Like most Americans today, you’re on the move and don’t have time to cook every meal. Every so often, perhaps, you’ll find yourself in your car, grumbling in the stomach, and getting more stressed out by the second. Your eyes rush like a lion looking for its prey. However, unlike the lion in Africa, you have plenty of options for a quick and easy meal.
With casual dining establishments clustered along city streets and crammed into shopping malls from coast to coast, your only concern is deciding where to go. Suddenly, your eyes are closed to somewhere, and by the time it takes you to sing along to Shawn Mendes’ song “Hold Me Back” in your car, you’re done driving, and now your hands are on a hot, delicious sandwich. Easy breeze, isn’t it?
The question is, have you ever thought about the nutritional content of choosing a sandwich? Is it the right choice for your specific health needs or fitness goals? Do you even know how many calories you take in every time you eat out?
Registered dietitians Karen Smith, Amy Shapiro and Stephanie McBurnett will say, NO! We’ve teamed up with these three experts to examine the nutritional content of a range of sandwiches currently on fast food menus across the country and rank them from bad to worse. They also provide some alternative options for healthy options.
per sandwich: 730 calories, 35 g fat (16 g saturated fat), 265 mg cholesterol, 1770 mg sodium, 66 g carbs (3 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 37 g protein.
When you hear the word “farm,” you may immediately think of good health and vitality. Well, you’ll be right about the second part. This breakfast sandwich features a grated cheesy brown bread stacked with two eggs (not one!) and bacon, ham, and cream cheese definitely counts as creamy (read: big and plentiful). So, unless you’re a farmer working the field burning all those hearty calories, Smith says you should avoid starting your day with this breakfast sandwich.
“Choosing this for your first meal of the day means you’ll be consuming more saturated fat — the type of fat associated with increased risk of heart disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes — than the American Heart Association recommends eating in an entire day,” says Smith, who works at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Barnard Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He is also a certified diabetes care and education specialist. “Plus, there’s a massive amount of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and nourish a good gut microbiome, because every ingredient from eggs to meat to multiple types of cheese is animal food and contains no fiber. 3 grams of fiber comes from high-purity brownies and brownies. Grease-filled hash.
Instead, Smith suggests opting for oats cut into strawberries and walnuts (this Panera bread is served before 10:30 a.m.) or making a sandwich with hummus or avocado and vegetables, like thisAt home and eat it with a side of fresh fruit.
per sandwich: 780 calories (41 g fat, 12 g saturated fat), 145 mg cholesterol, 2390 mg sodium, 61 g carbs (4 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 46 g protein.
Del Taco may have gone where most Mexican fast food restaurants haven’t with their newly launched torta (also known as sandwiches), but should you? Serve these three new tortillas on 7-inch toasted rolls that pack a lot of calories and fat, especially the BLT Epic Torta made with grilled chicken, bacon, ranch, cheese, cheddar, shredded lettuce, and pico de gallo.
“These sandwiches do not contain any of the foods that the World Health Organization defines as part of a healthy eating pattern – fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts – unless you factor in the small amounts of lettuce and pico de gallo added to the sandwiches,” Smith says.
If you are trying to reduce sodium in your diet, then Chicken BLT is not for you. Shapiro, founder of Real Nutrition NYC, warns, “This sandwich contains more than the recommended amount of sodium for the day and is high in saturated fats and carbohydrates, all of which increase the risk of potential disease. It’s also very high in fats and carbohydrates, which can lead to high levels of carbs, which can lead to serious health problems.” increase the risk of high cholesterol and triglycerides.
A better choice, according to Smith, is the black bean burrito (lettuce, tomato, onion, and jalapeno) from Taco Bell; Hold the cheese, sour cream, and meat, and add the seasoned rice. She says the total fat with guacamole is 11 grams and without 9 grams.
per sandwich820 calories, 46 g fat (10 g saturated, .5 g trans), 115 mg cholesterol, 2820 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (4 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 50 g protein
Zaxby’s Signature Club Sandwich hit the market earlier this year. This modified version of Signature Sandwich adds two slices of bacon and American cheese to the mix with a choice of Zachs sauce or Zachs spicy sauce. It occupies 820 calories with 46 grams of fat and 52 grams of carbohydrates low in processed fiber, which Shapiro warns can lead to increased cholesterol and weight gain.
Smith suggests that a healthier option is homemade black beans or another type of veggie burger. Skip the cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, and/or mustard. Bonus points if mushrooms are available as an add-on!
per sandwich: 930 calories, 44 g fat (15 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 125 mg cholesterol, 1540 mg sodium, 85 g carbs (4 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 47 grams of protein
This sandwich is piled with grass-fed beef, aged white cheddar, pickled red onions and horseradish sauce and served on ciabatta bread. According to Shapiro, this sandwich contains nearly a day’s worth of calories for some individuals, and is also rich in fats and saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease. In addition, it is a food rich in carbohydrates and low in fiber, which can promote blood sugar irregularities and health precautions down the road.
Stephanie McBurnett, a registered dietitian and nutrition educator with the Physicians’ Committee, cites sodium content as a concern. “The sodium content of this sandwich may harm your body and blood pressure,” she warns. “The American Heart Association states that excess sodium levels of more than 2,300 milligrams per day may increase blood pressure and cause swelling, puffiness, and puffiness.”
Instead, McBurnett suggests “grab the cheese and add the veggies to reduce the amount of sodium in the sandwich. Or, better yet, choose Tempeh bacon, sprouts, tomato sandwich Loaded with healthy fiber and much less sodium.”
per sandwich: 1120 calories, 80 g fat (20 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 200 mg cholesterol, 2,630 mg sodium, 69 g carbs (3 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 33 grams of protein
The mother of all chicken sandwiches, this selection features crispy chicken dipped in beer-flavored cheese sauce swimming with diced bacon and topped with bacon strips, spicy pickles, and crunchy onions. Talk about eliminating your diet goals. According to McBurnett, this fast food selection is so high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium that if it were your mom, she wouldn’t let you eat it!
“This sandwich even contains trans fats, which the Food and Drug Administration has deemed no longer ‘generally recognized as safe’ due to its effect on raising LDL,” she says.
Alternatively, you can “86” strips of bacon and cheese sauce if you want to cut back on the bad-for-you ingredients. But since chicken breast alone contains 29% of saturated fat, it’s best to switch to this Rainbow hummus sandwichMcBurnett suggests.
per sandwich medium: 1190 calories, 66 g fat (27 g saturated fat), 225 mg cholesterol, 2430 mg sodium, 75 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 76 g protein.
Going big or going home, right? Well, home is where you should go if you are considering a medium-sized Beef Bacon Smokecheesy from Schlotzsky’s Deli. The sandwich chain’s signature sourdough bread is piled with roast Angus beef and piled with smoked cheddar cheese, bacon, and chipotle mayonnaise.
“This delicious sandwich should come with a warning label because it contains nearly three times the recommended amount of saturated fat you should consume in a day!” McBurnett warns. “Eating large amounts of saturated fat puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.”
Shapiro adds that no one needs that much protein in one meal because it’s hard for the body to process that much protein in one sitting. (Many experts agree that 30 grams of protein per serving is a good place to be.)
McBurnett recommends skipping the mayonnaise, bacon, and cheddar cheese to reduce the saturated fat in this sandwich, or simply skip them altogether.
per sandwichCalories 1449.5, 64 g fat (10.9 g saturated, 0.5 g trans), 91.2 mg cholesterol, 4.730.7 mg sodium, 178.3 g carbs (6.7 g fiber, 11.9 g sugar), 42.4 g protein
“I know why they called this sandwich Ch’King because the calories and the amount of sodium are so big,” McBurnett says. “Only on this sandwich alone, you consume more than half of your recommended calories for an entire day [based on a 2,000-calorie per day diet] And double the amount of sodium than you should be consuming each day.”
Instead, choose a Burger King salad, which will significantly reduce your total calories and sodium, says McBurnett.
per sandwich: 1,810 calories, 108 g fat (46 g saturated fat, 5 g trans fat), 270 mg cholesterol, 4950 mg sodium, 128 g carbs (14 g fiber, 25 g sugar) 91 grams of protein
Subway’s online menu description says this is the kind of sandwich you’d get from an Italian grandmother. Filled with meatballs marinated in marinara sauce, The Boss also stacks mozzarella with pepperoni and comes on an Italian herb and cheese bun.
This sandwich is “very high in everything including calories, fat and sodium. This is an unhealthy option and should be avoided if you have any health goals in mind,” Shapiro Flat-Out says.
McBurnt points out that based on the American Heart Association’s recommendation to get no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, this sandwich shouldn’t be the mainstay of any diet because it contains 4,950 milligrams of sodium.
To reduce sodium, she recommends removing the cheese and pepperoni. “But, by turning into an authority, or these portobellos barbecue styleYour blood pressure will benefit the most.”
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