Dieters Beware: Fast Food Chains May Fool You

fast food chains mislead consumersWe’ve all been there before. That moment when you have to make a decision to either eat nothing, or eat fast food. I just recently had that dilema myself. I needed food – fast. Luckily, a Wendy’s was just around the corner. I knew, from previous calorie-counting experience, I could find a low-calorie option there, so off I went.

As I waited on the customers in front of me, I began to browse the menu (which, by the way is always a mistake). I hadn’t been to a Wendy’s in some time so there were many new items, and I decided to try something new.

Mistake #1

Fast food chains deceive consumersYou see, if you are on a diet, you should never even consider what you WANT to eat. That’s like window shopping with no money. A dieter needs to make a decision based on what they can afford to eat, not what they want to taste. So, with that said, it’s best not to look at every high-calorie tasty menu item. Stick to the plan Bonnie.

Too late, the first mistake was made. I went off plan and ordered the Baja Chicken Salad. I did, however, go on my handy dandy FastFoodCal app to check out the damage before I actually ordered it. Once I saw the half salad was only 280 calories, I made the order – BUT, several more mistakes were made without my knowledge.

Mistake #2, #3 & #4…

calories add upAfter I got home, I looked up the official Wendy’s nutritional information online to see if the calories included dressing. That would be a big fat NO. Not only did it not include the dressing, their PDF nutritional menu items did not include any toppings at all. So, I used their customizable calorie counter to add or remove toppings for an accurate calorie count. After I did the math, adding the 100 calorie dressing and the 80 calories in tortilla chips, I got the REAL total for the Baja Salad, as it was intended to be eaten. 470 calories, not 280. Big difference!

Granted, I didn’t eat the chips and I didn’t need the dressing since it had guacamole and pico de gallo, but how many other people would have taken the time to dig a little deeper to find the correct nutritional information about their meal? I was so upset at how difficult it was to figure this all out. All I could think of are all the newbie dieters who gobbled the whole 470 calories up, and put 280 on their log – and they wonder why they aren’t losing weight. They are TRYING their best, but these types of common mistakes sabotage their efforts, and restaurants aren’t helping.

Counting Calories Shouldn’t Be This Hard

dieting shouldn't be rocket science

Counting calories is already a pain but, if you really want to succeed, now you have to be a mathematician AND a private investigator – because many chains desquise calories and hide evidence. The way many chains create their nutritional graph is an irritating sneaky tactic to throw consumers off. Notice the very first number (circled below in red) is weight, not calories. They know good and well we look at that first number, expecting THAT number to refer to calories? It’s the first number on most labels, and it’s the most important number for a dieter, so why put it second? I’ll tell you why. They hope people look at that number instead, and mistake it for a lower calorie item. Believe me, I know better and I still almost got fooled.

fast food chain's nutritional deception tactic

The Truth May be Hard to Swallow, but It Leaves a Better Taste in Your Mouth

fast food chains leave a bad taste in dieters' mouthsRestaurants, you should list the calories as it was intended to be served, not list the lowest number based on what you think customers want to hear. Dishing out lies, and relying on people to be too lazy to figure out the truth, is so deceptive – and no one likes being deceived.

There will be plenty of unhealthy people who will continue to buy your greasy high-calorie food, but if you want to also capture the people who value their health more than your value meal, you need to start serving up the truth and giving us what we need to help us reach our goals while still eating on the go. The alternative is to avoid eating fast food altogether. So, do you want to help us or not? Or are you just doing the bare minimum so you can be in compliance and “appear” to be helping America fight obesity.

The fact of the matter is, no matter how tasty your food is, if you can’t be honest and more helpful to dieters, it will just leave us all with a bad taste in our mouth – and that’s something no amount of breath mints can cover up.

CLICK HERE to see 20 examples of how 1 ITEM from popular restaurants can erase 1 HOUR of hard work.

Learn more diet tips for the drive through window: Fast Food Diet Tips.

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About Bonnie Pfiester

Fitness Columnist and Lifestyle Coach, Resident Trainer for Designer Whey, Fitness Advisor for FitStudio, powered by Sears, FitFluential Ambassador and Owner of Max Fitness Club, home of BCx Boot Camp in Vero Beach, Florida.

Posted on February 8, 2013, in Diet & Nutrition Tips, PFOODIE, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I constantly run into these issues being a Lifetimer with Weight Wachers. I have pretty much stopped fast food for lunch during the week while working. I don’t like packing lunch so I just bring a few snacks and have something substantial when I get home. In a pinch I do a salad at Subway, dressing on the side, since you have no clue how much they squeeze on if you allow that to happen. Wendy’s salads, speaking from a WW perspective are really bad news, and once in a great while McDonald’s salads are ok, but sorta gross.

    • You are so right! Normally I’d go for a grilled chicken sandwich or something like that even over a salad. Salads just aren’t as healthy as they look! Keep up the lifestyle!! Sounds like you’ve got it down pat!

  2. A few days ago i was a bit backed up and needed to fix that. BIGMAC to the resecue! As I opened the container and smelled that….stuff….i just couldn’t understand how or why so many people eat like this on a regular basis…
    I decided a few years ago NOT to eat food from anywhere that allowed me to get my food without getting out of my car. that said, i regularly go to the mcdonald’s drive through for COFFEE. it is a buck, and it good, VT Coffee Roasters organic coffee. for a buck.
    perhaps it is easier for me because i am rarely running the roads, and have the luxury of being able to plan my meals, etc. so sad, though, how all of those extra calories are hidden from the average consumer…

  3. Reblogged this on Life with the Girl Next Door and commented:
    Great points to keep in mind when eating out and trying to eat healthy.

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