Thursday, March 25, 2010

Calories per dollar---How does that Big Mac/Whooper REALLY cost you???

I am eating McDonalds as I post this...Blehhh!!
From HERE:  When New York City adopted a new rule last year requiring chain restaurants to prominently post calorie counts for every item on their menus, it was supposed to be the Day of Judgment for the fast-food industry. Knowledge is the key to winning all modern wars, and calorie information is the new weapon in the war on fat. Who could bear to utter the words "super size" while staring at the calorie counts? 

Actually, a lot of people. In fact, calorie counts are just as useful a tool to increase your calorie consumptionas to reduce it. For those seeking to maximize their calorie count per dollar, the bounty of nutrition information available is a huge boon.  Years ago, in a period of extreme undergraduate poverty, I spent a lot of time staring at fast-food menus and wondering what would get me the best payoff per dollar. Usually, I settled on cheeseburgers, because at the time (this was some years ago), they came at two for a dollar. This seemed like the wiser, more frugal choice than the Big Mac, which I preferred. Yes, I was that broke.  Fortunately, nobody has to face that kind of choice now without adequate information. But doing the calorie-per-dollar math is still a pain, so we've decided to do it for you for a sampling of fast-food choices. We've stuck to the items that could reasonably hold body and soul together for some time. You can take in more calories by just eating donuts. But you will die.  The overall winner in our survey in the Pizza Hut Meat Lover's Personal Pan Pizza, at a price of $4.09 for 890 calories. Prices do vary somewhat: We sighted the same pizza at $4.59 at a second Pizza Hut, which would put it only in the middle of the pack. A number of choices cluster below that in the 200-calories-per-dollar range. Burger King's (BKC) Double Whopper stands out. It's basically tied for the No. 2 spot with Taco Bell's Fiesta Taco Salad but clobbers it in the protein count with 53 grams.  The good old Big Mac is a mediocre deal. It's got what by contemporary standards is a very modest 540 calories, putting it closer to Subway's Footlong Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich from the chain's low-cal menu than to many other options. In fact, you can have a sit-down meal with IHOP's 1,535-calorie chicken fried steak and eggs and do about as well as with the Big Mac.  The new Bacon Cheese Angus Burger did much better. It comes in at the upper end of the range, and is, in addition, an excellent burger. It's been tested in New York and other cities for a while and is now getting rolled out nationwide. I was hoping very much it would win in the value category. It doesn't, but if price is your main but not sole concern, it deserves special consideration. Three of those will nicely fill the daily caloric needs of a teenage boy.

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