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.