fat, 1,132 milligrams sodium) with meat, cheese and sour cream piled high.

Milk shakes

Best: Rax Yogurt Shakes (277 calories, 1 gram fat, 157 milligrams sodium for 16 ounces).

Worst: Arby’s Polar Swirl (502 calories, 21 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 384 milligrams sodium) has as much fat and saturated fat as a Quarter Pounder.