FAST-FOOD

In doing research for this article, I found that these were some of the top “healthy fast food chains” simply because they offer low calorie options. Because it’s not 1979 and I actually know nutritional science, I’m calling bullshit on these chains. Low-calorie does not equate to healthy. In fact, if something is touted as low-calorie, you can almost guarantee it’s even more unhealthy. This is because low-calorie or low-fat options are usually loaded with chemicals like MSG and other “natural and artificial” flavors to enhance the taste. Food manufacturers also add sugar, artificial sweeteners and empty carbohydrates to these foods.

When looking for healthy options, we need to stop looking at calories and fat content. We need to pay attention to the actual ingredients, which more often than not contain a ton of toxins, chemicals, GMOs, preservatives and all around horrible ingredients. Even though these chains are often considered healthy, they are some of the surprisingly unhealthiest fast food restaurants.

Panera

Panera is usually number #1 on the healthiest fast food lists. Panera does offer veggie and low-fat options, but it also offers a ton of unhealthy ingredients within their meals including but not limited to:

  • GMOs
  • soy
  • MSG
  • preservatives
  • nitrates
  • nitrites
  • inflammatory vegetable oils

Garden Vegetable Soup

Garden vegetable soup (water, tomatoes [tomatoes, calcium chloride, citric acid], wax beans, zucchini, onions, barley [may contain wheat], cauliflower, red bell pepper, Swiss chard, seasoning [modified corn and tapioca starch, sugar, salt, autolyzed yeast extract, onion powder, natural flavors, garlic powder], roasted tomato base [roasted tomatoes and tomato paste, salt, sugar, natural flavorings, cilantro], tomato paste [tomatoes], basil), basil pesto (basil, canola oil, water, romano cheese [pasteurized cow’s milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, powdered cellulose], extra virgin olive oil, chopped garlic, salt).

Chicken Panini

French Miche (unbleached enriched wheat flour [flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], water, salt, yeast [yeast, sorbitan monostearate, ascorbic acid], dough conditioner [ascorbic acid, microcrystalline cellulose, corn starch]), citrus & pepper chicken (boneless skinless chicken breast fillets with rib meat, water, seasoning [lemon, mangosteen, natural smoke flavor], sea salt, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, sugar, dry lemon peel, spices, dehydrated rosemary, dehydrated basil, citric acid, malic acid and paprika for flavor, vinegar, rice starch), tomatoes, reduced fat ancho chipotle spread (water, soybean oil, distilled vinegar, egg yolk, sugar, chili peppers, modified corn starch, jalapeno peppers, salt, ancho chili peppers, spices, natural flavors including smoke flavor, chipotle peppers including dehydrated garlic and onion, xanthan gum, propylene glycol alginate), smoked cheddar cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, annatto color, smoke flavoring), applewood smoked bacon (cured with water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphates, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite), salt, black pepper.

Broth Bowl

Umami broth (water, Korean gochujang sauce [red miso paste {filtered water, organic whole soybeans, rice, sea salt, microbial starter}, brown sugar, malt syrup, red chili puree {red chili peppers, salt, citric acid}, malt vinegar, soybean oil, flavor, soy sauce {water, whole soybeans, salt}, ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, citric acid, yeast extract, extractives of paprika, sesame oil, xanthan gum], miso [water, soybeans, rice, salt, alcohol], mushroom black soy sauce [soy sauce {water, soybean, salt, wheat flour}, water, caramel color, molasses, salt, sugar, mushroom extractive], lime juice, toasted sesame oil, yeast extract, salt, Worcestershire sauce flavor [soybean oil, natural flavors]), citrus & pepper chicken (boneless skinless chicken breast fillets with rib meat, water, seasoning [lemon, mangosteen, natural smoke flavor], sea salt, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, sugar, dry lemon peel, spices, dehydrated rosemary, dehydrated basil, citric acid, malic acid and paprika for flavor, vinegar, rice starch), green lentils (green lentil [may contain traces of wheat], water, diced tomatoes in juice [tomatoes, tomato juice, sea salt], onion, carrot, celery, canola oil, mirepoix base [vegetables {carrot, celery, onion}, cane sugar, canola oil, salt, dried potato, yeast extract, natural flavor], rice starch, salt, rasam powder [coriander, chili pepper, red pepper, cumin, fenugreek, asafoetida], garlic, sugar, turmeric), organic quinoa (water, organic golden quinoa, organic red quinoa, sea salt, glucono delta lactone), kale, spinach, roasted tomato sofrito blend (tomatoes, onion, canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, vinegar, salt, sugar, spices), organic brown rice (water, organic brown rice), lemon juice.

Subway

Subway is just the worst. I wrote an entire article about them that you can read here. Like Panera, this is a chain touted as a healthy option because they offer a lot of low-fat and low-calories options. They also offer a lot of garbage ingredients.

FLATBREAD, MULTIGRAIN Whole wheat flour, water, yeast, soybean oil, sugar, contains less than 2% of the following: whole wheat, oats, nonfat dry milk, whole grain barley, salt, whole grain triticale, rye flakes, chia seeds, amaranth seeds, to preserve freshness (calcium propionate), leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), wheat germ, flaxseed, whole grain yellow corn meal, oat fiber, enzyme, sea salt, yeast extract, ascorbic acid, wheat starch.

EGG OMELET PATTY (Regular): Whole Eggs, Egg Whites, Water, Nonfat Dry Milk, Premium Egg Blend (isolated pea product, salt, citric acid, dextrose, guar gum, xanthan gum, extractive of spice, propylene glycol and not more than 2% calcium silicate and glycerin to prevent caking), Soybean Oil, Butter Alternative (liquid and hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavors, beta carotene (color), TBHQ and citric acid added to protect flavor, dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent added), Salt, Beta-Carotene (color).

TURKEY BREAST Turkey breast, water, seasoning (modified corn starch, dextrose, salt, carrageenan,

flavorings), contains less than 2% potassium and sodium phosphate, propionic acid, turkey flavor,

maltodextrin and enzyme. Browned in soybean oil.

VEGGIE PATTY Vegetables (mushrooms, water chestnuts, onions, carrots, green bell peppers, red bell

peppers, black olives), textured vegetable protein (soy protein concentrate, wheat gluten, water for

hydration), egg whites, cooked brown rice (water, brown rice), rolled oats, corn oil, calcium caseinate,

soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, wheat). Contains 2% or less of onion powder, corn starch, salt,

hydrolyzed corn, soy, and wheat protein, autolyzed yeast extract, natural flavors from non-meat sources,

sugar, soy protein isolate, spices, garlic powder, dextrose, jalapeño pepper powder, celery extract.

FAT FREE HONEY MUSTARD Water, sugar, prepared mustard (vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt), Dijon mustard (vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, white wine, citric acid, turmeric, spices, tartaric acid), country Dijon mustard (vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, white wine, spice), vinegar, modified corn starch, honey, cider vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, salt, phosphoric acid, color, xanthan gum, dehydrated onion, sodium benzoate (a preservative), potassium sorbate (a preservative), liquid egg yolks*, dehydrated garlic.

Chik-fil-A

I’m not sure why people think Chik-fil-A is healthier fast food but the idea is prevalent. I once asked about it on my Facebook page and people lost their shitting tell me how much healthier it is than McDonald’s. Here’s the thing: it isn’t. They use the same ingredients – GMOs, inflammatory and overly processed vegetable oils, MSG, preservatives and a slew of other toxic ingredients. Just because it’s chicken, don’t mean it’s any healthier.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Grilled chicken (whole breast filet, seasoning [water, apple cider vinegar, soybean oil, yeast extract, salt, modified corn starch, palm oil, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, corn maltodextrin, sea salt, flavor, sugar, chicken stock, cane molasses, chicken fat, spice, natural flavor {including smoke}, dextrose, lemon peel, citric acid, red bell pepper, orange juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate, natural flavor, paprika, vinegar, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid, and spices]), multigrain bun (enriched unbleached wheat flour, [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], water, white whole wheat flour, sugar, wheat gluten, honey, refinery syrup, molasses, yeast, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, white rye flour, rolled oats, wheat bran, triticale flakes, flax seed meal, flaked barley, calcium propionate [preservative], whole spelt flour, degerminated yellow corn grits, flax seeds, whole wheat flour, wheat nuggets, toasted corn germ, parboiled brown rice flour, hulled millet, degerminated yellow corn meal, whole oat flour, rye nuggets, rolled wheat, buckwheat flour, rolled rye, parboiled brown rice, whole sorghum four, yellow corn meal, whole wheat, soybean oil, yeast nutrients [monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, calcium phosphate], wheat flour), tomatoes, green leaf lettuce.

Grilled Chicken Wrap

Flatbread (water, flax flour, oat fiber, wheat gluten, corn starch, enriched wheat flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], soy protein isolate, contains less than 2% of: whole wheat flour, defatted soy flour, canola oil, soybean oil, monoglycerides, yeast, sea salt, cultured wheat starch, raw sugar, fumaric acid, enzymes, vitamin D3), grilled chicken (water, apple cider vinegar, soybean oil, yeast extract, salt, modified corn starch, palm oil, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, corn maltodextrin, sea salt, flavor, sugar, chicken stock, cane molasses, chicken fat, spice, natural flavor [including smoke], chicken meat, dextrose, lemon peel, citric acid, red bell pepper, orange juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate, natural flavor, paprika, vinegar, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid, and spices), Monterey/Jack cheddar cheese blend (cheddar cheese [pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, annatto {color}], Monterey Jack cheese [milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes], potato starch and powdered cellulose added to prevent caking, natamycin [a natural mold inhibitor]), green leaf lettuce, red cabbage, carrots

Cole Slaw

Cabbage, coleslaw dressing (soybean oil, sugar, water, distilled vinegar, egg yolk, salt, cider vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, spices [including mustard seed], dehydrated garlic, calcium disodium EDTA added to protect flavor, natural flavor), carrots.

Au Bon Pain

Au Bon Pain is another one that’s always on healthy fast food lists. Since when are sandwiches healthy? Apparently because it’s not a burger, this qualifies as health food. In reality, a well made burger would be healthier than this trash any day.

Vegetable Beef Stew

Water, Cooked Beef Pot Roast Dices (Beef, Water, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein [Milk], Salt, Dextrose, Sodium Phosphate, Onion Juice, Garlic Juice, Spice Extractives), Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, Celery, Canola Oil, Contains 2% or less of: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Burgundy Wine (Burgundy Wine, Salt, Sulfites), Beef Base (Roasted Beef including Beef Juices, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Potato Flour, Whey [Milk], Caramel Color, Flavorings, Corn Oil, Paprika), Tomato Sauce (Tomatoes, Salt, Citric Acid, Red Bell Pepper Powder, Dextrose, Natural Flavoring, Spice), Chicken Flavor (Chicken, Yeast Extract, Salt Flavorings), Beef Base (Roasted Beef including Natural Beef Juices, Salt, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten, Sugar, Natural Flavorings, Corn Oil, Potato Flour, Caramel Color), Modified Cornstarch, Spice, Paprika, Pepper Sauce (Vinegar, Red Pepper, Salt).

Caesar Salad

Romaine Lettuce, Asiago Cheese [(Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Rice Flour and Cellulose Powder added to prevent caking],  Croutons [Contains any or all of the following: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Vegetable Oil (Canola and Olive Oil), Garlic, Dehydrated Potatoes (Potatoes, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Citric Acid added as a preservative), Salt, Yeast, Bagel Base [Sugar, Salt, Malted Barley Flour, Molasses Powder (Molasses, Wheat Starch, Silicon Dioxide, Soy Lecithin), 2% or less of each of the following: DATEM, Mono- and Di-glycerides, Ammonium Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Wheat Flour, Potassium Iodate, Enzymes, L-Cysteine Hydrochloride], Parsley, Sugar, Whole Wheat Flour, Buttermilk Powder, Natural Oil Blend (Palm Fruit, Soybean, Canola Seed and Olive Oils), Wheat Gluten, Malt Blend (Malted Barley, Wheat Flour, Dextrose), Dough Conditioner (Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate), Deactivated Yeast, Molasses, Ascorbic Acid, Soy Lecithin].

Don’t get me wrong, there are healthy fast food places, but these aren’t them. Always remember that ingredients matter more than the fat and calorie count ever could. We need to stop counting calories and start counting chemicals. Find out what’s in your food and stay tuned for a list of the truly healthiest fast food restaurants.

The-Surprisingly-Unhealthiest-Fast-Food-Restaurants

Photo via here.

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