Is "Healthy" Food Healthier than "Fast"? Not Always | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Is "Healthy" Food Healthier than "Fast"? Not Always

That's a wrap! But how healthy is it?

A few months back I was drawn in by the slick smoothie and sandwich-wrap marketing madness, and ditched my daily burger with fries and a Coke for a supposedly healthier alternative.

I started frequenting places like Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Planet Smoothie and other chains with fresh and healthy sounding names. Psychologically I felt healthier, but noticed no physical changes. I didn't have more energy and certainly didn't feel like the Fat Burner Booster I was adding to my smoothies was doing much about my gut.

Then, a friend of mine pointed me to dietfacts.com, a site with an extensive list of nutritional information about chain restaurants across the country. The site includes such popular Miami chains as Miami Sub and Pollo Tropical along with hundreds of other restaurants.

I decided to compare a cheeseburger from my favorite fast food joint, Wendy's, with a chicken caesar wrap from Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Guess what?

Wendy's cheeseburger wins!

The wrap has 557 total calories and 237 calories from fat. The cheeseburger clocks 480 calories, 216 from fat. The wrap also had more sodium (68 percent of the recommended daily value); differences in saturated fat and cholesterol were small.

Smoothie versus cola isn't really a fair comparison because smoothies have a lot more nutritional value and vitamins, but for all you calorie counters out there: The Paradise Point Low Fat smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Cafe has 463 calories compared to 140 calories in a medium cola at Wendy's.

Check out dietfacts.com at your own risk: you may just ruin your new favorite "health" food forever. --Tovin Lapan

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Frank Houston

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