Sunday, February 19, 2012

SoapBox Sundays #3 - Read This, Not That

One of the most imporant things I do for my success is eat a healthy breakfast. Remember: Fast food often leads to fast fat. This post continues my irk over the segment on NBC Today's show two days ago on the subject of making healthier choices at the many fast food restaurants that are joining the breakfast market. The author of the book series, EatThis/NotThat, David Zinzenko, who makes regular appearances on NBC's Today, gave the fat and calorie totals for the worse thing you could order at each fast food establishment and then gave a suggestion for an alternative, healthier breakfast choice. WHY can't people in media suggest not even going to the food places that are known dens of pleasure for unhealthy appetites? Are all media people tied in some way to corporate giants who make it impossible for them to issue the most basic of warnings: GET OUT!!?

For example: The Big Breakfast at McDonalds consists of a large biscuit, scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, butter spread, pancake syrup and hash browns. According to Zinczenko, this breakfast is 1400 calories and 64 grams of fat and includes an entire day's allotment of sodium.  Zinczenko pointed out that this is the equivalent of eating 16 Eggo Blueberry pancakes. To be fair, McDonalds disputes this total. They report the Big Breakfast (large size) with hotcakes is 1150 calories with 60 grams of fat, 20 grams of which are saturated. No matter how you add it up - this is a big FAT breakfast that could categorically-calorically feed a family of four and still clog some arteries.

The alternative Zinczenko suggested is the egg Mcmuffin and an order of hash browns. This still has more than one third of the calories of a Big Breakfast; it has 450 calories and 21 grams of fat, 6.5 grams are saturated fat.
  • My question: Are fried potatoes ever a healthy choice?
  • My point: When the healthier choice is fried potatoes: leave and eat somewhere else.
cause people keep going back!

I don't eat in McDonalds (personal decision made in 2006), but I cannot fight all '60 billion served' customers at once. So I accept people are going to go there to eat there simply because it is convenient.  In researching facts for this post I went to the interactive McDonald's food/nutrition web page  and computed what would be the better alternatives for breakfast at McDonald's.

You can order the Fruit and Oatmeal with the apples but without the brown sugar, sugar-added dried fruit, and light cream. Then is is a healthy 200 calories with 2.5 gms of fat, no saturated fat and it has four grams of fiber. That is a healthy breakfast. Need more? Order the scrambled eggs separately or the fresh fruit and nuts for adding to the cereal, this comes with a small portion of low fat yogurt. YES, you can order food prepared without the cream and added dried fruit. You just have to ask.

it is all beige!
Next up is Burger King (BK). The BK Ultimate Breakfast consists of  scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, biscuit, and three fluffy pancakes with syrup. Oh my God: it is 1300 calories, 72 grams of fat, 26 grams sat fat - over a days worth of saturated fat, plus 2500 mg sodium.

What does Mr Eat This recommend? I think he said the double bacon croissant (440 calories) with hash browns - though he didn't say what size hash browns. At BK hash browns run S-M-L at 250-500-670 calories each. Even if you assume the smallest was his choice, that makes this 'better' breakfast choice have a total of 690 calories with 30 grams of fat, 13.5 grams saturated fat and 1880 mg sodium.

On the interactive Burger King Menu site (I find only the best research tools for my readers!), I determined if you are trapped on a mountain and it is snowing and you cannot roll your body down the hill to a farmer's market and must eat at the Burger King or die, your better choice would be to remember that the BK motto is still "special orders don't upset us". Order the ham, egg, and cheese biscuit but double the ham and hold the biscuit and cheese. Total damage is only 160 Calories, 8 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of saturated fat - but let me warn you: the sodium is still a whopper-ing 1060 mg.

He discussed Dunkin Donuts and their Coffee Cake muffin - 650 calories and 27 gms of fat, 9 grams saturated fat and 56 grams sugar. Eat this/Not that suggests eating a doughnut or the cheese danish for 330 calories with 17 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, and 17 grams sugar.

I like the coffee so I make it at home
I have a different idea. If you cannot manage to skip the coffee at DD and there is n drive thru to help you avoid the food porn in the shop and you MUST go inside and eat: buy the Cinnamon raisin bagel twist. It has 350 calories but only 3.5 grams of fat, .5 grams saturated fat and 19 grams of sugar. But it also has 5 grams of fiber. David Zinczenko should take note that his choices of doughnut or cheese danish have only 1 gram of fiber, if that. Not to mention both of those choices are made of entirely fake foods. Whenever you can, choose items that are higher in fiber. Fiber will help lower the impact on your blood sugar. Fiber will keep you satiated longer.

Now he also mentioned Wendy's Breakfast Panini. The Wendy website only shows one panini choice. It has 540 calories and 35 grams of fat, 18 grams are saturated fat. 860 mgs of sodium. On the show Friday, Zinczenko said it had 46 grams of fat and I do not see that on the Wendys' website, nor is it as interactive as the other sites.

Pick you your angina here
All I can say about breakfast at Wendy's is order the fresh fruit cup and make it will hold you over until you travel so place with more nutritionally sound food choices.

If you want to be keeping the pounds off, educate yourself on the basic nutritional facts of life. Don't just believe what someone else says or writes. Consider if they have any product endorsements or commerical conflicts of interests that run contrary to your best interests. Do your own research and compare it with others.

Again, please remember: Fast Food often leads to Fast Fat!



downsizers said...

More proof that we must educate ourselves and be smart when choosing to eat out or having no other choice. I do have the McMuffin rarely but not the hash browns (deep fried). If people would just keep some stevia packets in the car or purse the oatmeal could be made tasty with that. Sometimes we have to do the best we can and keeping a high protein food bar with me can be the way out of a fast food visit. Be well.

E. Jane said...

I have had the McDonald's oatmeal without brown sugar, and it was an ok choice for traveling without other options. Traveling and making good food choices is dicey, at best, but it can be done. Thanks for this info.

Maren said...

I never eat breakfast out. That is just weird to me, but obviously people are different.

Anonymous said...

First - LOVE the picture - pretty good chuckle and I thank you for that.

The thing that really irks me is that this guy is making a fortune off encouraging people to make bad decisions and gets full throated backing by the media (and you know those people are not slugging down those foods). I think for some this endorsement justifies their choices to continue to eat that stuff and then complain when the weight does not peel off.

Jane Cartelli said...

Downsizers - I carried a protein bar with me for three years. The last two years I started limiting it to only having one on me when I knew could be out for two straight meals and not sure the options would be acceptable to me. I never use them as full meal replacement because, very simply, they are not full meals to my body.

E. Jane - While I do not go there I do like knowing that in an emergency I can get plain oatmeal without the cream or dry fruit and add the fresh apple slices.
At least, until they change from bkfst at 10:30am.

Maren - Bkfst out was one of our favorite things to do for decades. It lost its appeal when butter and pancakes and cream cheese and syrup - and danish - all disappeared from my plan of eating. But that is okay, we have found amazing wonderful activities that beat eating out.

Munchie - Irks me, too. Great marketing on the part of his publishers. Sucks for the public but great for their bottom line. I hope they all get or stay fat. LOL

Anonymous said...

LOL Me too. And not the fat cat variety of fat.


KCLAnderson (Karen) said...

This is me trying to remember what I said in the comment that got lost in cyberspace. You wrote: "WHY can't people in media suggest not even going to the food places that are known dens of pleasure for unhealthy appetites? Are all media people tied in some way to corporate giants who make it impossible for them to issue the most basic of warnings: GET OUT!!?"

And my answer was something this:

Yes, I do believe they ARE tied! And when my mind "goes there" I start to believe that Big Food (which includes Big Diets), Big Media, Big Pharma, and Big Banks are all out to make us fat/sick, dumb and in debt so they can control us. Yeah. I know I sound like a whackadoo, but it really is all about money and even more so, control/power.

Jane Cartelli said...

I do not think you are a whackadoo. There are many people, including me, who think the Big Industries are doing exactly that. If you have not already done so, please read What To Eat by Marion Nestle. (No relation to the chocolate company).