McDonald’s has tried to include healthier options on their menu, like kale salad, but the popular chain’s efforts appear to have backfired, when the news came out that in at least some ways, McDonald’s Big Mac is diet food compared to their kale salad. Though kale, in itself, is a nutritious and healthy vegetable for people to eat, as a salad with other ingredients at McDonald’s, according to People, it “contains more calories, fat, and sodium than a Big Mac does.”
Many people these days are trying to eat healthier food choices and shed a few extra unwanted pounds by turning to menu options like salads. However, the odd truth is that when it comes to McDonald’s Big Mac, which has often been considered to be one of the food items on the fast food chain’s menu that has helped lead to America’s obesity epidemic, it might be more of a “diet food,” than many of the salads served at McDonald’s.
How can McDonald’s Big Mac be considered a healthier menu option than their kale salad, which contains romaine lettuce and baby spinach, as well as kale, all of which are generally considered to be healthy for people to eat? The problem with calling the three salads featuring kale in them that McDonald’s has introduced does not lie in those three vegetables, but in the other ingredients in the salads.
For example, the Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken also has bacon ranch dressing on it and pieces of fried chicken included. With all of the ingredients added up, according to People, the salad contains 690 calories, while a Big Mac contains 540 calories. The Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken is also relatively high in fat content, at 45 g., and sodium content, with 1,530 mg. of sodium. By contrast, McDonald’s Big Mac’s fat content is 28 g. and it contains 970 mg. of sodium.
When it comes to McDonald’s Southwest Salad with Crispy Chicken, it has a bit fewer calories than the Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken, at 630. The salad also has a somewhat lower fat content in it, though one that is still higher than that of a McDonald’s Big Mac, with 34 g. of fat. As far as sodium content goes, that is at 1,090 mg. If ranch dressing is substituted, the calorie count goes up significantly higher, with the salad coming in at 710 calories.
Though it is currently available only in Canada, McDonald’s “Keep Calm, Caesar On” salad is really a diet disaster. It comes in at a whopping 739 calories and the fat content is also the highest of the three salads, at 53 g. The sodium content is higher, as well, at 1,400 mg. According to CBC.ca, the salad “has more calories, fat and sodium than a Double Big Mac.”
Like the Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken, the “Keep Calm, Caesar On” salad contains bacon and fried chicken. In addition, according to McDonald’s official website, it contains “real parmesan petals and roasted garlic focaccia croutons.”
Toronto registered dietitian, Shauna Lindzon, said of the McDonald’s “Keep Calm, Caesar On” salad that “Health-wise, I think it’s fat and sodium overload.” She added, “Putting kale into the menu doesn’t mean you’re getting a healthy choice.”
Has the world been turned upside-down? Are McDonald’s Big Macs a better “diet food,” than their kale salads? While most, if not all, dietitians likely would not consider McDonald’s Big Mac sandwiches to be a “diet food,” when it is compared head-to-head with McDonald’s kale salads, Big Macs are lower in calories, fat content, and sodium. Of course, a McDonald’s Big Mac presumably does not have the fiber content or vitamins of the fast food chain’s salads, though. Still, all things considered, an article in Hollywood Life, for one, reasons if a person intends to go to McDonald’s, “…you’re probably better off going with the real fast food, burgers and fries.”
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy McDonald’s