Fast Food

fatty beef BurgerEver wondered what is in that fast food meal you just ate? I don’t mean a burger with meat, cheese & tomato sauce served with hot, salty chips,  I mean nutritionally. Most of us don’t read food labels, but for those of us who do, you will struggle to find all the details about your fast food choice.

This may surprise you – the major fast food outlets have nutrition calculators available on-line.  These tell you the amount of energy, protein, fats, carbohydrates (sugars) and sodium (salt) in their foods. You can enter one item or an entire meal and the calculator will add it up for you. The totals include number of Kilojoules (energy consumed).

I want to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a few of these web site calculators. I hope you enjoy.

KFC – This is possibly the easiest of them all.  As long as you know their menu, you can just type in the search bar your chosen meal, hit calculate and the numbers all appear for you in the totals box. It does have a weakness in that, it tells the consumer the recommended amount of Kilojoules an adult male should be eating and no recommendations for any other demographic. It does, however, provide a link which is aimed at guiding you through the ‘nutritional maze’.

McDonald’s – Maybe not as easy as the KFC web-site but still fairly easy once you get going.  It could be just me, but I couldn’t find an Australian version, so you have to go with the UK one. You need to know which meal items fall into what category, for example condiments and sauces is different to sides. Once you select your chosen product you hit the calculate button and it adds it to your meal.  The odd thing is that the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) is set for a woman and this can’t be changed, or at least I couldn’t work out how to change it.  So if you are male or under the age of 18 (which is well over 50% of McDonald’s customer base) the recommendations of daily intake mean nothing.  Another flaw is that what is being recommended is coming out of the UK and not Australia.  In saying all of that – with half a brain you can work it out fairly easily.

Subway – This web site is probably the most interesting of them all.  It effortlessly takes you to the nutritional information of its sub range, but there is a major flaw.  I could not find the nutritional information on their cookies or soft drinks.  I guess when you are a multi-national, marketing yourself as healthy, it would be a shame to shine a bright light on the reality of the additional products and the total lack of nutritional value that they provide.  Let’s face it, when we buy these additional products, we already know a cookie and a bottle of coke hold little to no nutritional value. All it takes is a 14 year old student to teach me how things work! The address for cookies and drinks is Thanks Matt.

Hungry Jack’s   These guys have produced a 7 page PDF.  This makes it really easy to run your eye down to find what you are looking for.  As far as I could see, I don’t eat Hungry Jack’s, the PDF includes everything on their menu.  The negative, when compared to the on-line calculators, is that you have to do add the totals yourself.  This is not a major issue, it just takes a little more effort.

Eat for Health – This website seems very easy to use and breaks down the nutritional requirements needed in your daily intake

My Daily Intake This website is awesome if you are wanting to find out how much of what you should be eating. It has a calculator so that you can enter your own data to find out how many kilojoules you should be consuming in a day.  There is a guide here for BMI (Body Mass Index) if that’s your thing, I don’t personally prescribe to this method of finding out if you are healthy or not (that’s just me). The last thing I will mention here is that this website also explains, in simple terms, what the role of each nutrient is in the diet.

My Fitness Pal This website  is a fantastic resource if you are trying to get an individual breakdown on each food item you are consuming.  I am not claiming that it is exhaustive, but I can tell you it is pretty good.  All you have to do is add your individual ingredient and the quantity and then hit the add button and it does the rest. It then breaks down the nutrition value of each of your entered items. It gives you the Calories, Carbohydrates, Fat, Protein, Sodium and Sugar. It also gives you a total so you can find out what a whole meal provides. There are two negatives – it gives you calories instead of kilojoules, in Australia we use kilojoules.  There are plenty of websites that can convert your info over e.g. The only other issue is that the weights are in Ounces (oz).  Same principle applies here, Google a conversion calculator to get your data in Grams (g) e.g.

It probably seems like a lot of work on your initial look so make sure you give yourself some time to work it all out.


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