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Mcdonald’s Adds Calories To The Menu

Mickey D’s is living large these days: Buoyed by the success of its Dijon-mayonnaise-slathered Arch Deluxe burger that debuted in May, McDonald’s last week rolled out three new sandwiches - bigger, gooeyer and more calories than the smaller versions they replace.

Next time you hit the Golden Arches, you won’t find the Filet-O-Fish; the 360-calorie sandwich with 16 grams of fat has been replaced by the Fish Filet Deluxe.

Or you might call it the Filet-O-Fat: 510 calories and 20 fat grams.

Similarly, the old McChicken Sandwich, with 415 calories and 19 grams of fat has become the Crispy Chicken Deluxe with 530 calories and 26 fat grams. And the old McGrilled Chicken Classic, at 250 calories and 3 grams of fat, is replaced by the Grilled Chicken Deluxe - 330 calories and 6 grams of fat.

As a nod to vegetables, the new sandwiches are topped with iceberg lettuce and a tomato slice.

Thank heaven they didn’t fool with the fries.

In a nation full of fast food lovers, the growing trend toward bigger portions can mean big health troubles for those who overindulge - obesity and related illnesses such as diabetes and heart problems.

“We feel that these sandwiches are part of a balanced diet,” says Brian O’Mara, senior marketing manager for McDonald’s Detroit region, pointing out that the company has several low-fat items on its menu.

“The sandwiches are in keeping with trying to provide our customers with what they’re asking for,” O’Mara notes, adding that the rollout of the new line comes on the heels of a three-month market test in select cities.

Besides, he says, as a result of Arch Deluxe - 100 million of which were sold in its first month - customers were clamoring for remakes of the smaller, older models. Forget that the Arch Deluxe delivers 530 calories and 29 grams of fat.

“They serve what sells,” says Muriel Wagner, a registered dietitian and fellow of the American Dietetic Association.

Her recommendation about McDonald’s bigger offerings: “If you’re on a low-fat diet, avoid them. Lettuce has no food value anyway - mostly water, very little fiber; even with the tomato, it’s still not a serving of vegetables.”