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Fast food fluff: Why the McDonalds 400 calorie menu is a joke

Thursday, June 20, 2013 by: Sandeep Godiyal
Tags: McDonald''s, caloric intake, fast food

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(NaturalNews) What can you get at McDonald's that has fewer than 400 calories? Practically anything on the menu, if you believe the hype surrounding McDonald's Favorites Under 400 menu items. It includes a host of breakfast, lunch and dinner items, including hamburgers, cheeseburgers, most of their salads, Chicken McBites, Egg McMuffins, Sausage McMuffins, hash browns and a medium order of French fries. While some cost less than $1, most hover between $2 and $3.

What else do you get with these items other than fewer than 400 calories?

A whole lot of nothing, as it turns out. Three small breaded Chicken Selects may just have 380 calories, but 210 of these calories come from fat, which clocks in at a whopping 23 grams of fat for the trio (or a hair less than 8 grams of fat per piece of chicken). Dip them in a packet of honey mustard sauce and add 60 calories to the meal. Well, if three small pieces of breaded chicken is considered a meal. So how about the five-piece order? That's 640 calories and has 38 grams of fat.

Forget lunch and dinner, how about breakfast?

It's the most important meal of the day and all. The healthiest breakfast option at McDonald's is the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal, which tops whole-grain oats with red and green apples, cranberries, two varieties of raisins and, if you want it, brown sugar (go for it, since brown sugar only adds 30 calories to the whole thing). All of this is yours for only 260 calories and 4.5 grams of fat, which is a healthy breakfast in most books.

Egg McMuffins are listed as having 300 calories and 12 grams of fat (skip the cheese and the popular breakfast sandwich weighs in at 250 calories and 8 grams of fat). Sausage McMuffins are listed as having 370 calories and 22 grams of fat (200 of those 370 calories are fat calories). A Sausage Burrito has 300 calories and 16 grams of fat. Order a hash brown and add 150 calories and 9 grams of fat to your breakfast.

That's the real hidden ingredient in McDonald's Favorites Under 400 program. You don't go to McDonald's to order one thing. Usually, by the time you're done, you've likely eaten a day's caloric intake (if not more) in one sitting. For example, order a hamburger, medium French fries, and medium non-diet soda and you're probably near 1,200 calories. That's the average minimum caloric intake recommended for a woman. Men who order another hamburger, a large fry, or a large soda have already topped their recommended 1,800 calories a day. Of course, baseline caloric recommendations don't take into account activity level or health history. These numbers are used here as an illustration.

McDonald's makes all of its nutrition information available online and in restaurant locations, but don't caution against ordering more than one item from its Favorites Under 400 menu at a time. It does warn that the listed calories don't always include sauces, salad dressings, custom orders or other condiments. Most of these items, like pickles and onions, have zero or close-to-zero calories anyway. Still, a salad with dressing would not make McDonald's Favorites Under 400 menu board.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.prevention.com

http://weightloss.answers.com

http://lifehacker.com

About the author:
Sandeep has written many health field articles for both Internet and print publication. He currently writing for insurancetips4u.co.

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