Category Archives: fast food

The early demise of Burger King’s Satisfries

iStock_000016208114SmallSeems like we only just blogged about the introduction of Burger King’s lower-calorie Satisfries. Less than a year later, we’re blogging about the end of the chain’s healthier option for french fry lovers.

This is a blow to the fast-food chain, which has struggled to keep up with its direct rivals McDonald’s and Wendy’s while also dealing with customers fleeing for brands like Chipotle and Panera, which are marketed as healthier options. Satisfries were supposed to make burger fans feel better about their fast-food meal.

Satisfries are made with a special batter that absorbs less oil, causing them to have 20% fewer calories than regular Burger King fries. A small serving of Satisfries contains 270 calories and 11 grams of fat, while the conventional version has 340 calories and 15 grams of fat.

Price may have been one factor in why customers largely rejected the lower-calorie option. A small order of the lower-calorie fries typically costs about $1.89, compared to $1.59 for a bag of its regular fries.

Earlier this week, Burger King’s 7,500 North American eateries were given the option of continuing to offer Satisfries. Owners of only 2,500 restaurants decided to do so.

“The remaining restaurants will treat the product as a limited-time menu offering and have begun phasing it out after this unprecedented run,” Burger King North America President Alex Macedo said in a statement.

The company maintains that it always planned to allow customer demand to decide the fate of the product.

Essentially, Satisfries are dead at 5,000 Burger Kings and on life support at 2,500 others. The product was launched to cater to what seemed like a specific consumer demand — healthier products — but ultimately it seems people who eat fries are not going to change their habits to save a few calories.

FoodFacts.com has to wonder whether it’s possible for any fast food chain to successfully introduce a menu item that can be perceived as a healthier option. An honest look at Satisfries tells us that while there is a savings in fat and calories, the difference may not be big enough to convince educated consumers that these fries could actually be deemed healthier.

Burger King did make an effort, though. And for that, they should be commended.

We’d love to see those efforts continue. Maybe they could begin with offering a burger with a lower fat content. That might make a real difference to consumers. Just a thought.

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/08/15/why-did-customers-reject-burger-kings-satisfries.aspx

Dunkin Donuts Celebrates Shark Week

Happy Young Child Eating Doughnut at Coffee ShopThe Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is the longest running cable television programming event in history. Every summer since 1988 we’ve been welcoming programming about sharks — and shark attacks — into our living rooms. Its beginnings as educational television have evolved somewhat over the years with more entertainment-oriented programming.

It’s become so entertainment-oriented that this year, Dunkin Donuts has gotten in on the act. They’ve struck up a partnership with the Discovery Channel, stating in their press release that “this year, Shark Week runs on Dunkin.”

Introducing the Shark Bite donut.

If you’re wondering how on earth Dunkin can bring the flavor of the ocean to a donut — well, thankfully, they didn’t. This one is pure promotion. The Shark Bite donut is simply a yeast donut decorated to look like a life preserver with bright red and white icing. The promotional aspect is a contest inviting customers to “Take a Bite, Take a Pic.” Contestants are asked to share a selfie taking a bite out of their favorite Dunkin breakfast item on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #DDSharkWeek to become eligible to win prizes that include a $100 Dunkin Donuts Card and a Shark Week Prize Pack. Selfies will be shared on Shark After Dark, the final evening talk programming closing out each day of Shark Week.

Sounds like fun. But what about that Shark Bite donut?

Sorry, but it’s not as much fun as the contest. Let’s take a look at the ingredient list:

Donut: Enriched Unbleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron as Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Enzyme, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Palm Oil, Water, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Whey (a milk derivative), Skim Milk, Yeast, Contains less than 2% of the following: Salt, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda), Defatted Soy Flour, Wheat Starch, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Cellulose Gum, Soy Lecithin, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Artificial Flavor, Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Enzyme, Colored with (Turmeric and Annatto Extracts, Beta Carotene), Eggs; White Icing: Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Contains 2% or less of: Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Sodium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Citric Acid, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Agar, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Artificial Flavor; Red Icing: [White Icing: Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Contains 2% or less of: Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Sodium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Citric Acid, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Agar, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Artificial Flavor; Red Coloring: Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Glycerin, Modified Food Starch, Sugar, Carrageenan Gum, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid; May Contain FD&C Blue 1, FD&C Blue 2, FD&C Red 3, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Yellow 6, FD&C Yellow 5].

In case you don’t feel like counting them out, that’s about 18 controversial ingredients — all for a yeast donut that looks like a life preserver. While FoodFacts.com can’t be sure, we do think there’s a possibility that if a shark took an exploratory bite out of this donut, it might just spit it out.

http://news.dunkindonuts.com/Press-Releases/SHARK-WEEK-RUNS-ON-DUNKIN-DUNKIN-DONUTS-AND-DISCOVERY-CHANNEL-PARTNER-FOR-SOCIAL-PROGRAMMING-DI-4ba.aspx

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/bakery/donuts/donuts.html?DRP_FLAVOR=Shark%20Bite%20Donut

Under the Bun: Burger King’s A.1 Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 11.23.08 AMThe world of fast food is an incredibly competitive arena and every manufacturer attempts to stay ahead of the pack with new product introductions. Unfortunately, most of those introductions don’t make the cut here at FoodFacts.com. Burger King certainly hasn’t been an exception in this regard. And they’ve been pretty busy this summer introducing a number of new menu items to their already crowded selection.

Let’s go under the bun tonight with the latest from Burger King and take a closer look at the new A.1 Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger.

According to the Burger King website, this new creation features two 1⁄4 lb. savory fire-grilled beef patties, topped with thick-cut smoked bacon, melted American cheese, and featuring savory A.1 Thick & Hearty sauce, all on a warm, toasted, Artisan bun. They do manage to make the new cheeseburger sound especially appealing. But how appealing is it really, beyond the mouth-watering description?

We’ve got the nutrition facts for the A.1 Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger for you here — and our immediate answer to that last question is “not very appealing at all.” We’ll admit it, we aren’t really surprised. Take a look:

Calories:                     850
Fat:                             51 g
Trans Fat:                    3 g
Saturated Fat:           22 g
Cholesterol:              140 mg
Sodium: 1                 480 mg

Wow. This new cheeseburger is junk food overload. There’s only one burger on the Burger King menu that can actually claim worse nutrition facts than the A.1 Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger and that’s the Triple Whopper. To be honest, we can’t really imagine anyone consuming either.

Consider that the RDI for fat based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet is 65 grams, saturated fat is 20 grams, cholesterol 200 mg and sodium 2400 mg. If you eat the new A.1 Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger for lunch, you really don’t have much room left for anything else in your diet that day. And we didn’t even get to the french fries yet!

Not touching this one. Sorry, Burger King.

http://www.bk.com/en/us/menu-nutrition/lunch-and-dinner-menu-202/fire-grilled-burgers-and-sandwiches-220/a-1-and-reg-ultimate-bacon-cheeseburger-m2740/index.html

Can junk food destroy your sense of smell?

iStock_000014140533SmallWe’re all pretty comfortable with the knowledge that junk food is bad for our health. We know that an unhealthy diet has been linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Junk food isn’t just nutritionally vacant, it has known negative health effects that severely debilitate lifestyles and can result in serious medical problems and even death. But are there other problems that can result from the consumption of junk food that we haven’t been aware of?

A new study has revealed eating junk food could increase the risk of a person destroying their sense of smell.

The findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, show diet may impact a range of human traits apart from weight.

Dr Nicolas Thiebaud, of Florida State University, said: ‘This opens up a lot of possibilities for obesity research.’

It is the first time researchers have been able to demonstrate a firm link between a bad diet and a loss of smell.

In the six-month study mice were given a high-fat daily diet, while also being taught to associate between an odour and a reward of a drink of water.

Mice given the food were slower to learn the association than a control group given their usual meals.

And when researchers introduced a new fragrance to monitor their adjustment, the mice with the high-fat diets could not rapidly adapt, demonstrating reduced ability to smell.
Fellow researcher Professor Debra Ann Fadool said: ‘Moreover, when high-fat reared mice were placed on a diet of control chow – during which they returned to normal body weight and blood chemistry – they still had reduced olfactory [smell] capacities.

Scientists at Florida State University found links between a high-fat diet and major structural and functional changes in the nasal system

‘Mice that were exposed to high-fat diets just had 50 percent of the neurons that could operate to encode odour signals.’

The team will now begin looking at whether exercise could slow down a high-fat diet’s impact on smell.

They will also investigate if a high-sugar diet would also have the same negative effect.
Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study comes at an important time with obesity rates at all time highs throughout the world.

It certainly appears that the effects of junk food reach further than any of us expected. FoodFacts.com can’t help but wonder whether there may be other damaging effects related to junk food consumption that haven yet to be uncovered.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2701382/Junk-food-destroy-sense-SMELL-scientists-warn.html#ixzz39TgEfjmW

Russia takes McDonald’s to court for selling food with too much fat and too many carbs

1406288418000-AP-HONG-KONG-SUSPECT-MEAT-66054766Russia has been in the news on a daily basis these days. But what we’re watching on our news networks each night has nothing to do with the news we’re sharing with our community here. This fascinating story focuses on Russia taking a stand regarding the food supply of its citizens. And they’re up in arms against McDonald’s.

Nearly a quarter-century after McDonald’s startled and delighted Soviets with their first taste of American fast-food culture, the company’s now facing a suit that could ban it from selling some of its signature products.

The Russian consumer protection agency said last Friday it is taking the company to court for selling foods that contain more fats and carbohydrates than are allowed by national regulations.

The suit comes amid especially high tensions between Moscow and Washington over the Ukraine crisis; the United States has slapped an array of sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine for allegedly supporting separatist rebels who are fighting in eastern Ukraine.

There’s no demonstrable connection between the McDonald’s suit and the tensions, but the consumer protection agency, Rospotrebnadzor, has a history of actions that appear to dovetail Russia’s political agenda. As tensions between Russia and Georgia escalated before their 2008 war, Russia banned the import of Georgian wine and mineral water — two of its major export products — for failing to meet sanitary norms. Last year, as tensions heated up over Ukraine’s desire to sign a trade pact with the European Union, Russia banned imports of chocolates made by the company of Petro Poroshenko, a tycoon who supported the EU deal and is now Ukraine’s president.

Rospotrebnadzor said on its website that it brought the case after inspections of two of the company’s restaurants in Novgorod.

According to the statement, some food was found with microbial contamination and several items had caloric values two to three times higher than allowed by national regulations. Products that were mentioned for incorrect nutritional information were cheeseburgers, Royal Cheeseburgers — the local equivalent of the Quarter Pounder — fish sandwiches and several milkshake varieties.

The suits asks that sale of McDonald’s products that do not meet the regulations be declared illegal, but it was not clear what penalty the company could face. The two restaurants in Novgorod were to be fined 70,000 rubles ($2,100).

McDonald’s prompted the ire of Russian nationalists earlier this year after it closed its outlets in Crimea.

The animosity is a far cry from the fascination that Muscovites had for McDonald’s when it opened its first outlet in the Soviet Union in 1990; customers waited in hours-long lines to experience the efficient service and reliable availability of items — rare novelties in the Soviet era.

We do get the idea that the lawsuit is likely spurred by current political tensions. It wouldn’t be the first time that politics influenced business — in Russia, or any other country, for that matter. FoodFacts.com does find it interesting, though, that Russia appears to have national regulations regarding fat and carbohydrate content in foods.

While it just can’t be that Russia’s consumer protection agency never realized that McDonald’s was breaking their national rules before, it does make you wonder even more about our own “rules” here in the U.S. T

his is never an easy subject. Land of the free that we are, Americans generally don’t like the government sticking its nose in our private lives. Unfortunately for all of us, in the last three decades or so the rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes have skyrocketed “coincidentally” with the proliferation of massive numbers of processed food choices, fast food restaurants and casual fast food eateries around our nation. When you read a story like this one, it does lead you to question if we might not all be better off with better regulations surrounding the foods that are adding to, if not fueling, the health problems that increasingly afflict massive numbers of our citizens every day. It’s a complicated question, but it’s certainly worth some real discussion.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/07/25/russia-mcdonalds-food-has-too-many-calories/13190573/

Dunkin’s newest summertime treat … the Frozen Oreo Coffee Coolatta

1398160875255It had to happen sooner or later, after all there are Oreos featured in hundreds of different products. Ice cream, ice cream cake, pudding, cheesecake, cereal, cake frosting … Oreos are everywhere. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dunkin Donuts latest Coolatta features the Oreo.

On the Dunkin website, the new Coolatta flavor is promoted as “The Best of Both Worlds. The perfect blend of everything that’s delicious in the world. Our signature Frozen Coffee flavor with delicious OREO® cookie pieces mixed in. Just what your taste buds ordered.” O.k. maybe it’s what someone’s taste buds ordered, but what about someone’s healthy lifestyle?

Let’s find out.

Right away, it’s easy to notice that the nutrition facts for the new Dunkin Frozen Coffee Oreo Coolatta leave a lot to be desired. The facts listed are for the medium size of the beverage (the most common size sold for frozen drinks). It’s also for the skim milk version, because we’re being kind.

Calories:           440
Fat:                   4.5 g
Sugar:              83 g

That’s right, 83 grams of sugar in the medium-sized drink — or to be more specific 20.75 teaspoons of sugar in just one Frozen Coffee Oreo Coolatta. Imagine that for a moment if you will; someone adding 20.75 teaspoons of sugar into a 24 ounce beverage. That’s almost a teaspoon of sugar per ounce. A bit much for us.

Here are the ingredients:

Frozen Coffee Base: Water, Frozen Coffee Concentrate (Water, Sugar, Coffee Extract, Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavor); Skim Milk; Oreo® Chocolate Base Cake Cookie Crumbs: Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Canola Oil, Cocoa processed with alkali, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Leavening (Baking Soda and/or Calcium Phosphate), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Chocolate, Vanillin (an Artificial Flavor).

So for 440 calories, we would be enjoying caramel color, natural and artificial flavors and some high fructose corn syrup.

FoodFacts.com can definitely find a better use for 440 calories during any given day. So for us, this is one of many Oreo-laden treats in which we won’t be indulging.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/beverages/frozenbeverages/coffee1/oreo_frozen_coffee_coolatta.html?DRP_FLAVOR=Oreo&DRP_SIZE=Medium&DRP_DAIRY=Skim+Milk

How about some chicken with your salt? While concerns about salt intake are on the rise, so is the sodium content of KFC meals

kfc-chicken-mealWe consume too much sodium. That’s not exactly big news. We hear about it fairly consistently. You would think that with all that news, it might make sense to find that food manufacturers and fast food chains are lowering the amount of sodium in their products and menu items. Not so, apparently.

With an increased concern about the role high sodium levels play in high blood pressure, kidney disease and other health issues, a number of restaurant chains have been attempting to cut back on the salt in recent years. A new review of meals from 17 of the nation’s most popular fast food and family eateries shows that most chains are slowly reducing the amounts of sodium in their food (though it’s still very high), while a small number of others have actually gone the other direction.

A new survey from the Center for Science in the Public Interest looks at a total of 136 meals from the 17 restaurant chains to see whether the sodium levels in those meals changed between 2009 and 2013.

While there is no hard-and-fast number on recommended sodium intake, both the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control say that 1,500mg a day is a good number for those looking to avoid high blood pressure.

The CSPI study found that 79% of the adult meals surveyed were still above that 1,500mg line, with seven meals — mostly from family restaurants — containing more than three days’ worth of sodium.

In general, sodium levels have fallen, but not by much. According to the CSPI, the overall sodium reduction between 2009 and 2013 was only 6%, or 1.5% per year. Kids’ meals only dropped by 2.6% during the four-year period, and much of that was due to restaurants replacing french fries with fruit options.

The biggest names in fast food are also responsible for the biggest reductions in sodium. All of the meals surveyed at Burger King, McDonald’s, Subway, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell demonstrated some level of sodium reduction.

Of that group, Subway’s efforts to cut salt were the most effective, reducing sodium levels nearly 28%, followed by Burger King at 27%. BK’s cheeseburger kids’ meal had the most substantial decrease in sodium (44%), going from 1,200mg to 840mg.

On the opposite end of the survey are those popular eateries where sodium levels actually went up.

While Wendy’s and Sonic were each able to reduce the sodium on 50% of their surveyed meals, increases in other menu items resulted in a net increases in sodium of 2.7% and 1.3%, respectively.

But that was nothing compared to KFC, which only reduced sodium on 14% of one of its seven meals in the CSPI survey. While the reduction for that particular meal was significant (22%), four of the six other meals had double-digit percentage increases in sodium, resulting in a whopping 12.4% net sodium increase for the chicken chain.

The biggest single meal sodium increase also came from KFC, where the kids’ meal with a grilled chicken drumstick, corn on the cob, string cheese, and Capri Sun juice drink resulted in a 52% increase from the 2009 version of the meal. The not-horrible news is that the sodium level for this meal is still under the 1,200mg daily intake figure recommended for children.

The FDA puts no limits on sodium content in food, which some public health advocates believe is a mistake. The CSPI points to the restaurant industry’s slow and inconsistent efforts to reduce sodium as evidence that regulation is needed.

“For far too long, the FDA has relied on a voluntary, wait-and-see approach when it comes to reducing sodium in packaged and restaurant food,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “If chains like KFC, Jack in the Box, and Red Lobster are actually raising sodium levels in some meals, FDA’s current approach clearly isn’t working.”

According to this fascinating survey, You can consume an entire day’s worth of sodium in one KFC fast food meal. That’s just too much for FoodFacts.com. And it should be too much for millions of consumers as well. We’re not exactly sure how many of those millions think to find out about the sodium content of their food choices at KFC before they sit down for their meal. We are pretty certain that all of them leave much thirstier than they were before they walked through the doors — not to mention a higher risk for a whole host of health issues.

http://consumerist.com/2014/07/02/while-other-restaurant-chains-cut-down-on-sodium-kfc-meals-have-been-getting-saltier/

McDonald’s burger declared the worst in America according to a new Consumer Reports Survey

McDonalds Sales.JPEG-054a3We know that the majority of fast food burgers aren’t exactly what we’d call healthy. Too many calories, too much fat, and a variety of bad ingredients makes the staple of American fast food a less than desirable choice for consumers. But what do you think would happen if you asked consumers to rank the fast food burgers? Do you think there might be some surprises?

Some major fast-food chains – McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell – may find the latest Consumer Reports fast-food survey hard to swallow.

According to the survey, released on Wednesday, more than 30,000 Consumer Reports subscribers say these restaurants’ signature items are the worst in their categories: McDonald’s has the worst burger; KFC has the worst chicken; and Taco Bell has the worst burrito.

Consumer Reports surveyed 32,405 subscribers about their experiences at 65 fast-food and fast-casual chains. This is what they were asked: “On a scale of  1 to 10, from least delicious to most delicious you’ve ever eaten, how would you rate the taste” of their signature dishes?

Habit Burger Grill, In-n-Out and Five Guys Burgers received the highest rating for their burgers, 8.1, 8.0 and 7.9 respectively. Meanwhile, McDonald’s scored a paltry 5.8 rating.

McDonald’s has been busy changing its menu in an effort to attract more customers. But despite the novelty items the company promoted in 2013 – Fish McBites in February, McWraps in March, Mighty Wings in September, etc. – the company’s U.S. sales dropped 0.2 percent last year.

During a conference call with investors, McDonald’s chief financial officer Peter Bensen said the company “probably did things a little bit too quickly” in terms of introducing those new menu items. The constant changes and bold experiments with the menu put pressure to the restaurants’ kitchens,which sometimes took too long to fill orders. But new items introduced this year will be welcomed by the chain’s new kitchen equipment. Prep tables will be replaced with larger surfaces that are able to hold more sauces and ingredients.

In 2014, Bensen said, the company will “refocus the core,” including tried-and-true favorites such as the Big Mac, Chicken McNuggets and the Quarter Pounder, as well as breakfast.

Research shows Americans are spending $683.4 billion a year dining out, and they are also demanding better food quality and greater variety from restaurants to make sure their money is well spent.

When deciding where to dine, consumers are giving more consideration to food quality, according to the Consumer Reports survey. The restaurant’s location is less important than it was in 2011, when the group last conducted the survey. Diners today are more willing to go out of their way and find tasty meals that can be customized.

“Fast-casual dining in places like Chipotle and Panda Express lets the consumer guide the staff to prepare their meal just the way they like it,” Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a food-service consulting firm, said in the report.

While many of the traditional chains have lagged in offering higher-quality ingredients, he said, some food chains — including Chipotle, Noodles & Company and Panera — have been offering meat raised without using antibiotics in animal feed, a feature that attracts consumers searching for healthier options.

FoodFacts.com has to wonder whether or not bad food is catching up with the king of fast food. Sales are dropping. Over 30,000 Consumer Reports subscribers have let the world know that McDonald’s burgers taste about as good as their nutrition facts and ingredient lists reflect. While Panera and Chipotle may not be our favorite eateries, we can still agree with those subscribers who have stated that the food from those fast-casual establishments is fresher and tastes better than a McDonald’s hamburger. McDonald’s still serves up millions of burgers every day. Consumer opinions create change. We can only hope change will start with this survey.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2014/07/02/consumer-reports-mcdonalds-burger-ranked-worst-in-the-u-s/

Is it a quesadilla? Is it a burrito? It’s both — the new Taco Bell Quesarito

Taco Bell QuesaritoWe’re living in a world of mash-ups. Music mash-ups are making headlines. Two or more different musical genres making their way into one recording often create a brand new listening experience. Artists of different eras have come together to bring new meaning to old songs. Website mash-ups bring together different technical functions to bring us new processes and performance. Some things can be brought together easily with amazing results.

And some things can’t. And that about sums up the new Taco Bell Quesarito.

Think about this. A cheese quesadilla is cheese melted between two soft taco shells. A burrito is meat, rice, cheese and typically beans rolled inside a soft taco shell. So now lets take that quesadilla and roll the burrito filling inside it. We’ll leave out the cheese in that filling and replace it with chipotle sauce and sour cream. Maybe it’s just as, but FoodFacts.com really can’t wrap our heads around the combination. It just doesn’t sound appetizing. Instead it sounds more like a wet, gooey roll with beef and rice. In all fairness we haven’t tasted it … and we’re not going to. For us, this is one mash-up we’ll be happy to miss.

Just in case you want to try it, though, we thought we should fill you in on the nutrition facts for the Quesarito.

Calories:                          650
Fat:                                  34 g.
Saturated Fat:                12 g.
Cholesterol:                    60 mg.
Sodium:                          1450 mg.

The quick assessment for the Quesarito is that the facts are just not good. But let’s go a little further. You can actually eat a Big Mac (which is definitely not a healthy choice) for better nutritional value. Specifically a Big Mac contains 100 less calories, 6 fewer grams of fat, 2 less grams of saturated fat and and 480 fewer mg. of sodium. The only thing the Big Mac gives you more of is cholesterol.

So not only do we not think this odd mash-up works, even bad fast food is better for you (even if it’s only minimally). Taco Bell, this is really just a bad interpretation of Mexican food. It doesn’t work.

http://www.tacobell.com/food/menuitem/quesarito?gclid=COGswdeh_b4CFUNgMgodYykAgA

Dunkin’s newest Coolatta … the Frozen Arnold Palmer

iStock_000021757029Small (1)Summertime is here, and along with it new introductions of iced and frozen beverage from the fast food chains. The Dunkin Donuts Coolatta has been providing consumers with an icy cold way to beat the heat since 1997. Flavors have ranged from coffee varieties to strawberry, orange and blue raspberry in addition to the popular vanilla bean.

For a variety of reasons, FoodFacts.com hasn’t been a tremendous fan of the Coolatta. Some of those reasons are artificial colors and too much sugar. But we stand by the idea that every new product introduction deserves a fair chance. So when Dunkin announced the new Frozen Arnold Palmer Coolatta, we waited to take a look at the nutrition facts and ingredient list before we decided we wouldn’t be trying it.

It’s official now, though, we won’t be trying it. We wanted to fill you in on how we came to that decision.

Here are the nutrition facts for the medium size drink

Calories:                 270
Fat:                         0 g
Sodium:                 35 mg
Sugar:                    67 g

We’re highlighting the medium drink because this is the most common size sold. We’re not attempting to make it appear worse than it is. We’re certain we don’t like the idea of spending 270 calories on a drink. To put it into further perspective, the medium Frozen Arnold Palmer Coolatta weighs in at 16 ounces. A 20 ounce bottle of Pepsi has 250 calories. That’s four ounces more for 20 calories less. That same bottle of Pepsi has roughly the same amount of sugar as this frozen beverage. Everyone in our community already knows how we feel about soda. Since the nutrition facts here look quite comparable, our feelings are pretty much the same.

Here’s the ingredient list:

Frozen Neutral Base: Water, Neutral Base (Sugar, Glucose, Fructose, Silicon Dioxide, Malic Acid, Xanthan Gum); Arnold Palmer Half & Half Coolatta Base: Lemon Juice from Concentrate, Pear Juice from Concentrate, Filtered Water, Citric Acid, Black Tea, Natural Flavor, Dextrose, Xanthan Gum, Sucralose, Gum Acacia, Acesulfame Potassium, Ester Gum.

O.k. there aren’t any artificial colors in the Frozen Arnold Palmer Coolatta. But there are still many ingredients we really don’t like. More importantly, we have a serious question about these ingredients. There’s so much sugar in here — a little over 11 TEASPOONS in 16 ounces. You can see the Sugar, Glucose and Fructose listed. Why then, was it necessary to make things even worse with the addition of Acesulfame Potassium to the ingredients?  Someone thought they needed to sweeten the beverage even more — we get that. But it isn’t a “diet” drink, so how did it make sense to add artificial sweetener to the product?

FoodFacts.com’s assessment: we don’t need 11 teaspoons of sugar in 16 ounces of anything. As the weather heats up, we still like actual brewed, unsweetened iced tea. And if we want to sweeten it, we like deciding on the sweetener we use — and controlling how much of it we’ll be consuming.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/beverages/frozenbeverages/coolatta/new_frozen_arnold_palmer_coolatta.html?DRP_FLAVOR=Frozen+Arnold+Palmer&DRP_SIZE=Medium