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Health Watch: Healthy Fast Food?

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The new fast food trend offers healthy options, but is it really good for you? 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl takes a closer look at the numbers and finds some shocking results.

Salads and grilled items, even oatmeal, fast food now has a healthy side, or at least that’s what you might think.

Wendy’s apple pecan chicken salad has 580 calories, the same amount as a double stack burger and value fries combined.

And the salad has 1590 milligrams of sodium, a third more than the burger and fries.

To top it off, the salad has 27 grams of fat, more than three small vanilla frosties.

“I think that salads trick you sometimes,” said Emily Myers, of Old City.

At Burger King you can now get a veggie burger or a tender grill chicken sandwich, either one’s better than a cheeseburger, right? The cheeseburger has fewer calories, less fat and salt.

The cheeseburger has 300 calories, but the veggie burger has 410 calories and 14 grams of fat versus 16 grams. The cheeseburger has 710 milligrams of sodium, and there are 1,030 milligrams in the veggie burger.

“Wow, I didn’t know that,” said Eileen Brodbar, who is visiting Philadelphia.

The tender grill chicken has 1100 milligrams of sodium, that’s the same amount of salt that you’d get in 110 Pringles potato chips.

“When you’re trying to make something that’s a little healthier, we always add a little extra salt for flavor. And then if there’s a mayonnaise or any kind of special sauce those things typically are very high in sodium,” said Flavia Herzog, a registered dietitian in Philadelphia. She says finding healthy fast food options can be tricky.

“Healthy isn’t always really healthy. There’s a lot more to what they’re eating than what they would imagine,” said Flavia.

Like with the Chick-Fil-A Large Carrot and Raisin salad, it actually has only one less gram of fat than an order of medium waffle fries and more calories – 390 calories in this salad, the same as nearly four Reeses peanut butter cups.

“Sometimes eating a salad is as bad as eating a sundae,” said Flavia.

And what about breakfast over at McDonald’s – an Egg McMuffin or the fruit and maple oatmeal?

“I would think the oatmeal is healthier,” said Kaytlyn Barret, who is visiting Philadelphia.

Well maybe, but if you’re watching your weight the oatmeal has 290 calories, only 10 fewer than the McMuffin, and it has 32 grams of sugar, more than what’s in a Snickers candy bar.

“Boy, it’s pretty surprising,” said Connor Stone, who is visiting Philadelphia.

“I think there’s a lot of hidden calories, a lot of hidden fat, so I think you just have to be aware,” said Kathy Ludlam, who is visiting Philadelphia.

Nutritionists say oatmeal is usually a healthier option than a McMuffin, when it’s not full of sugar and extra fat.

All of the nutritional information is available on each of the chains websites, so consumers can easily check on the numbers to make educated decisions about healthy options.

Watch the video…

For nutritional informational on the above items, click on the links below:

Wendy’s Nutrition Facts- http://www.wendys.com/food/Nutrition.jsp
Burger King Nutrition Facts- http://www.bk.com/en/us/menu-nutrition/index.html
Chick-Fil-A Nutrition Facts- http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Food/Meal
REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups Nutrition Facts- http://www.hersheys.com/reeses/products/reeses-peanut-butter-cups/milk-chocolate.aspx
McDonald’s Nutrition Facts- http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/nutritionexchange/nutritionfacts.pdf
SNICKERS- http://www.snickers.com/default.htm

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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