Just How Bad for Me is Fast Food Anyway?
> 11/13/2007 10:40:17 AM

It may be a by-product of the modern condition that each of us has probably asked ourselves the above question at one point or another. Fast food is ubiquitous, and not without good cause. It's, well, fast. It's also largely inexpensive, and even quite tasty. Unfortunately, fast food is a prime example of the axiom that when something looks too good to be true it probably is.

All of this brings us back to the question at hand. Just how bad for me is fast food anyway? Indeed, it's a fair question because no matter how healthy your diet, no matter how deliberate your food choices, you'll likely be forced to order from a McDonald's menu at some point. Beyond that, food consumption can often be a game of risk versus reward. A McDonald's burger may carry significant nutritional baggage, but if the rewards that you get from eating it are larger than your concerns, you'll probably give in at some point. For those of us who reach this most contemporary of crossroads, aCalorieCounter.com, a cleanly designed and quite useful website, recently compiled the mother of all fast food nutrition breakdowns.

For this massive feat, aCalorieCounter compiled nutrition information from the most popular menu items at over 20 fast food chains. Each categoryŚbroken down by food typeŚcan be sorted by several different columns: serving size, calories, total fat, saturated fat, carbs, etc. The largest and smallest values in each column are marked for easy identification, and best and worst choices from each category are discussed in brief after each chart. Best burgers? Try White Castle or Wendy's, which both do well largely because their burgers are smaller than others. The worst burger, on the other hand, is Carl's Jr.'s "Big Hamburger," which brings home the title of most calories in the category. Carl's Jr. also serves up the worst item of any particular category with their "Double Six Dollar Burger," which contains 1520 calories and 47 grams of saturated fat, or around twice the daily recommended intake.

To be quite clear, as aCalorieCounter points out, fast food is bad food. You need to know this going in. There is almost no circumstance when one should ever consider eating fast food a healthy option. But that being said, some people enjoy fast food, and many, many people are going to continue to eat it. Fast food restaurants can be quite tricky about obscuring or even hiding the nutritional information about their products, so do yourself a favor, and before you go, make sure you know what you're getting into. Sure that Double Six Dollar Burger might be tasty, but it will single handedly undue two week's worth of work outs. And that's a lot of calories to burn.

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