Never Assume Nutrition

Very often when faced with that dreaded moment where you must choose what to eat that will be quick, tasty and healthy, we make assumptions that we know which option is better (i.e., more nutritionally healthy), and that assumption is usually based upon limited knowledge.

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For instance, the other day I was pressed for time for lunch (but as always wasn’t going to skip a meal or suffer inferior (fast) nutrition), so I hit my freezer and had two choices: a Trader Joe’s Chicken & Bean Burrito or an Amy’s Organic Mushroom Risotto. My brain riffled through my solid base of nutritional understandings and told me that the burrito was the way to go because it would have more protein, less carbs, and probably be lower in fat and calories as well. After all, Risotto is pasta-ish and rice-ish both of which are high in carbs and sugars, right?

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Well then the trainer in me took pause, and decided to read the labels and compare the stats. To my shock I found out that I was not only wrong in my assumption, but really way off on my perceptions. Here’s what I found:

THE RISOTTO:                                            THE BURRITO:
240 calories                                                     400 calories
8 grms fat                                                         12 grms fat
590 sodium                                                      950 sodium
35 grms carbs                                                  51 grms carbs
2 grms sugars                                                  1 grm sugars
7 grms protein                                                20 grms protein

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While clearly I was correct that the burrito had more protein (almost 3x as much), but it also had almost double the carbs and sodium, and 4 grams more fat! Who knew? To help you grasp this further, lets compare a typical Subway sandwich to one of McDonald’s supposedly “healthier” sandwich options than their typical Big Mac:

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SUBWAY 6″ COLD-CUT          McDONALD’S GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWHICH
350 calories                                                 350 calories
12 grms fat                                                   9 grms fat
1030 sodium                                                820 sodium
46 grms carbs                                             42 grms carbs
13 grms sugars                                            8 grms sugars
7 grms protein                                            28 grms protein

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While I vehemently oppose ever spending a dime in a McDonald’s, when push comes to shove, I have to admit while I (and many of you I suspect) would assume that a deli-style “cold-cut” sandwich from Subway would always out-health anything from McDonald’s, clearly the facts prove otherwise. In case you missed it, Subway’s sandwich while having the same calories, had far less protein, and more fat, carbs, sugars and sodium.

So the next time you make an assumption about what you’re about to eat, stop and get the real facts and then decide. Your body and fitness goals will thank you for it!

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Person Reading Nutrition Label on Packaged Food

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2 comments

  1. Jill Englander

    OMG what an eye opener!!! I truly never would have guessed that yucky McDonalds would have a healthier choice than at Subways. Thanks for the lesson!

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