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The nineteen-ninety-one fast food awards.

It's served fast, eaten fast, and (at long last) changing fast ... so fast that even -dedicated nutrition-watchers are having a hard time keeping up.

And, if we're having trouble, where does that leave the average consumer? Confused or-more likely-blissfully ignorant of the changes that now mean a shake at McDonald's is quite different from a shake at Burger King, or a burger at Hardee's ain't the same as a burger at Wendy's.

As fast food restaurants compete to create the most healthful menus, some chains are out in front while others are straggling. To recognize the successes and failures, here are our 1991 Fast Food Awards.

For each category, we've named the Best and Worst entry These awards wouldn't have been possible without our newly updated Fast-Food Guide.

And the envelope, please...


BEST: McDonald's

McLean Deluxe

WORST: Carl's Jr.

Double Western Bacon


The "Best" is no surprise, what with all the publicity. Yes, McDonald's McLean Deluxe (10 grams of fat edged out Hardee's Real Lean Deluxe (13 grams). True, McDonald's small burger has only 9 grams of fat, but most teens and adults want a larger sandwich.

Even these leaner burgers supply 3 or 4 grams of saturated fat. But that's peanuts compared to the Quarter Pounder or Big Mac (8 or 9 grams) or Burger King's Double Whopper with Cheese (24 grams)

Most authorities recommend no more than about 22 grams of saturated fat in a whole day. We say 15 or less.

But nothing is as bad as Carl's Jr. Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger, with 63 grams of fat (32 of them saturated), 145 mg of cholesterol, and 1,810 mg of sodium. A Double Bypass Burger if we've ever seen one.



BEST: Arby's Light Roast Chicken Deluxe

WORST: Burger King Fried Chicken Sandwich

By now, most people have figured out th fried chicken sandwiches aren't

Yet Burger King still sells a Fried Chicken Sandwich with more fat (40 grams) and sodium (1,417 mg) than a Big Mac.

But don't assume that choosing grilled chicken guarantees little fat. Arby's Grilled Chicken Deluxe and Jack-in-the-Box's Grilled Chicken Fillet still fall in the Quarter-Pounder range when it comes to fat and sodium.

There are some grilled chicken sandwiches you can trust, though. Arby's Light Roast Chicken Deluxe has 5 grams of fat. That's at least a third less than what you'll get in Burger King's BK Broiler or in Hardee's, Wendy's, or Dairy Queen's grilled chicken sandwiches.

Arby's Light Roast Chicken's sodium (874 mg) is high, but the alternatives-like Arby's Light Roast Turkey Deluxe, which has 1, 1 72 mg-make it look good.


BEST: Hardee's Chicken Stix

WORST: Wendy's Crispy Nuggets If your kids want nuggets, head for Hardee's. A serving of six Chicken Stix will give them half as much fat (0 grams) and saturated fat (2 grams) as six nuggets from Kentucky Fried Chicken or Wendy's.

(Sodium levels are mediocre across the board, ranging from 540 mg to 840 mg.) PIZZA .................. BEST: Domino's Cheese Pizza WORST,. Pizza Hut Supreme Pan Pizza Just two slices of a Pizza Hut Thin 'n Crispy or Pan pizza gobble up about half your saturated-fat allotment for a whole day. The Hand-Tossed pizzas are even fattier.

But "Worst" of all is Pizza Hut's Supreme Pan Pizza. Two slices will sock you with 30 grams of fat (14 of them saturated), 1,363 mg of sodium, and a 20%-off coupon on heart surgery Oust kidding).

By contrast, Domino's Cheese Pizza cuts the fat down to 10 grams, the saturated fat to 5.5 grams, and the sodium to 483 mg. What'sa matta, Pizza Hut? Haven't you heard of reduced-fat mozzarella?


BEST: Arby's Light Roast Beef Deluxe

WORST- Arby's Bac 'N Cheddar Deluxe With 10 grams of fat, Arby's Light Roast Beef Deluxe Sandwich is the leanest around. Close runners-up are Arby's French Dip and Hardee's regular Roast Beef Sandwiches, both with 12 grams.

All have too much sodium-680 mg to 930 mg-but they seem low next to this category's Worst," Arby's Bac'N Cheddar Deluxe, which weighs in with 1,672 mg. And its 33 grams of fat (8 of them sat almost half the daily max for most people.


BEST: Dairy Queen Fish Fillet Sandwich

WORST: Arby's Fish Fillet Sandwich Don't et too excited, Dairy Queen. Your Fish Fillet Sandwich looks good only because the others look so bad.

It's got (eek) 16 grams of fat and 630 mg of sodium. With cheese it's worse than a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish.

But either is better than Hardee's, Wendy's, Burger King's, or anyone else's 24 to 30 grams of fat and 780 mg to 1,030 mg of sodium. Here's a tip: hold the tartar sauce and 10 grams of fat disappear.

Worst is Arby's Fish Fillet Sandwich. It's got 29 grams of fat, 6 of'em saturated. Add 994 mg of sodium and you've got a worse choice than Arby's Philly Beef'N Swiss.


BEST: Wendy's Salad Bar & Garden Salad

WORST: Taco Bell Taco Salad with Shell Wendy's Salad Bar is more elaborate than any other..... and the others are vanishing fast. As for packaged salads, Wendy's Garden Salad has just two grams of fat. If you think that's de rigueur for garden salads, chew on this: Dairy Queen's has 13 grams and Hardee's has 14 grams.

What's more, Wendy's Garden Salad has more vitamin A and C-the nutrients you expect from vegetables-than Arby's, Burger King's, or McDonald's. (Wendy's Side Salad also tops its competitors.)

Want more than just vegetables? Try a Chunky Chicken Salad from either Burger King or McDonald's. Each has more sodium than a Garden Salad, but only 4 grams of fat.

Taco salads are all terrible, and the "Terriblest" is Taco Bell's Taco Salad with the Shell. A single 905-calorie salad contains 91 0 mg of sodium and just about all the fat and saturated fat you should eat in a day. It's got more fat than three Quarter-Pounders.


BEST: McDonald's Lite Vinaigrette

WORST: Wendy's Blue Cheese

What harm could a little packet of salad dressing do? Almost a Quarter-Pounder's worth of calories (390) with twice the fat (40 grams) and as much saturated fat (8 grams), if it's a three-ounce packet of Wendy's Blue Cheese. Other blue cheeses, Thousand Islands, buttermilks, and ranches aren't far behind.

The problem is that most packets contain two ounces, or four tablespoons, of dressing. And most people squeeze out every last drop onto their low-fat veggies.

But a two-ounce packet of McDonald's Lite Vinaigrette has only 48 calories and 2 grams of fat.

Burger King's Light Italian, on the other hand, has 170 calories, 762 mg of sodium, and (whoa!) 18 grams of fat.


BEST: McDonald's Carrot


WORST: Carl's Jr. Zucchini

Bet you didn't think this

was a category Granted,

it's not exactly brimming with entries. But McDonald's carrot sticks nosed out its less nutritious celery sticks and Church's (slightly buttered) corn-on-the-cob, which rate Honorable Mentions.

Among the losers were anybody' slaw and Long John Silver's salty green beans. "Worst" was Carl's Jr. Zucchini, with its 23 grams of fat and 1,040 mg of sodium. But peel off the breading and its rating soars.


BEST: Long John Silver's Fryes

WORST- Carl's Jr. Large Fries Most fries get 45 to 50 percent of their calories from fat, so the only way to get less fat is to eat fewer fries. Size is why Carl's Jr. gets a "Worst." A large serving contains 546 calories and 26 grams of fat. (A Large McDonald's Fries has only" 400 calories and 22 grams.) These are side dishes?

Only Long John Silver's Fryes get a lower 32 percent of calories from fat. Each serving has only 6 grams of fat. They're thicker so they absorb less fat.


BEST: McDonald's Milk Shakes

WORST: Dairy Queen Heath Blizzard No contest here. McDonald's has cut the fat in its shakes by 83 percent. No one else comes close.

No one's close to a Heath Blizzard, either.

Its 820 calories-some from the Heath candy

bar bits that are blended in-supply almost a day's worth of saturated fat (17 grams) out of a total fat content of 36 grams.

MILK ..................

BEST: McDonald's 1% Lowfat Milk

WORST- Burger King Whole Milk When McDonald's switched from not-really milk lowfat 2% to 1% lowfat milk in 1990, we thought the other chains would follow. So far, only Carl's Jr has 1% .

Get with it, guys. This one's easy. And as for Burger King: what's with the whole milk?



BEST: McDonald's Apple Bran or Blueberry Muffins

WORST: Jack-in-theBox Cheesecake

It's tough to top McDonald's fat-free apple bran or blueberry muffins. Most other chains' muffins aren't as good.

Burger King's Lemon Poppyseed or Blueberry Mini Muffins are as fatty as its Danishes. Hardee's Blueberry or Oat Bran Muffins are worse than its Apple Turnovers.

The worst baked goods are the cheesecakes. Their fat isn't only plentiful; it's highly saturated. A slice of Arby's cheesecake has 7 grams of saturated fat (out of 23 total grams), Jack-in-the-Box's has 9 grams out of 18.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Center for Science in the Public Interest
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:nutritional foods and nutritional disasters
Author:Liebman, Bonnie
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:Molds: the fungus among us.
Next Article:Lower-fat bacon & sausage: the missing link?

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