How to Eat Low-Carb at Burger King
Burger King is the second largest hamburger fast food chain restaurant, so it’s often convenient. But how does it stack up in terms of offerings for those of use who are cutting carbs? Here’s how to find your way around the Burger King (BK) menu.
Find Information About Carbs
There is a nutritional information brochure at Burger King, but it won’t tell you about custom options such as ordering a burger without the bun.
But some of that information is available online:
Nutritional Information: Information, including carbohydrates, on all the standard Burger King menu items. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell about the individual components. McDonald’s does this, and it’s very helpful. You might be able to guess about the condiments by looking at the McDonald’s tool.
Obviously, ordering burgers without the bun is the way to go. You will get the burger in a plastic container with most of the condiments. As with many other places, mayo seems to be considered a condiment for the bun, not the burger, and you won’t get it unless you ask for it. You may have to ask for a knife and fork to go with it. Hamburgers have zero carbs, but some of the condiments have carbohydrate. Other than saying that the ketchup has 3 grams of carbohydrate and the mayonnaise zero, BK does not give information about the condiments.
The best bet on other sandwiches is the Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich without the bun at 3 grams of carbohydrate. If you get the Veggie Burger bunless, it will cost you 19 grams of carb, and the rest of the sandwiches go up from there.
Salads at BK are, unfortunately, a little disappointing.
In particular, the last time I checked them out the side salads were almost entirely iceberg lettuce. A thin slice of tomato and a few tiny carrots complete the “Garden Salad”. The base for the meal salads was a little better, as it had the more-nutritious romaine lettuce included.
The only low-carb meal salad option is the Tendergrill Chicken Garden Salad, at 8 grams of net carbohydrate (not counting dressing and skip the croutons). The Tendercrisp Chicken Salad has 23 grams of net carbs because the chicken is breaded.
The dressings, as always, contain a wide range of carbohydrate. The best one is the Ranch Dressing at 2 grams of carbohydrate per packet. Do NOT get the Fat Free Ranch Dressing, as it contains
15 grams of sugar! The Creamy Caesar and Light Italian dressings could also reasonable choices, at 4 and 5 grams, respectively. And you don’t have to use the whole thing, of course.
Sides and Desserts
The only real possibility is the Fresh Apple Fries (which aren’t fried, BTW) at 5 grams net carbs. Skip the caramel sauce of course.
If you just want a Chicken Tender or two, they are a little over 2 grams of carb apiece. Choose the Ranch dipping sauce at 1 gram per container.
There are a couple of omelet sandwiches that you could get without the bun, but there is no information about carb counts in that case.
Obviously water, diet sodas, and coffee are the zero carb options (or almost so). Don’t be tempted by the iced coffee, with a diet-busting 66 grams of carbohydrate. And believe it or not, the shakes go up to 154 grams of carbohydrate and 960 calories!!
With care, an occasional meal at BK won’t break your diet, but there isn’t enough nutrition available there to make it a habit
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr P Carrothers
Best and Worst Health Choices at KFC
Most healthy eaters consider chicken to be a diet-friendly food. But the menu at Kentucky Fried Chicken can challenge even the most dedicated dieter. If you check KFC nutrition facts, you’ll see that many menu items are loaded with fat and calories—including the chicken. But it is possible to eat at KFC when you’re trying to lose weight and even to make healthy choices on the menu.
Analyzing the KFC Menu
The KFC menu is built around items that are fried.
So even though chicken is usually a good source of lean protein, most of the chicken items on this menu are going to less healthy. In addition, the side dishes—primarily comfort foods like mashed potatoes, corn bread and macaroni and cheese—will increase your fat and calorie intake while providing very little nutritional value.
However, there are a few grilled selections on the Kentucky Fried Chicken menu that are better for your health. For example the Grilled Chicken Breast provides just 180 calories and 6 grams of total fat. You’ll also get 31 grams of metabolism-boosting protein when you choose this food.
Most Popular KFC Food
Original Recipe and Extra Crispy Chicken are very popular choices at KFC. But the Original Recipe Chicken Breast is loaded with fat and sodium (see label). If you select the Extra Crispy Chicken Breast, you’ll consume 390 calories, 23 grams of fat and 870 milligrams of sodium.
Extra Crispy Tenders are also a menu favorite at KFC.
A single order provides 140 calories, 7 grams of fat 10 grams of protein and 310 milligrams of sodium. And wings are another popular food. An order of KFC Chicken Hot Wings provides 70 calories, 4 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein and 160 milligrams of sodium. But a serving size is just 22 grams, which is very small. You are likely to consume several servings of this food.
Sandwiches and wraps are also popular at KFC. The Crispy Twister, for example, includes a tortilla, extra crispy tenders, mayo, tomatoes, shredded cheese and lettuce. There are 630 calories in the KFC twister wrap, and 34 grams of fat.
Healthiest Options on the Kentucky Fried Chicken Menu
Grilled items will be best for your diet at KFC, but if you love the taste of fried chicken, you still have options. Choose one of these meals to keep your fat and calorie intake in control.
Traditional KFC Meal: 480 calories
Original Recipe Chicken Breast: 320 calories
Corn on the Cob: 70 calories
Mashed Potatoes: 90 calories
Grilled Chicken Meal: 385 calories
Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast: 180 calories
Green Beans: 25 calories
Biscuit: 180 calories
Crispy Chicken Salad Meal: 450 calories
Crispy Chicken Caesar Salad: 330 calories
Marzetti Light Italian Dressing: 15 calories
Cornbread Muffin (half muffin): 105 calories
Least Healthy Choices on the KFC Menu
One of the reasons that a Kentucky Fried Chicken meal is challenging for dieters is that many menu items are served family-style. This can make portion control very difficult. In addition, many of the most popular foods at KFC are fried. So even though they provide a dose of healthy protein, it comes bundled with fat and calories.
To stick to your diet when you eat at KFC, follow these three rules to avoid common mistakes that can send your daily fat and calorie intake through the roof.
Order only single-serve items. Skip the family-style buckets and platters – even if you are eating with a group. That way you know you are consuming only the calories that are posted on the menu board. You may also want to avoid KFC’s popular Go Cups if you are trying to slim down. You don’t get enough food to justify the 500 (or more) calories you’ll consume when you eat one.
Be smart with salad choices. Salads are usually healthy, but there aren’t any grilled salad choices at KFC. Each of the entree salads at Kentucky Fried Chicken comes with fried chicken on top. And the calorie counts listed do not include dressing. You can include these in your diet (see the meal listed above) if you crave crispy chicken, but a healthier choice is to order the side salad and add a piece of grilled chicken on top.
Be selective about sides. The KFC sides you choose can make or break your entire meal. So check the nutrition facts for your favorite dish before you order. The healthiest side dish is Green Beans with only 25 calories and zero grams of fat. Potato wedges are the worst with 290 calories and 15 grams of fat. You might also want to skip the BBQ Baked Beans. Even though beans sound healthy, this recipe will add 210 calories to your total intake.
Lastly, remember to drink water instead of soda when you visit KFC or any fast food restaurant. It’s a better choice for your body when you consume the high sodium levels that you find in many fried foods. And try to make your food choices before you go. That way you’re not distracted by the pictures on the menu board and you’ll be more likely to stick to your diet.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr P Carrothers
“gender-bending” chemicals causing males of all species to become more female “
Fast Food Identified as a Significant Source of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals
Fast food contains many ingredients that compromise health, but did you know these convenience meals also come with an extra serving of endocrine-disrupting chemicals? According to recent research, people who eat drive-through hamburgers and take-out pizzas have higher levels of phthalates in their urine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected data on nearly 8,900 Americans of all age groups between 2003 and 2010 as part of a nationwide survey on health and nutrition. Participants reported everything they’d eaten in the past 24 hours and provided a urine sample.
“Fast food” was broadly defined as food from restaurants without table service and/or those with takeout or drive-through service. So besides McDonalds , Pizza Hut, and similar establishments, it also includes sandwich shops, Starbucks, and other “casual dining” restaurants. As reported by Time magazine:4
“The new report,5 published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that people who ate more fast food also had higher levels of two substances that occur when phthalates — which make plastic more flexible — break down in the body. “
Fast Food Consumption Significantly Increases Phthalate Levels in Your Body
The two phthalate metabolites identified in this particular study were:6
- Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), a highly lipophilic (fat-soluble) chemical that is loosely chemically bonded to the plastic, allowing it to leach out into other fat-containing solutions in contact with the plastic.
Animal studies show that exposure to DEHP can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system, particularly the developing testes of prenatal and neonatal males.
- Di-isononyl phthalate (DiNP), a commonly used plasticizer in flexible PVC products.7While DiNP has been considered harmless from a health and environmental perspective, more recent research suggests it may in fact have similar effects as DEHP and other phthalates.
For example, a 2015 study8 linked both DEHP and DiNP to increased insulin resistance in adolescents.
Approximately one-third of the respondents reported eating fast food in the past 24 hours, and according to the authors, “that alone tells you the public health impact of this type of food preparation.”9
Those who got at least 35 percent of their calories from fast food had nearly 24 percent higher levels of DEHP and 39 percent higher DiNP in their urine compared to those who had not consumed any fast food in that time frame.
In those who ate some fast food, but got less than 35 percent of their calories from it, DEHP and DiNP levels were still nearly 16 and 25 percent higher respectively.
Avoiding Fast Food Can Be a Simple Way to Cut Phthalate Exposure
As noted by the authors, many scientific and clinical bodies, such as the Endocrine Sociery , now suggest reducing exposure to phthalates — especially during pregnancy.
The problem is they’re so widely used, making avoidance difficult. According to this research, simply abstaining from fast food is one way you can significantly reduce your exposure.
Personal care products are another major source of phthalates that are within your control. Pregnant women and young children are at particularly high risk when it comes to these kinds of chemicals. As noted by CNN:10
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a report11in 2013 stating that high levels of exposure to phthalates could lead to adverse reproductive outcomes in women.
Research has linked these chemicals with increased risk of fibroids and endometriosis, which can cause infertility, and reduced IQ and behavioral problems in children exposed in the womb. High phthalate levels have also been linked with diabetes risk in women and adolescents…
‘This study shows that fast food may be an especially important source of phthalate exposure,’ said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program.”
Phthalates From Plastic Gloves, Conveyor Belts, Packaging — It All Adds Up
The researchers point out that one reason fast food exposes you to higher levels of plasticizing chemicals is because workers also use plastic gloves when handling each and every ingredient, and that’s a source of phthalate contamination too, over and beyond the actual packaging.
Japan banned vinyl gloves for use in food establishments back in 2001 due to their phthalate content. In the U.S. however, use of vinyl gloves has actually increased over the years due to the rising prevalence of latex allergies.
While additional research needs to be done to identify which foods pose the greatest risk, the study did find that meats and grain-based food items — even if they were not from a fast food restaurant — tended to result in higher phthalate exposure.
The exact reason for this is still unclear, but it could be related to the way they’re processed, or because the fats they contain bind phthalates more efficiently. That said, fast food as a category had the strongest association with elevated phthalate levels by far.
Researcher Ami Zota notes that previous studies have compared phthalate levels in food before and after packaging, showing that levels rise 100 percent after being packaged. This clearly demonstrates these chemicals do leach out of the plastic and into the food.
Moreover, if the food is packaged when hot, the migration of phthalates is sped up. Findings such as these are hotly refuted by the chemical industry which, despite all the evidence to the contrary, still maintains that phthalates are both safe and relatively stable within the plastic.
Chemical Industry Insists Decades’ Old Safety Levels Are Adequate
Both the National Restaurant Association and the American Chemical Society responded to the study in question saying the phthalate levels found in fast food are “well below” levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems potentially harmful to human health.12
However, EPA safety levels for DEHP have not been revised since 1988. And, according to study author Ami Zota: “The same range of concentrations measured in this [group] overlaps with the range of concentrations that have been measured in some of epidemiological studies that find adverse health effects,” so EPA levels may simply be too lenient.
In fact, some researchers suggest there may be NO safe level of phthalates in humans. Dr. Leo Trasande, an associate professor of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine who has researched phthalates in food, told Civil Eats:13
“No studies in humans have found a safe level of phthalate exposure. We know there are effects of low level exposure. For example, the levels found in this new study are comparable to those previously linked to blood pressure increases14 and metabolic effects15 in children.”
Health Risks Associated With Phthalates
Phthalates are one of the groups of “gender-bending” chemicals causing males of all species to become more female “These chemicals have disrupted the endocrine systems of wildlife, causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts and infertility in a number of species, including polar bears, deer, whales and otters. Scientists suspect phthalates may affect human fertility and reproduction in similar ways.
Animal studies have also linked phthalate exposure to a wide range of other health problems, including the following (see chart below)16,17,18 The reason for their diverse effects has to do with the fact that they mimic natural sex hormones. This is particularly problematic in children who are still growing and developing, as the glands of your endocrine system and the hormones they release influence almost every cell, organ, and function of your body.
Besides being instrumental in sexual function and reproductive processes, your endocrine system also plays a role in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism.
|Reduced IQ in children19,20 (phthalates may affect the activity of aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen, which plays an important role in brain development)||“Decreased dysgenesis syndrome” involving cryptorchidism (undescended testicles), hypospadias (birth defect in which opening of urethra is on the underside of the penis instead of at the end), and oligospermia (low sperm count)|
|Interference with sexual differentiation in utero||Enlarged prostate glands, testicular cancer, breast cancer, and uterine fibroids|
|Impaired ovulatory cycles and polycystic ovary disease (PCOS)||Numerous hormonal disruptions and metabolic disease|
|Early or delayed puberty||Disturbed lactation|
|Toxicity to developing male reproductive systems21,22||Neurodevelopmental delays, inattention, hyperactivity, and symptoms of autism23|
|Miscarriage and preterm birth||Allergies and respiratory problems24|
Phthalates Are Everywhere
Phthalates are among the most pervasive of all known endocrine disrupters. According to EPA estimates, more than 470 million pounds of phthalates are produced each year.25
They’re primarily used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible and resilient, but they can also be found in air fresheners, dryer sheets, and personal care products like shampoo, shower gels, lotions, and makeup. Their prevalence in personal care products is thought to be the reason why women tend to have higher levels of phthalates in their system than men.
Furniture, upholstery, mattresses, and wall coverings can also contain phthalates. They’ve even been detected in infant formula and baby food (likely because they migrated from the packaging materials). They are also used as “inert” ingredients in pesticides.26
Considering how ubiquitous they are, avoiding phthalates entirely may be near impossible. Being mindful when shopping for food, household, and personal care products can go a long way toward minimizing your exposure, but the risks these chemicals pose really demand a more universal response.
As Zota told Time magazine:27 “Our study helps shed light on one potential way that people can reduce their exposure to these chemicals through their diet, but it also points to a broader problem of widespread chemicals in our food systems that will require many different types of stakeholders to get involved in order to fix it.”
Tips to Help You Avoid Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
To limit your exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals like phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA), keep the following guidelines in mind when shopping for food, personal care and household products.
|Avoid fast-food restaurant fare and processed goods. Eating a diet focused on locally grown, ideally organic, whole foods cooked from scratch will significantly limit your exposure to not only phthalates and BPA but also a wide array of other chemicals, including synthetic food additives and pesticides.||Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Besides phthalates, avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.|
|Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans; be aware that even”BPA-free” plastics typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA.||Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics.
EWG’s Skin Deep database28 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.
|Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap as it too contains phthalates that can migrate into your food (especially if you microwave food wrapped in plastic).||Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one or glass doors.|
|Use glass baby bottles and drinking bottles.||Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives.|
|Filter your tap water for both drinking and bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contaminants .
Under the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for DEHP of 0.006 mg/dL, or 6 ppb.29
Note that the Safe Drinking Water Act regulates DEHP levels only for public water supplies, not for well water.
|Look for fragrance-free products. One artifical fragrance can contain hundreds — even thousands — of potentially toxic chemicals, including phthalates.
Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.
|If you have PVC pipes, you may have DEHP leaching into your water supply. If you have PVC pipe from before 1977, you will definitely want to upgrade to a newer material.
This “early-era” PVC pipe can leach a carcinogenic compound called vinyl chloride monomer into your water. Alternatives to PVC for water piping include ductile iron, high-density polyethylene, concrete, copper, and PEX.30
|Consider replacing vinyl flooring with a “greener” material. Also avoid soft, flexible plastic flooring, such as those padded play-mat floors for kids (often used in day cares and kindergartens), as there’s a good chance it is made from phthalate-containing PVC.|
|Read the labels and avoid anything containing phthalates. Besides DEHP, also look for DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), BzBP (benzyl butyl phthlate), and DMP (dimethyl phthalate).
Also be wary of anything listing a “fragrance,” which often includes phthalates.
|Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It’s advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.|
Please spread the word to your family and friends. If you don’t understand something in this article, or have any questions, please give us a call.
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived Article : JM