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October 2, 2007

Fast Food Calories

By Meredith Thompson

Some days, there’s nothing more gratifying that sinking my teeth into a Big Mac. An hour after I’m done, however, regret sets in and I know that that entire burger will be showing up on my hips within days. And don’t even get me started on the runs.

Fast food calories are the bane of most of our existences, but they provides a convenient way to satisfy our cravings and hunger pangs. But exactly how fattening is what you’re eating and why are fast food calories the worst kind of calories?

Well, I took a penetrating look at what some of the most popular fast food joints offer up and let’s just say that, thanks to fast food calories, I won’t be venturing off to any drive-thrus anytime soon.

It’s no secret that fast food is highly processed and no good for you to begin with, but that’s not the issue here; the issue is, how fat will eating this stuff make us down the line?

Well, let’s find out.

Before we begin, however, keep in mind that a big salad can have as little as 350 calories (given that the dressing is on the side and you dip your forkful of salad into it), and almost no fat. But then, who really eats salad all the time?

Also keep in mind that no more than 10% of your daily intake of calories should come from saturated fats, and that the average woman’s caloric needs are about 1500 per day.

Fast food calories joint #1
The king of all fast food chains, McDonald’s was the subject of Super Size Me, a controversial documentary about one man’s mission to live on nothing but McDonald’s food for a full month. If you haven’t seen it, you should, it will change your opinion about fast food.

But I digress. The most popular choice at McDonald’s is the Big Mac – two all-beef patties with a special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun. And of course, the meal just wouldn’t be right without its usual sidekicks.

Big Mac
Calories: 560
Calories from fat: 270 (roughly 48%)

Large French fries
Calories from fat: 270 (roughly 47%)

Large Coke
Calories: 310
Calorie from fat: 0

Total calories: 1440
Total fat calories: 540 (almost 4 times more than you should be having in an entire day)

Fast food calories joint #2
Burger King

My biggest weakness growing up was the famed Whopper. It was like a party in my mouth with every bite I took, but after I discovered the following, the party ended abruptly and it’s been homemade burgers ever since.

Burger King is trying to help its clients establish a healthier lifestyle by offering fries without salt and fire-grilled burgers, but it’s rare for anyone to go to a fast food joint to make healthy choices.

Calories: 670
Calories from fat: 350 (roughly 52%)

Large French fries
Calories: 500
Calories from fat: 250 (50%)

Large Coke
Calories: 290
Calorie from fat: 0

Total calories: 1460
Total fat calories: 600 (exactly 4 times more than you should be having in an entire day)

Fast food calories joint #3

Rumors were rampant that KFC changed its name from Kentucky Fried Chicken because of the negative connotations that the word “fried” had, but KFC denies the allegation. Nevertheless, the chicken is still fried and our waistlines are no better for it.

Two pieces Original Recipe chicken (breast & wing)
Calories: 530
Calories from fat: 252 (roughly 47%)

Mashed potatoes with gravy bowl
Calories: 690
Calories from fat: 279 (roughly 40%)

Cole slaw
Calories from fat: 99 (roughly 51%)

Large Pepsi
Calorie from fat: 0

Total calories: 1690
Total fat calories: 630 (over 4 times more than you should be having in an entire day)

Fast food calories joint #4
Domino’s Pizza
Pizza is an American favorite. It’s great because you can share it and put a variety of ingredients on it, to suit your personal taste. You can get thick or thin crust, and you can even decide whether or not you want to stuff your crust with cheese or pepperoni.

Yum-my. But there is, of course, the down side to this wonderful meal – it goes straight to your butt, and I mean that in two ways.

Pepperoni Feast Pizza (Serving size = 1/4 of a 14” Large Pizza)
Calories: 732
Calories from fat: 306 (roughly 42%)

Cheesy Bread (Serving = 2)
Calories: 283
Calories from fat: 108 (roughly 39%)

Large Pepsi
Calorie from fat: 0

Total calories: 1305
Total fat calories: 414 (almost 3 times more than you should be having in an entire day)

Fast food calories joint #5
Taco Bell

While some argue that it is not authentic Mexican food due to the fact that you get the runs an hour after you down anything from this fast food joint, others swear by Taco Bell’s flavorful eats.
From tacos to burritos, you can find it all here, and while heartburn isn’t on the menu, it usually comes free with the meal.

Regular taco (Serving = 2)
Calories: 420
Calories from fat: 102 (roughly 25%)

Calories from fat: 51 (roughly 15%)

Large Coke
Calories: 280
Calorie from fat: 0

Total calories: 1020
Total fat calories: 153 (the entire amount you should be having in one day)

Crazy fast food calories

By cutting out just the sodas, you can save almost 300 calories per meal. But that isn’t enough. If you’re going to munch on fast food calories, try your best to do so in moderation, and even then, opt for healthier choices, like a salad instead of fries.

Taking small steps to get away from your fast food habits and fast food calories altogether would be ideal, but if you’ve been living on them for a long time, it will be difficult to break the habit. But with a little discipline, you can do it, no doubt.

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