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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Duh or Hmmmm?


Researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill just published the first study linking fast food to “fat-ness” (yup, it really was the first). They followed over 3,000 adults for 10 years and found that each additional fast food meal per week led to a higher body mass index (BMI – a measure of weight for height). In other words, those who ate 4 fast food meals per week weighed more than those who ate 3, etc.

Now, I’m no fan of fast food. But if you're a fan, or you just can’t seem to avoid it, there are some healthier options. Here are my picks. My criteria includes: lots of veggies, low in saturated and trans fat, low in cholesterol, high in fiber, and under 500 calories:

Taco Bell Fresco Style Bean Burrito
350 calories
2 grams saturated fat (goal is no more than 20 g per day for an average healthy adult)
2 grams trans fat (goal is as low as possible)
0 mg cholesterol (goal is under 300 mg per day for a healthy adult)
9 grams fiber (goal is at least 25 grams per day)

Taco Bell Fresco Style 7 Layer Burrito
410 calories
2 grams saturated fat (goal is no more than 20 g per day for an average healthy adult)
2.5 grams trans fat (goal is as low as possible)
0 mg cholesterol (goal is under 300 mg per day for a healthy adult)
9 grams fiber (goal is at least 25 grams per day)

Subway 6” Veggie Delight on Wheat
230 calories
1 grams saturated fat (goal is no more than 20 g per day for an average healthy adult)
0 grams trans fat (goal is as low as possible)
0 mg cholesterol (goal is under 300 mg per day for a healthy adult)
4 grams fiber (goal is at least 25 grams per day)

Burger King’s BK Veggie (no mayo)
170 calories
.5 grams saturated fat (goal is no more than 20 g per day for an average healthy adult)
0 grams trans fat (goal is as low as possible)
0 mg cholesterol (goal is under 300 mg per day for a healthy adult)
5 grams fiber (goal is at least 25 grams per day)

Wendy’s Broccoli and Cheese Hot Stuffed Baked Potato
330 calories
1 grams saturated fat (goal is no more than 20 g per day for an average healthy adult)
0 grams trans fat (goal is as low as possible)
0 mg cholesterol (goal is under 300 mg per day for a healthy adult)
8 grams fiber (goal is at least 25 grams per day)

Wendy’s Mandarin Chicken Salad (no crispy noodles but including Oriental dressing)
490 calories
3 grams saturated fat (goal is no more than 20 g per day for an average healthy adult)
0 grams trans fat (goal is as low as possible)
60 mg cholesterol (goal is under 300 mg per day for a healthy adult)
6 grams fiber (goal is at least 25 grams per day)

P.S. According to the study’s authors, food eaten away from home now accounts for up to 42 percent of Americans' calorie intake! Oh and one fun fact today: “fast food” has been around for ages; in Roman times, vendors sold ready-to-eat food from street stalls.

photo courtesy of Geek Philosopher
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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