Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Take time to think about breakfast fast foods

Reno Gazette-Journal

If you insist on getting your breakfast on the go, here are some of the popular items and their nutritional value (or damage).


McDonald's pioneered fast-food breakfasts in the '70s. Depending on whose figures you look at, breakfast sales make up between one-fifth to nearly one-half of McDonald's daily intake. That's a lot of Egg McMuffins. Here's the lowdown on the popular breakfast staple at the Golden Arches:

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit

Calories: 480

Total fat: 31 grams

Cholesterol: 250 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 31 grams

Protein: 21 grams

Calories from fat: 280

Fat and cholesterol amounts, which represent 47 percent and 83 percent respectively of the recommended daily value, raises red flags with this entry. Registered dietitian Gail Bradley suggests going for the English muffin, which has 150 calories, 2 grams of fat, no cholesterol and 27 grams of carbohydrates, with some scrambled eggs. You can even go for the Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait, which isn't loaded with fat like other items. If you insist on getting a biscuit/McMuffin item, eschew the ham and cheese and go for the egg, Bradley says.

Taco Bell

The restaurant of choice for the "enlightened" crowd in Sylvester Stallone's movie Demolition Man, Taco Bell's morning menu on its Web site is a collection of breakfast versions of its staples: burritos, gorditas and quesadillas.

Breakfast Burrito

Calories: 510

Total fat: 25 grams

Cholesterol: 325 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 48 grams

Protein: 22 grams

Calories from fat: 230

Normally, you'd want your breakfast to have about 300 to 400 calories, Bradley said. Using that standard, the breakfast burrito's values are a bit high, especially with its fat and cholesterol content. According to the booklet, "Nutrition in the Fast Lane," a better breakfast choice would be the Fiesta Breakfast Burrito, Bradley says. That has 280 calories, 9 grams of fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol and 25 grams of carbohydrates. Skip the cheese and you're in even better shape, Bradley says.


This isn't exactly fast food, and Denny's isn't in Cincinnati anymore, but for travelers, we look at a classic entry:

Original Grand Slam

Calories: 795

Total fat: 50 grams

Cholesterol: 460 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 65 grams

Protein: 34 grams

Calories from fat: Unavailable

If you're going to have a traditional breakfast at Denny's, these kinds of numbers are to be expected. Heck, the Grand Slam actually doesn't look so bad when compared with the Big Texas Chicken Fajita Skillet, which has 1,217 calories, 70 grams fat and 518 grams cholesterol.

Krispy Kreme

Doughnuts and coffee. You almost can hear the Bad Boys theme playing in the background. Here is a look at the basic Krispy Kreme doughnut.

Glazed Yeast Donut (Ring)

Calories: 200

Total fat: 12 grams

Cholesterol: 5 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 22 grams

Protein: 2 grams

Calories from fat: 110

The basic doughnut is as healthy as it gets at Krispy Kreme. The concern Bradley has about Krispy Kreme doughnuts is that they're mostly fat. It's OK to indulge in it occasionally, as long as you don't overindulge.

White Castle

Breakfast sandwich

Calories: 340

Total fat: 25 grams

Cholesterol: 130 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 17 grams

Protein: 14 grams

Calories from fat: 220


Biscuit with sausage

Calories: 440

Total fat: 33 grams

Cholesterol: 30 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 27 grams

Protein: 10 grams

Calories from fat: 286

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