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Help, I'm at a Fast Food Chain!

WebMD's motto: Be prepared.
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

When we are desperate to grab something fast and we only have a 5-spot in our pockets, many of us gravitate toward the nation's top 5 fast-food places. As a nutritionist, I have to say that we couldn't do a worse thing for our weight or our health. But I'm also an American, and unfortunately it's the American thing to do. I do it, you do it, we all do it. Here's Elaine's "Golden Arch" Rule in case it helps you: Don't let yourself eat fast food more than once a week.

But when we do find ourselves under the golden arches or walking into Wendy's, don't despair. With our help, you can go "fast fooding" knowing how to choose wisely.

Actually, uncovering the most and least healthful fast food selections is easy because many of the chains, like the ones below, provide nutritional analysis on their menu items.

You'll notice the better choices listed below have 10-15 grams of fat or less and the worst choices have 25-30 grams of fat or more. We want to have some fat in each meal to keep it appealing, satisfying, and slowly digested so we don't feel hungry right away, and 10-15 grams gives us some fat without giving us too much.

Here are some of Fast Food's best and worst offerings:


McDonald's Best
Lowfat Apple Bran Muffin 3 grams fat and 300 calories
Grilled Chicken Deluxe without mayo 5 grams fat and 300 calories
Hotcakes, plain 7 grams fat and 310 calories
Their smallest hamburger 9 grams fat and 260 calories
Grilled Chicken Salad Deluxe with 1 pkg Red French Reduced Calorie dressing 9.5 grams fat and 280 calories
Egg McMuffin 12 grams fat and 290 calories
Their smallest cheeseburger 13 grams fat and 320 calories

McDonald's Worst
Sausage Biscuit with Egg 37 grams fat and 550 calories
Big Mac 31 grams fat and 560 calories
Sausage Biscuit 31 grams fat and 470 calories
Quarter Pounder with Cheese 30 grams fat and 530 calories
Fish Filet Deluxe 28 grams fat and 560 calories
Sausage McMuffin with egg 28 grams fat and 440 calories
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit 28 grams fat and 470 calories
Large size french fries 26 grams fat and 540 calories
Chicken McNuggets, 9 pieces 26 grams fat and 430 calories
Crispy Chicken Deluxe 25 grams fat and 500 calories
Sausage McMuffin 23 grams fat and 360 calories
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