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Nutrition Deceptions - A Closer Look at Fast Food

Posted: Apr 4, 2015

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Nutrition Deceptions - A Closer Look at Fast Food

If you end up at a fast food restaurant, it is always a good strategy to check their online nutrition information so that you can make an informed choice about your selections. Make sure that you are looking closely at what the nutrition information is telling you – it may be misleading.

If you take a look at McDonalds’ online nutrition website, the Tuscan salad with grilled chicken has the following nutrition information listed:

- 330 calories
-13g of fat 
-410mg of sodium.

The catch is that they’ve left out the 140 calorie salad dressing that adds 12g of fat and 340mg sodium to the meal. All of the salads that are listed on the website do not include their dressings (clearly a necessary component in a salad). And in case you were wondering, this is one of their lower calorie salads.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at another example – Subway. Contrary to what marketers, the internet and your friends tell you, subs are not always the healthiest fast food choice.

Subway’s 6 inch tuna sub lists the following nutrition information on their website:

-480 calories
-25g of fat
-580mg of sodium

If you don’t read the fine print, you would likely assume that this information includes the cheese, which automatically comes on the sub unless you specifically tell the employee to leave it off. If you take a closer look, you will notice that this nutrition information only applies if you choose the 9-Grain wheat bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and cucumbers (no cheese!). The Monterey cheddar cheese adds a whopping 240 calories, 6g of fat and 240mg of sodium! That’s not to mention any other toppings that you may want to include on your sub.

Bottom line is that you should always read the fine print and look at fast food nutrition information with a critical eye. You may be getting more than you bargained for!

Emily Spencer, RD