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How Healthy Are the “Healthy” Fast Food Options?

With so many of the fast food joints now offering “healthy” options, it seems like someone should be taking a look at these choices. Breakfast sandwiches made with egg whites, grilled chicken wraps, salads and more are now readily available.

But, a study recently conducted at Tuft University revealed that even though there are more healthy choices on the menus, the most popular items continue to be the cheeseburger and French fries, rather than the new and improved healthy choices. Not only are these items the most popular, but there has been no reduction in the calorie count for these foods. The only positive change has been a reduction in trans fats since 2009, mostly due to stricter FDA controls.

Fast food chains like McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts and Pizza Hut promote their healthy options. But, sadly, these options are not as healthy as they would like you to believe.

Yale University conducted a study using the Nutritional Profiling Index (NPI) to score the nutritional benefits of fast foods based on the caloric content and ingredients (including unprocessed fruits and vegetables, as well as sodium and saturated fats).

Results of the research found that a mere 40% of the items evaluated on McDonald’s “Favourites Under 400 Calories” menu options to conclude that very few of the options actually qualify for the distinction.

Even Subway’s “Fresh Fit” meals, proclaimed to be healthy options, only have a success rate of about 28% when it come to meeting the NPI requirements.

Because many of the options are served in smaller portions, this does help the ratings somewhat, but still, fewer calories is not enough to be considered healthy.

It is important to understand that just because a menu item is proclaimed to be “healthy,” it may not truly meet the NPI standards when it comes to nutritional benefits. The best selling options at most fast food options continue to contain more fat and calories than would be considered to be healthy.



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