The Real Deal with Fast Food Calorie Counts

Fast food is notorious for slathering on calories and fat. Many states are passing laws mandating that this nutritional information be posted for you to evaluate when ordering. But just how accurate is this menu information? Dr. Oz went undercover to find out.

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Dr. Oz sent an undercover team to 4 of the top fast food restaurants. The mission? To find out if what’s listed on the menu is really what you’re eating. Independent lab analysis of fast food menu items, conducted by RL Food Testing Laboratory, found some discrepancies with the calorie and fat content listed on the menus.

Find out what’s really in your food choices, and learn the small changes you can make to ensure your meal is as healthy as it can be.

The Order: 6-inch Subway Club sandwich containing turkey, ham, lettuce, tomato and mayo

Menu Board: 310 calories and 4.5 grams of fat

Lab Analysis: 380 calories and 12 grams of fat

What gives? The person making your sandwich may have a generous hand with the mayo, oil and cheese.

What You Can Do: Be diligent while your sandwich is made. Make sure your sandwich is loaded up with veggies and light on condiments. If you’re having cheese, go with Swiss, a low-sodium option. Avoid the mayo and replace with brown mustard; 2 teaspoons is only 5 flavor-packed calories.

The Order: Wendy’s value size French fries, natural cut with sea salt
Menu Board: 220 calories and 11 grams of fat
Lab Analysis: 237 calories and 11 grams of fat
What Gives? The menu’s estimate is a fairly honest one. What’s misleading about these fries is the name. They are called “natural cut,” but they actually contain 43% more sodium than the old fries.
What You Can Do: Substitute the fries for a small chili, which has the same calorie count, while including 6 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein. If you really want fries, look for options with more potato. Steak fries are better than regular, while curly fries are better than shoestring.

The Order: McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish Sandwich
Menu Board: 380 calories and 18 grams of fat
Lab Analysis: 407 calories and 22 grams of fat
What Gives? Just because this is fish, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Between the tartar sauce, buttered bun and oily breading, it’s not a healthy option.

What You Can Do: If you want fish, hold the cheese and hold the tartar sauce, otherwise just get a McDonalds cheeseburger – it's only 300 calories.

The Order: Taco Bell Beef Burrito Supreme
Menu board:  420 calories and 15 grams of fat
Lab Analysis: 427 calories and 16 grams of fat
What Gives? This is a respectable estimate. The problem lies not in the calories, but in the nutrition within those calories.

What You Can Do: Instead of a burrito, go with anything on the Fresco line. Add pinto beans and cheese to your beans. You’ll be consuming an extra 170 calories, but you’ll also get 8 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein.

Bottom line: Get real foods with nutrients that will keep you satiated. Ask for your condiments on the side so that you can control how many calories are added to your meal.

Click here to learn about Dr. Oz-approved fast food choices.