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    Archive for the ‘hamburgers’ Category

    In The News: Lean Times, Leaner Burger

    Starting Monday, the double cheeseburger will disappear from McDonald’s dollar menu.

    It’s not that customers don’t love it — it’s actually the chain’s best-selling $1 item!

    In its place? The same burger with just one slice of cheese, a different name, and a slightly heftier price tag.

    The McDouble — the end result of McDonald’s strategy to increase profits after the cost of commodities like wheat skyrocketed over the past year — is set to debut in 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants on December 1.

    Retailing for $1.19, this new version offers 50 fewer calories (390) and 25 percent less saturated fat (8.5 grams, or roughly 42% of the recommended daily limit) than its predecessor.

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    Sneaky Tricks of the Trade

    It’s not just celebrities who get airbrushed to look “magazine ready.”

    Popular foods also get plenty of help from stylists, lighting technicians, and even a little fakery to achieve a flawless image.

    PBS Kids reveals how hamburgers, roasted chicken, and ice cream always manage to look so friggin’ perfect in their respective advertisements.

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    Big Patty, Big Problems

    The folks at Burger King never stop thinking of new products.

    Two new steak burgers are being unveiled this month.

    The Steakhouse Burger features a flame-broiled steak burger topped with two slices of melted American cheese, A.1.(R) Thick & Hearty steak sauce, crispy onions, red ripe tomatoes, crisp lettuce and creamy mayonnaise on a premium bakery bun,” reads the fast food chain’s press release.

    Looking for even more from your burger?

    Never fear — the Loaded Steakhouse Burger is here (“crispy bacon and a loaded baked potato topping replace the tomatoes, lettuce and mayonnaise.“)

    Global marketing, strategy, and innovation president Russ Klein gushes, “The patty is so big, it peeks out from under the bun. We are proud of our ability to provide premium, quality products to our guests at affordable prices.

    This is no belated April Fool’s joke.

    What’s particularly not funny is the nutritional breakdown of these burgers:

    950 calories (970 for the loaded burger)
    21 grams saturated fat (22 for the loaded burger; daily intake should not surpass 20 grams)
    2 grams trans fat (an entire day’s worth!)
    1,950 milligrams of sodium (2,190 for the loaded burger; daily intake should not surpass 2,400 milligams)

    Before you say, “so what? It’s Burger King! It’s not supposed to be healthy,” keep in mind that a single Steakhouse Burger is calorically equal to two of the chain’s double cheeseburgers.

    I’m all for innovation, but why not come out with a new 450 calorie burger?

    It’s certainly possible.

    After all, seven other flame-broiled burgers contain less calories and sodium than this new colossal artery bomb.

    In fact, only one burger contains more calories — the Quad Stack (a four beef patty affair).

    Are we heading towards the age of nothing but 4-digit calorie burgers?

    (NOTE: Accompanying photograph, from The Impulsive Buy blog, is actual steakhouse burger.)

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    Oh, How Far We’ve Come!

    This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of McDonald’s selling its one millionth burger (just three years after opening its doors!)

    Back then, a hamburger — sold in just one size — cost fifteen cents and, as Dr. Lisa Young revealed in The Portion Teller Plan, offered a 1.5 ounce beef patty.

    Now, with approximately 120 billion hamburgers under its belt, McDonald’s has certainly expanded.

    Case in point: a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese (shown at right) weighs in at 8 ounces of beef and retails for $3.29.

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    Oh, How Far We’ve Come!

    This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of McDonald’s selling its one millionth burger (just three years after opening its doors!)

    Back then, a hamburger — sold in just one size — cost fifteen cents and, as Dr. Lisa Young revealed in The Portion Teller Plan, offered a 1.5 ounce beef patty.

    Now, with approximately 120 billion hamburgers under its belt, McDonald’s has certainly expanded.

    Case in point: a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese (shown at right) weighs in at 8 ounces of beef and retails for $3.29.

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    Breakfast of Chumps

    Earlier this year, Wendy’s gradually unveiled its new breakfast items in different regions of the United States, and — joy of joys — they are now available nationwide.

    The results? Unfortunately, I see it as obesity: 1, nutrition: 0.

    A buttermilk fresh sausage biscuit (pictured at right) starts your day off with 580 calories, 1,620 milligrams of sodium (75% of a day’s maximum recommendation), and an entire day’s worth of saturated fat — that’s equivalent to TWO Big Mac’s!

    The grande burrito, meanwhile, will lead to a grande tummy in no time.

    We’re talking 740 calories, 17 grams of saturated fat, and 1,980 milligrams of sodium.

    The grande isn’t the big man on campus when it comes to fiber, though. It delivers just three grams (this much fiber in 80 calories would be considered “great”, but in 740 calories, it’s miniscule).

    Like a sweet breakfast? If you’re craving a cinnamon roll, I hope you REALLY like sugar. One of these 310 calories “treats” packs in 2 tablespoons’ of added sugar to your day.

    As much as I love to police the fast food menus and show you the horrors, I think it is only fair to provide you with adequate choices in case you have no other options (i.e.: you need to get breakfast on the road as you are driving down any major highway in this country).

    If so, the egg and cheese biscuit is among the least offensice items, thanks to its 290 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, and 700 milligrams of sodium.

    If you’re in the mood for a sweet start to your morning, opt for the French toast sticks.

    Although they contain just as many calories as the cinnamon roll, the sugar content is significantly lower (8 grams — two teaspoons — rather than 24 grams!). The saturated fat count is also a respectable three grams.

    Currently, Wendy’s is hosting a bizarre contest here, where the ultimate prize is a “lifetime” of their hamburgers.

    Shouldn’t there be an asterisk after “lifetime”, referring readers to teeny print explaining that their lifetime might be reduced as a result of eating too many?

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    ADA Conference: A Golden Welcome

    Upon first entering the expo at the 2007 American Dietetic Association’s Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo, my eyes were immediately drawn to the golden arches shining brightly in the center of the 300,000 square foot room.

    The McDonald’s booth was an interesting one. I’m not sure they were aware that this was a nutrition, rather than environmental, conference. Their main two selling points were their sustainable farming practices and the fact that “many of their pre-cut apple slices” come from local farms.

    Keep in mind that having sustainable farming practices does not make a company one whose farming is sustainable (in the same way that eating one vegetable a day does not make one a vegetarian).

    And while the fact that many of their apple slices are local, their booth was missing the point. People don’t go to McDonald’s for apple slices. They mainly go for two things — beef and fries. So, why not look into organic meats, or at least local and organic potatoes, if they are trying to wave the “we’re green” flag (especially since livestock puts a tremendous stain on our environment)?

    Besides, when was the last time you saw McDonald’s advertising their apple slices to the average consumer?

    In my opinion, Mickey D’s was ignoring the obese pink elephant in the room — the food they offer.

    A fast-food establishment is never going to be “healthy”. In fact, I don’t think that should be their ultimate goal.

    Hey, I’ll be the first to admit — their fries are delicious and I like to have them once every two or three months.

    That being said, it’s frustrating not seeing McDonald’s make the kind of changes that could truly have positive nutritional consequences.

    For instance, make all hamburgers with whole wheat buns and all breakfast sandwiches with whole grain English muffins. People aren’t going to tell the difference because no one goes to McDonald’s for the “delicious bread” — people care about what’s in between those two buns.

    It wouldn’ t hurt anyone to get an extra six grams of fiber with whatever hamburger they eat.

    Also, why not relaunch their veggie burger, although this time with a non-meat patty that actually tastes good? When that mess came out in 2002, I was sorely disappointed. The patty was limp, flavorless, and drowned in all sorts of sauce. No wonder it didn’t “perform well in selected markets.”

    Anyone who has had a Boca burger can attest to the fact that it resembles the taste and texture of meat. So, why not partner up with Boca — or try to emulate their patties — and see what happens, company of the Golden Arches?

    Again, don’t get me wrong. McDonald’s should not try to disguise the fact that they are a fast-food joint specializing in burgers and fries. However, I can’t help but believe many of their attempts at healthy offerings were shoddy, advertised poorly, and done simply to undo years of public scrutiny.

    Although I can’t discredit their attempts at working with local farmers, there’s bigger fish to fry, er, bake.

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    Super (Triple Duper) Size Me!

    Ever dreamed of sinking your teeth into a 6-pound cheeseburger? Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania sounds like the ideal destination for you!

    In fact, if you manage to clear your plate in less than 3 hours, you get your $35.95 back, a free Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub T-shirt, and your name on a Hall of Fame board.

    In January of 2005, Kate Selnick of Princeton, New Jersey downed that 96-ounce beef patty in 2 hours and 54 minutes. Did I mention she was 19 years old and 100 pounds when she became state champion?

    From a nutritional standpoint, though, Kate is a big loser. In one sitting, Kate downed 7,200 calories and 7500% of her daily sodium needs and 720% of her recommended saturated fat (the type of fat that clogs your arteries) intake. To give you a frame of reference, she ate the equivalent of 24 McDonald’s cheeseburgers in less than 3 hours!

    Click on this post’s title for more photos (and directions to the pub!).

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