Dr. Lenard Lesser, a research physician from Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, was intrigued when the kids he worked with said that Subway was a healthy place to go and McDonalds the unhealthy place. So he decided to look at the facts. Researchers recruited 97 adolescents between the ages of 12 to 21.
“We took the same kids to the same restaurants and had them order a meal with their own money just like they could after school,” Dr. Lesser told KTRH. They took the receipts and compared the food choices to the nutritional information available on each chain’s website.
“We found that the kids ate roughly the same amount of calories at McDonalds and Subway; a little over a thousand at McDonalds and a little under a thousand at Subway,” Dr. Lesser says.
On average, the sandwiches the students selected from Subway had 784 calories compared with 572 for McDonalds. Side items added another 35 calories at Subway, 201 calories at McDonalds. Their orders averaged 102 grams of carbohydrates at Subway, 128 grams at McDonalds. Sodium intake averaged 2,149 grams at Subway, 1829 at McDonalds.
Dr. Lenard Lesser told KTRH he found “kids ate more vegetables at Subway, a little over half a cup, and ordered more sugary drinks at McDonalds, which left to more sugar being purchased at McDonalds.
“The thing most people should keep in mind is that fast food is fast food is fast food,” Baylor nutritionist Kristi King told KTRH. “You can put lipstick on it and it’s still going to be fast food.”
For better choices, King recommends choosing smart options when dining at a fast food restaurant, such as a salad with dressing on the side and not using the whole dressing packet. Also limiting the amount of cheese and croutons you add to a salad. And suggests grilled chicken or fish over fried when that’s an option.
Dr. Lesser also suggests you opt for smaller subs, and ask for less meat and double the amount of vegetables.