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Friday, July 16, 2010

Foot-Long Fast-Food Shockers

What’s new in fast-food land? Foot-long fast food, that’s what. Subway started the trend with its foot-long sub sandwiches. Next came Sonic’s foot-long Quarter Pound Coney (hot dog), and now Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are testing a foot-long cheeseburger in a handful of locations — Orange County, Calif., for Carl’s Jr. and Indianapolis for Hardee’s.

That’s right — a foot-long cheeseburger!

As with most artery-clogging fast-food choices, this one comes with a tempting price tag: $4 for the plain cheeseburger foot-long. Three kid’s size cheeseburger patties sit on a 12-inch hoagie roll dressed with ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onion. And for 50 cents more, it comes with generous amounts of mayo plus lettuce and tomato.

The first thing I thought of when I saw a picture of the Carl’s Jr. foot-long cheeseburger was that it could probably feed a family of three. But what would be the damage if you ate the whole thing by yourself? Well, since Carl’s Jr. is just offering the foot-long in a few locations, you won’t find the nutrition information on its web site.

I’m guessing, since it consists of three kid-size cheeseburger patties and a foot-long hoagie roll (which is narrower than a regular hamburger bun), that if we triple the numbers for a kid’s cheeseburger, we might come close to the actual grand totals.

Not surprisingly, three kid’s cheeseburgers contain one day’s limit of suggested trans fat, half a day’s worth of calories, and more than half of the intake for cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium recommended by most health agencies for an entire day.

If you opt for the deluxe foot-long cheeseburger, which features generous portions of mayonnaise, these numbers will likely be much higher.

Here’s my guess for the nutritional numbers on the plain foot-long cheeseburger:

3 kid’s cheeseburgers = 870 calories, 45 grams fat, 10.5 grams saturated fat, 1.5 grams trans fat, 120 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber, and 2,490 mg sodium.

For comparison’s sake:

  • Sonic’s Foot-long Quarter-pound Coney = 810 calories, 53 grams fat, 22 grams saturated fat, 0.5 gram trans fat, 110 mg cholesterol, 4 grams fiber, and 1,800 mg sodium.
  • Subway’s Foot-long Meatball Marinara or Chicken & Bacon Ranch = 1,140 to 1,160 calories, 46 to 56 grams of fat, 18 to 20 grams of saturated fat, 1 to 2 grams trans fat, 90 to 190 mg cholesterol, 10 to 18 grams fiber, and 2,380 to 3,060 mg sodium.

A better foot-long choice:

Subway Foot-long Turkey Breast Sub (including 9-grain wheat bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and cucumbers) = 570 calories, 7 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 10 grams fiber, and 1,830 mg sodium.

– Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

SOURCES:
Beth Mansfield, public relations director, CKE restaurants, subway.com, carlsjr.com, sonicdrivein.com

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What do you think of the foot-long fast-food fad? Share your thoughts with the Food and Cooking Community.

Posted by: WebMD Blogs at 11:16 am

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