The Myth of Lower-Calorie Fast Food Entrees

English: A selection of value-menu hamburgers ...

English: A selection of value-menu hamburgers from American fast food chains. Clockwise from left to right: McDonald’s McDouble, Burger King Buck Double, Sonic Drive-In Jr. Deluxe Burger, Wendy’s Double Stack. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re a fast food junkie, one or more of these establishments are on your top ten list of favorite places to eat:

  • McDonald’s
  • Burger King
  • Wendy’s
  • Taco Bell
  • KFC
  • Arby’s
  • Jack in the Box
  • Dairy Queen

These popular hangouts were the subject of a study examining nutrient composition of their standard menu items conducted by researchers from Temple University’s Department of Public Health and Center for Obesity Research and Education. The results probably won’t surprise you, but the calorie content of the foods they serve has changed very little between 1997 and 2010.

Using the University of Minnesota Nutrition Coordinating Center’s Food and Nutrient Database to evaluate standard menus from these places, the researchers found that:

  • There was a 53 percent increase in the total number of menu items (679 to 1036) over 14 years
  • The most common menu additions were the number of entrée salads, which increased from 11 to 51, and sweetened teas, which increased from zero to 35
  • There were no significant changes in the average calorie content of entrées and drinks
  • There was a gradual increase in calories in condiments and desserts
  • The average calories of side items decreased from 264 to 219, which the researchers attributed to the addition of side salads and limiting the portion sizes of items like French fries

~ by chasm63 on November 14, 2012.

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