Observations On a Burger

I saw a TV commercial yesterday for a new burger concoction called the “Most American Thickburger”, which grabbed my attention for its unique toppings – kettle cooked potato chips and a split hot dog. My first thought was to ask, “what person with even a foggy notion that food and health are related would order this burger?” Of course I checked the nutrition information and found the ½ pound option (why not go big) delivers about 1,200 calories, 80 grams total fat, 30 grams saturated fat, 200 milligrams cholesterol, 70 grams carbohydrate, and almost 3,200 milligrams sodium!

I immediately wanted to use this burger for a diabetes lesson, but I wanted something interesting. I’m thinking that just pointing out how close this one single burger comes to making (and in some cases exceeding) a full days worth of these nutritional parameters doesn’t have enough of a “wow” factor for you. So, how about these observations:

    • One popular restaurant’s potato skins appetizer has more calories (1,400), more total fat (100 grams), more saturated fat (33 grams), and more carbohydrate (89 grams) than the “Most American Thickburger”
    • The “California” Turkey Club (“California” means healthy, right?) at another family restaurant has significantly more calories (1,520), more total fat (83 grams), twice the carbohydrate (141 grams), and more sodium (3,500 milligrams) than the hot dog and potato chip dressed half pound burger
    • The Chicken and Broccoli Pasta (broccoli!) at a mall-based chain has more calories (1,436), more total fat (87 grams), more carbohydrate (100 grams), and nearly as much sodium (3,024 milligrams) compared to the burger…and
    • The Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad (a salad!) at a different chain eatery has more calories (1,290), more total fat (82 grams), and more carbohydrate (90 grams)

The lesson? Don’t assume. The four dishes I’ve selected to compare to the new “Thickburger” (and I could have found many more) all might hint at healthier – an appetizer, “California”, broccoli, and a salad. But, it all comes down to the numbers, and for most restaurants the numbers are easy to find. Just be sure to look.

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