Saturday, November 14, 2009

How many calories?

During a recent trip to Belgium, we had lunch at Quick, the Belgian/French equivalent of McDonalds. I don't often eat in fast food restaurants, so I'm not sure if this is common practice in other countries, but all the food and drinks we ordered came with "nutritional information" labels, showing calories, protein, fat, sugar and salt content.

Quite sobering reading, considering a Supreme Cheese burger has a whopping 678 calories and 3.1 grams of salt.

Add some fries and you've got an extra 335 calories!

Luckily I had a King Fish sandwich ("only" 422 calories), no fries and just a diet coke to drink. A normal Coke would have added another 147 calories.

Interestingly enough, all information was given in % of the guideline daily amount for men, women (and in some cases) older and younger children, so you could see exactly how much damage you were doing by biting into your sandwich. A woman eating a Supreme Cheese burger and a portion of fries, will have consumed more than half the recommended 2000 calories per day needed to maintain a healthy weight. That's before she's even touched her fizzy drink.

Thank God for the latest research by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, which claims that the recommended daily intake of calories could be increased by up to 16% (or an extra 400 calories - bag of fries or average size cheeseburger - a day). This good news, however, only applies to people who "exercise more". Heh. Knew there had to be a catch.

Back to the usual low-cal diet for us mere mortals then.


Marg, the Sal. said...

American McDonalds have their whole menu's nutritional value printed on the back of the tray liner, as well as posted online. Which is pretty eye opening - I believe a Bic Mac is about 500 calories by itself, and there are now larger burgers to choose from.

At least they have started initiating green salad as healthier side option. Not that it tastes as good as good ol' addictive fries!

Puss-in-Boots said...

It's law here for nutritional value to be on fast food packets.

I don't eat fast food...although my one indulgence used to be McDonald's hot cakes with whipped butter and maple syrup but only about every 3 or 4 months.

Unfortunately, since I've been diagnosed as wheat intolerant, that's out...more's the pity. Oh well...

Shionge said...

How interesting! All in big prints so we make our choice wisely :)

Shanny said...

Don't eat much fastfood, but once in a while I do have the craving and I go "all the way" for it: McDonalds, KFC or Burger King! Do not read anything about calories and do not even want to know how much damage it will cause :)

Tinsie said...

@ Marg: Ah but you can avoid looking on the back of the tray liner, whereas the back of the burger box is impossible to avoid, esp. if you're having a group meal. If it's not your box you see, it will be the person's sitting opposite or next to you!

I'm lucky I've gone off fries, so even if I eat at a fast food restaurant I only have a burger and diet coke. Not too bad calorie-wise.

@ Puss-in-Boots: Hot cakes with whipped butter and maple syrup sound devine!! I wonder whether they do them here... I don't recall seeing them.

@ Shionge: Or feel guilty about our choice once we've made it ;-)

@ Shanny: Here's a piece of advice for you: don't have fast food in Belgium! The dreaded information is everywhere - on the packets and on poster boards too!

Marg, the Sal. said...

I love McDonalds breakfast food. It used to be my breakfast of choice every time I'd fly from Pittsburgh since it was the only place open at 7am inside the airport.

But then, I'm a complete sucker for pancakes in any form of preparation. At home I have both microwaveable and dry mix, as well as a couple of recipes to make them from scratch.

Tinsie said...

I've never seen pancakes on offer at McDonald's this side of the pond. Sounds as if we're missing out!!