Sunday, January 12, 2014

Healthy Fast Food

Disclaimer – Be warned of reading nutrition advise from a guy who has been fat all his life and who hardly has a thorough understanding of what a balanced diet consists of. But yeah, it’s my blog, so I write what I feel like.

So McDonald's has been in the news lately because some science teacher in Iowa ate in McDonald’s for 90 days and managed to lose 37 pounds. The media has gone crazy and I have my two cents to add.

Over the last several decades of my life if I have figured something out about food it is this – most of the times, it doesn’t really matter what you eat as long as you control how much it is.

So the saying “eat everything in moderation”. To a certain extent this principle works, but yeah – you have to be fully aware that you might end up getting deficient in certain nutrients if you do not eat a variety of stuff. (Okay, for laymen like me – if I just eat a perfect 2000 kcal meal everyday, but I stick to eating the same thing (e.g – Rice with a veggie) then over a period of time my body will end up getting deficit in nutrients that are not available from that meal).

Anyway, many a times in my life I am faced with situations in which I either have the option of – fast food or no food. And in such cases, given an option amongst fast food chains, I somehow end up choosing McDonald’s. That is because, I have sorta figured out a pseudo-healthy meal option in McDonald’s that I stick to. So here it is:

  1. Filet-O-Fish
  2. Corn Cup
  3. Roast Coffee

The pseudo-healthy option

A meal in McDonald’s generally consists of a Burger + Fries + Soda (produced by the Coca Cola company). The reason we end up overeating is because – the Fries and the Soda actually contribute more calories (mostly from fat and sugar) than the main burger itself. So though we pretend to think that they are side orders and subsequently are “smaller” they are the main cause of adding in those excess calories to your meal.

McDonald’s has this neat site that lets you calculate calories in your meal. So if I look at the Filet-O-Fish meal in it’s original form the nutrition contents are:

Filet-O-Fish: 325 kcal


Medium Fries: 384 kcal


Medium Coke: 213kcal


That’s a total of 922 kcal almost 50% of my daily RDA.

However if I replace my coke and fries with a Coffee and Corn Cup (McDonald’s in Singapore lets me do it without any charge), I bring down my total calories to 418 kcal. The Coffee and Corn Cup together bring in only – 93 kcal and deserve to be called “side orders”.

The pseudo-healthy option

In conclusion, I agree that it may not be the most nutritious meal that you can get out there (yeah the sodium content looks horrific and dietary fibre is really low). However, being informed is a much better option than going into a fine dining place and not even being aware of how many calories you are putting in.

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