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Eating Fast Food

Although very few people will admit to eating fast food, the number of golden arches in any town or city indicates that some of us are not telling the whole truth. Fast food outlets have always been targeted as sources of food that contain calories and little else - so-called empty calories. Recently, at least one customer has taken one company to court - claiming that the food they serve is a cause of his obesity.


To their credit, and in this day of online information, companies are making available nutrition information about their products so customers can know better what they are buying, and what they are eating. It make take a little research, and some intelligent choices, but it is possible to eat a nutritious meal and avoid the calories when eating at a hamburger joint.

A comparison of two foods offered by McDonalds serves as a good example. The Quarter Pounder is a popular hamburger sold at McDonalds that contains a beef patty, sesame seed bun, ketchup, mustard, pickles, onion, and grill seasoning. The garden salad is listed as containing lettuce, shredded cheddar/jack cheese, chopped egg, chopped tomato, and green onions. The table below, showing the nutrient content provide by McDonalds for these two foods, shows that the burger contains more of the nine nutrients than the garden salad. However, beef just because it is beef contains more fat and calories etc. than lettuce. The table shows that even when you are forced by your children to go to McDonalds, you can still find food that is low in fat, calories and salt if you choose the salad.

The nutrient value of an individual food should always be compared to your daily intake requirements. If the stop at McDonalds is just to buy a snack to tide you over until dinner, you should look very carefully at what you are eating and what nutrients it contains.

Quarter Pounder vs Garden Salad
Nutrient Amount In
Quarter Pounder
Amount In
Garden Salad
Daily Intakea
Calories:430 100 2100-3000
Fat:21g 6g  
Saturated fat:8g 3g  
Cholesterol:70mg 75mg  
Sodium:840mg 120mg 2800mg*
Carbohydrates:37g 4g  
Protein:23g 7g 41-56g
Potassium:370mg 290mg 2900mg*
Phosphorus:214mg 123mg 700-800mg



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