Which Is Worse? Fast Food Edition

Whether it's an intense craving or a desperate need for a quick meal, know what to avoid at the drive-thru

McDonald's

Which is Worse? Fast Food Edition

McDonald's

Big Mac vs. Quarter Pounder
How does the Big Mac, with its two patties, mysterious-yet-salivating “special sauce” and American cheese stack up a single quarter-pound cheeseburger? Which is worse?
Answer: Quarter Pounder with Cheese
It's a close call, but the QP finishes last in this race. They have similar calorie counts, but the higher amounts of cholesterol (95 vs. 75) and slightly higher sodium (1100mg vs. 970mg) making it the loser. Still, the Big Mac has a heart-clogging 10 grams of saturated fat -- only 2 less than the Quarter Pounder -- and they both contain trans fat. So registered dietitian Jennifer Neily says skip them both and go for two Chipotle BBQ Grilled Snack Wraps. “They’re 500 calories and have no trans fats.”
 

Filet-O-Fish vs. Premium Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich
Fried filet of white fish with cheese and tartar sauce faces off against grilled chicken, Swiss cheese and bacon. Which is worse?
Answer: Premium Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich
This is one of the rare occasions when fried is the better choice. The problem with the club isn’t the chicken, says Neily, but everything else that goes into making it a “club” -- namely bacon and mayonnaise. The Filet-O-Fish delivers fewer calories (380 vs. 460) and saturated fat (3.5 grams vs. 6 grams) than the grilled chicken club.

Burger King

Which is Worse? Fast Food Edition

Burger King

The Whopper vs. Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich
The Tendercrisp features a “generously breaded” white-meat chicken fillet served on an artisan-style bun with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. The Whopper includes a quarter-pound of beef, tomatoes, lettuce and mayonnaise. Which is worse?
Answer: Burger King Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich
“Any time you see the word ‘crisp,’ it’s code for ‘fried,’” says Neily. That should be one hint that it’s not the best choice. And the numbers prove it: 750 calories in this chicken sandwich and 670 in the Whopper. But there is a caveat here: If you order the Tendercrisp without the mayonnaise, you save a whopping 210 calories, bringing the sandwich’s total down to 540. “Holding the mayo also cuts the saturated fat in half (from 8 grams to 4),” says Neily. “So I’d say throw away the mayo and order the Tendercrisp instead of the Whopper.” Or save even more calories by opting for the Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich, with only 470 calories -- even with the mayo.
Which is Worse? Fast Food Edition

Burger King

Burger King French Fries vs. Onion Rings
Either one is the perfect side to a burger, but which is worse
Answer: Onion Rings
A medium serving of either has exactly the same calories: 410. It's all about the fat. “The onion rings have batter, which absorbs a lot of fat and has a lot of sodium in it,” says Neily. The onion rings have 21 grams of fat, compared to 18 in the fries, and a whopping 1,080 milligrams of sodium compared to 570 in the fries.

Taco Bell

Which is Worse? Fast Food Edition

Taco Bell

Beef Crunchy Taco (2) vs. Taco Bell Bean Burritos (2)
Should you double up on bean burritos or go with classic beef tacos? Which is worse?
Answer: Bean Burritos
Just one of those bean burritos delivers 370 calories and 11 grams of fat. Double that and you’re consuming 740 calories and 22 grams of fat in one sitting. The beef tacos are a lot smaller in size than the burritos, and at 170 calories each two of them equal fewer calories than one bean burrito. “Those tortillas in the burritos can be 9 inches or longer, so you get a lot of extra calories from all that bread,” says Neily.


Fresco Steak Burrito Supreme vs. 7-Layer Burrito
Order the Steak Burrito Supreme and you get grilled steak, beans, red sauce, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and fiesta salsa. The burrito has seven layers of rice, beans, three-cheese blend, lettuce, tomatoes, reduced-fat sour cream and guacamole. Which is worse?
Answer: Seven-Layer Burrito
Thought beans would always win out over steak? Not here. Taco Bell’s Fresco Menu, also known as the “Drive-Thru Diet,” features items with 9 grams of fat or less – the Fresco Steak Burrito comes in right at 9 grams of fat and has 340 calories. The 7-layer burrito on the other hand comes to the table with much more: It has 19 grams of fat and 510 calories.

Subway

Which is Worse? Fast Food Edition

Subway

6-Inch Oven Roasted Chicken vs. 6-Inch Tuna
Chicken or fish: which is worse?
Answer: 6-Inch Tuna
Yes, you want more fish in your diet. But this is not the way to get it. Tuna salad is made with mayonnaise, and that adds on lots of extra calories and fat. The tuna sub has 25 grams of fat vs. 5 grams in the chicken sub and a lot more saturated fat (4 grams vs. 1.5). And we haven't gotten to the calorie difference: The Oven Roasted Chicken has 320 while a 6-inch Tuna Sub has 470 calories. When it comes down to it, says Rosanne Rust, R.D., author of The Restaurant Calorie Counter for Dummies. “The dressing just has too much fat. Instead, make your tuna salad at home with low-fat mayo or dressing.”

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