25Feb
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Fast Food Part 3: The KFC tests

Hopefully, you’ve followed this fast food series so far – if not, this post won’t make much sense so head over to Part 1.

 

Kentucky Fried Chicken, or KFC for short hasn’t had the same stigma attached to it around its food being totally unhealthy, at least not in the same volumes as McDonalds has over the years, but given KFC’s menu (fried chicken), you would immediately think they might rank worse. For this test, KFC don’t explicitly show the calorie count for their food, however do note that 1 calorie is equal to 4.2 kilojoules, so we’ve used that to calculate calories in the following tests.

 

Note: KFC doesn’t list the nutritional values for its drinks, so we’ve used the values from the CalorieKing website instead.

 

Let’s see how some of KFC’s meals stack up.

 

Original Recipe Fillet Burger meal:

 

Item Kilojoules Calories
Original Fillet Burger 1,688 402
Small Seasoned Chips 955 227
 Pepsi 375mL can 656 158
Total 3,299 787

The results.

 

For Men (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 8,900 1,936
Original Fillet Burger Meal 3,299 787
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 37% 41%

 

For Women (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 7,015 1,531
Original Fillet Burger Meal 3,299 787
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 45% 51%

 

In comparison to McDonalds basic meal we tested, the Big Mac meal, KFC’s Original Fillet burger is only marginally better, but still not great. The burger itself is the major offender in this meal.

 

Next up, we test put the 3 Piece Box through its paces:

 

3 Piece Box

Item Kilojoules Calories
3 pieces Original Fillet Chicken 5,355 1,275
Small Seasoned Chips* 478 114
1 Dinner Roll 40 10
1 Regular Potato & Gravy 329 78
 Pepsi 375mL can 656 158
Total 6,858 1,635

* Note, these items are believed to be a smaller portion in the meals / boxes from KFC, so we’ve halved the quoted figure to be on the safe side.

 

The results.

 

For Men (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 8,900 1,936
3 Piece Box 6,858 1,635
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 77% 84%

 

For Women (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 7,015 1,531
3 Piece Box 6,858 1,635
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 94% 107%

 

I would have not expected the 3 pieces of chicken to rank so high, but that sometimes comes down to perception and I think that’s where people fall over – they think these foods aren’t as bad as they really are.

 

Women are most affected by this meal, where based on someone who doesn’t exercise, this would be the only thing they could eat in a day if they wanted to maintain a healthy weight based on the experts.

 

 

Ultimate Burger Box

Item Kilojoules Calories
Original Fillet Burger 1,688 402
1 piece Original Fillet Chicken 1,785 425
1 Dinner Roll 40 10
1 Regular Potato & Gravy 329 78
 Pepsi 375mL can 656 158
Total 4,498 1,071

 

The results.

 

For Men (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 8,900 1,936
Ultimate Burger Box 4,498 1,071
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 51% 55%

 

For Women (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 7,015 1,531
Ultimate Burger Box 6,858 1,635
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 62% 70%

 

The Ultimate Burger Box is again a bit of a surprise. Based on its contents, we’d think this one would rank a little higher than it does, but it still takes 55% and 70% respectively for males and females of their daily calorie count based on our averages in Part 1.

 

 

Now we move on to the behemoth of the KFC range.

 

Five Stars Box

Item Kilojoules Calories
1 piece Original Fillet Chicken 1,785 425
1 BBQ Wrap* 1,413 168
3 Wicked Wings 1,657 395
1 Snack Popcorn Chicken* 1,852 220
1 Regular Chips 955 227
1 Regular Potato & Gravy 329 78
Pepsi 375mL can 656 158
Total 7,015 1,672

* Note, these items are believed to be a smaller portion in the meals / boxes from KFC, so we’ve halved the quoted figure to be on the safe side.

 

The results.

 

For Men (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 8,900 1,936
Five Stars Box 7,015 1,672
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 79% 86%

 

For Women (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 7,015 1,531
Five Stars Box 7,015 1,672
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 96% 109%

 

Wow! That’s monumental.  Apart from looking like a heart attack on a menu, this meal provides 86% of our average male’s daily calories and 109% for females and is on par with a McDonalds Double Quarter Pounder meal.

 

Ladies, we hope you’re not planning on eating anything else but the Five Stars Box today! As they say, a second on the Lips, a lifetime on the hips!

 

Needless to say this one just shouldn’t be on the menu, or should be shared by three or four people!

 

So, as we suspected, KFC is generally above McDonalds on kilojoules and calorie counts for their run of the mill meals. I wonder why KFC didn’t get put through the ringer for its food like McDonalds did in the 2000’s, which lead McDonalds to clean up its menu.

 

Which brings me to my final word on KFC and how offensive their food is to the general population. We’ve already ascertained that their generally ahead of McDonalds on their equivalent (as much as) meals. But one menu item intrigued me the most, The KFC Double Down.

 

The KFC Double Down was dubbed as the ultimate man-time meal and was a bun-less burger made up two chicken fillets (used in place of the bun), two slices of cheese, bacon and Smoky BBQ sauce. This ithe menu item from KFC that has probably caused the most controversy as it was seen as ‘gut busting’ and not very healthy at all.

 

While there is no doubt the KFC Double Down wasn’t healthy and it certainly has no place in a healthy persons diet, according to a reference found via Google from the KFC site (direct link on the KFC site since removed after the promo ended), the Double Down weighed in at 1,939 kilojoules, or 461 calories. This might sound like a lot, but that’s less than a Big Mac burger from McDonalds (just the burger, not the whole meal!).  Some websites suggest the calorie count of the KFC Double Down is somewhere in the vicinity of 540 calories, however we’ve gone direct to the restaurant websites for consistently (i.e. if they’re lying about their nutritional information, they’re probably lying about it across the board).

18Feb
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Fast Food Part 2: The McDonalds tests

In order to catch up from our last blog post, we’re looking at how bad fast food is.

 

Let’s start with McDonalds and the ever popular Big Mac Meal, which contains a Big Mac burger, small French fries and a small coke. Quite possibly the most common meal package sold at this establishment.

 

Item Kilojoules Calories
Big Mac 2,060 493
Small Fries 1,070 255
Small Coke 428 102
Total 3,558 850

 

So we can show you how we’re calculating this, we’ll throw in another table. This shows the total kilojoules and calories counts from the Big Mac meal above, along with the recommend daily intakes for each. We’ll subtract the meal from the recommended intakes and calculate what percentage of that meal just took in terms of recommended daily intakes.

 

For Men (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 8,900 1,936
Big Mac Meal (S) 3,558 850
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 40% 44%

 

 

 

For Women (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 7,015 1,531
Big Mac Meal (S) 3,558 850
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 49% 56%

 

Now, if you eat three square meals a day like we’re told, assuming 33% is the average target of each meal based on the recommended daily intake, how could you possibly eat two other decent meals? We don’t see how it’s possible without significantly exceeding the recommended daily average.

 

On a side note, the small coke doesn’t seem like much, but it provides 28% of the recommended dietary intake for sugars, in one small serve! We’re not in any way condoning that people drink coke, but its interesting to see that the evil is not always in the calories or kilojoules.

 

Ok, so you see where we’re headed right?

 

Now you know McDonalds has a wide range of food on offer, so rather than calculate each one (we’re not here to tell you how to eat at McDonalds – we’d rather you not eat there at all if you can help it!), we’ll calculate possible the worst offender in terms of burgers on their menu.

 

Welcome to the Large Double Quarter Pounder Meal, which consists of the burger itself, large French fries and a large code. We know this might be not as common as other combinations, but we’re looking for the worst burger combination. Same test, here we go:

 

Item Kilojoules Calories
Double Quarter Pounder 3,570 853
Large Fries 1,900 454
Large Coke 937 223
Total 6,407 1,530

And now to calculate the intake percentage.

 

For Men (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 8,900 1,936
Double Quarter Pounder (L) 6,407 1,530
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 72% 79%

 

For Women (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 7,015 1,531
Double Quarter Pounder (L) 6,407 1,530
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 88% 100%

Enough said. Next time you see someone tucking into one of these meals, slap them in the face for us!

 

Those numbers are just staggering. Sure we might be feeling hungry, but just have a think about what you’re ordering when you pull up to the McDonalds drive through!

 

Contemplating breakfast at McDonalds?

 

In years gone past, the McDonalds Big Breakfast would have featured here, but that’s been off the menu since 2006. Goes to show how bad that was for you, they had to take it off the menu altogether.

 

Instead, let’s go with a Bacon & Egg McMuffin, Hash Brown and wash it down with a small Café Latte, full cream milk with no sugar.

 

Item Kilojoules Calories
Bacon & Egg McMuffin 1,240 297
Hash Brown 638 153
Café Latte, full cream, no sugar 472 113
Total 2,350 563

 

The results.

 

For Men (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 8,900 1,936
B&E McMuffin, HB & Latté 2,350 563
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 26% 29%

 

For Women (based on our averages):

 

Kilojoules Calories
Recommended Daily Intake 7,015 1,531
B&E McMuffin, HB & Latté 2,350 563
The percentage the meal just consumed of the daily recommended intake 32% 37%

 

Now I’ll be honest with you, I’m surprised at those results – I expected those to be far more given the nature of the food (bacon, potato, milk). Despite the result, it’s still not quality food. You’d do yourself a favor to whip up a poached egg, bacon and English muffin combo at home, and it only takes a few minutes!

 

While I’ve covered the bad, there are some items that could be consumed without too much consequence, including their Garden Salad with an Italian Style Dressing, which comes in at 121 kilojoules and 29 calories, which looks to be the lowest in terms of kilojoules and calories at McDonalds. Even then, why would you when there is so much fresh food available which tastes so much better?

 

In our next post, we’ll cover off Kentucky Fried Chicken and show you how they stack up.

 

11Feb
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Fast Food Part 1: an alternative look at why it’s bad for you and your diet

Most people think that consuming fast food is bad because it is usually associated with being friend, somewhat unnatural or not as clean as cooking a meal with fresh ingredients. And you know what, that’s usually correct!

 

Today we thought we’d take a different look at why we think fast food is bad for you and your diet, and unfortunately we’ll pick on a few of the major restaurant chains; McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

 

It’s no secret that McDonalds and KFC have in recent times been regarded as possibly some of the worst food you could eat, especially when trying to control your weight. Apart from tasting like plastic, McDonalds have attempted over the years to shake of the stigma by introducing healthy options to its menu, like its salads and wraps among other items. This stigma doesn’t appear to be a concern for KFC, whose new menu items seemingly appear to top the charts in terms of saturated fat content, kilojoules and calorie counts.

 

While people will continue to use the excuses of being ‘time poor’ and ‘because it’s convenient’ in order to get their fast food fix, the following should be an eye opener for those that don’t mind indulging in the odd burger from McDonalds or that extra piece of chicken from KFC.

 

To set out the parameters, we’re looking at the daily average kilojoules intake and calorie intake (where possible) for men and women, aged between 31-50. Note that we did say ‘average’ so this is not representative of anyone person in particular, but works for our demonstration on why this food is bad for you.

 

The data we’re using for the kilojoules average is from The Australian Government website for the Department of Health and Ageing. There is perhaps better sources, though might be subjective, so we’ve gone for a source that wouldn’t (shouldn’t) lie!

 

The estimated range of kilojoules per day for males to maintain a healthy weight in the 31-50 age range is 8,900-15,800. For women of the same age range it is 7,300-12,500.

 

You’d be wondering to yourself these are quite big ranges? Yes they are, which is obviously the range from sedentary (i.e. very little exercise) at its lowest, though to highly active at its highest. For example, if you train 5 days a week, you’ll probably require somewhere in the order of the top ends of those numbers to maintain a healthy weight.

 

For the recommended calorie intake, we couldn’t find another Government source so we’ve chosen to go with the top result in Google for the keywords “average calorie intake”, which lead us to the Vital Health Zone website. They have a calculator on their website where you enter your height, weight and age and it provides a guide on the average calorie intake for ‘resting’ (i.e. for those that do very little exercise).

 

We threw some figures in to the calculator to give us a starting point. For men, we entered height: 175cm, weight: 90kgs and an age of 35. We were given as calories require figure of 1,936 calories. For women, we changed the height to 160cm, weight 80kgs and an age of 35 and we’re given 1,531 calories.

 

These figures might seem a bit low, but remember these are for inactive people, not those that exercise regularly. If you were to calculate this for yourself, you would need to take into account how many calories you’re burning during exercise and adjust accordingly.

 

So, we’ve set the parameters. Now to the test cases.

 

These test cases are pretty simple. We’re taking the kilojoules and calorie intakes above, with the figures from popular meals from the restaurants listed above (McDonalds and KFC) and comparing these to someone who requires the lowest amount of kilojoules per day (i.e. those that don’t exercise) and an average calorie consumption based on the figures and calculations above.

 

Over the next two weeks, we’ll cover of McDonalds first, the KFC – it will be interesting to see the results.

Regular Exercise and the “I’ll get around to it” syndrome.

We often find ourselves saying “it’s too hard” or “I’ll get around to it” when it comes to exercise. Then, there are always the New Year resolutions to shed a few pounds. In the back of our minds we’re always saying “this is the year I’m going to exercise regularly”.

 

However, many of us fail to exercise regularly enough to make a difference, and before you know it, that New Year resolution is out the door!

 

“But” I hear you say, “it’s much easier to relax in front of the television!”

 

We’ve heard it all before, and I suspect you’re now sitting there wondering how many times you’ve been in this position. It’s all too ways to convince ourselves that it’s too much hard work!

 

The sooner you start exercising, regularly, the easier it becomes. Humans are often creatures of habit, so once in a routine; it’s much easier to keep up exercise and takes less effort to convince ourselves that it’s the thing we should be doing.

 

Exercise is one of those great circles in life; as you start to exercise, you’ll begin to lose some weight. How much you lose is dependent on many factors including exercise and your diet. You start to feel better physically and mentally and if you keep it up, you stand to lead a happy and healthier life.

 

There is no ideal to how many times per week an individual should exercise each week in order to lose weight, or become fitter. Each person will be different; they’ll react differently, some might lose more weight, some less, some people might require different exercises and more or less of them than others. However there is one thing that stands out for everyone and that is regular exercise!

 

We’ve spoken to a few personal trainers, who are listed on FitnessNearYou about just what is considered optimal for regular exercise. No surprise that there were a lot of different answers; however the following stood out as being most common;

 

  • Exercise at least three (3) times per week
  • For at least 30 minutes (depends on ability, health, routine etc)
  • Get into a routine and be consistent!

 

The Pro’s of exercising regularly:

  • You’ll feel better; physically and mentally
  • Combined with the right diet, you should lose weight
  • Strengthens muscles and bones, preventing injury.
  • Prevents obesity
  • Helps fight disease and sickness, and provides us with a healthier immune system.

 

Still too hard you say?

 

Is motivation the problem? Why not consider a Personal Trainer. Personal Trainers are a great motivational tool for those of us that are lazy or prefer the couch.

 

Think that Personal Trainers are too expensive?

 

Why not consider playing sport? Many of us were subject to sport during our school years and there are lots of sports and sporting organisations that cater for varying levels of ability and age groups.

 

Exercise plays a crucial part in our lives, and most simply don’t do enough of it, or do it at all. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2008 62.8% of Males and 47.6% of Females were considered overweight/obese (self reported body mass index, 18 years and over). Think forward a few years, what do you think those statistics look like in 2013?

 

That’s over half the population in Australia that is considered overweight or obese – are you one of them?

 

So next time you sit down on the couch and turn on the TV, think about what exercise you could be doing to make yourself healthier and fitter.

 

But exercise alone won’t shift those flabby thighs. Your diet needs to be considered too;  more on that soon.