This is a guest article by Mannie Barling and Ashley Brooks, it also forms a large cornerstone for tomorrows radio broadcast which will include Dr. Dan Dantini and his wife Chris Dantini of Sage Labs on the panel, you can use this link to listen live – Simon

We were recently asked by Simon Barrett to put together a full day’s consumption of fast food meals for his radio show, Surviving the 21st Century, head on Blogger News Net on Saturdays at 10 AM PST and 1 PM EST.

This one day of fast food consumption is based upon a person (whom we will call Randy W) leaving late for work with no time to fix a meal at home. So he drives through the local Starbuck’s for coffee and McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin for breakfast. As usual, someone brings a box of doughnuts to the office and Randy W can’t resist having one.

Randy W gets a call from a fellow worker who needs him on the job ASAP to solve a problem. So Randy W jumps into his car and stops at McDonald’s for a Big Mac, fries and soft drink for lunch along the way. By the time Randy W gets back to the office, he is a little tired looking for a pick-me-up and reaches into the stash in his desk and pulls out a Milky Way or a Snickers as a snack. Fired up on sugar, Randy W finishes his day.

Randy and his wife are too busy and tired to cook so they take the kids to a pizza parlor for dinner. Later in the evening, Randy W feels like something sweet so he searches the freezer.  He finds some Baskin Robbins Pralines and Cream and takes a scoop back to bed where he watching late night TV.

We tried as much as we could to select popular meals and brands that the average American eats on a busy day when there is little time to cook or find healthy restaurants to eat in. While this may seem like a worse case scenario, it is a common scenario nonetheless. It is neither the best case scenario nor the worst.

Breakfast:  Egg McMuffin and either a Starbuck’s Caramel Macchiato or Cappuccino with Whole Milk. Starbuck’s coffee contains 60 ingredients containing 4,000 calories, 2,160 grams of salt but lists no grams of sugar. An Egg McMuffin contains 88 ingredients, 300 calories, 820 mg of salt but only 3 grams of sugar (but does not include sugar from corn syrup).

Breakfast Total:  4,300 calories, 960 grams of salt and only 3 grams of sugar (not counting corn syrup).

Doughnut and Coffee in the Office:  Krispy Kreme Doughnut contains 60 ingredients, (including 47 salts containing MSG), 15 grams of refined sugar, but contains 5 forms of high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin (Sugar, Corn Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup Solids and Dextrose) increasing the amount to 60 grams.

Coffee Room Snack Total:  250 calories, 95 mg of salt (not including MSG and other salts), 60 grams of sugar.

Lunch:  A Big Mac contains 69 ingredients containing 840 calories, 1,880 mg of salt and 56 grams of sugar. McDonald’s fries contain 530 calories, 350 mg of salt and 56 grams of sugar (not including the sugar contained in high fructose corn syrup and the hidden MSG and salt in the 46 different ingredients). We estimate that a Big Mac and Fries contain more than 5,000 mg of salt and 150 grams of sugar. A Coca-Cola contains 140 calories (supersized 410 calories), 39 grams of sugar (another 40 grams of sugar from corn syrup) but no salt.

Lunch Total:  730 calories, 5,000 grams of salt and 230 grams (560 supersized) of sugar.

Afternoon Snack at Randy W’s Desk: Coca-Cola, Snickers or Milky Way Candy Bars.  A Milky Way contains 24 ingredients containing 270 calories, 95 grams of salt and 70 grams of sugar.  A Snickers has the same ingredients but contains 100 grams of sugar. A Coca-Cola contains 140 calories (supersized 410 calories), 39 grams of sugar (another 40 grams of sugar from corn syrup) but no salt.

Afternoon Snack Total:  410 calories (or 550 for supersized), 95 grams of salt and 150 grams of sugar.

Dinner:  3 pieces of Domino’s Medium Pepperoni pizza contains 390 calories, 1,590 mg of salt and only 3 grams of sugar. Domino’s Buffalo Wings (4 pieces) contain 400 calories, 1,380 grams of salt. But no sugar. It is difficult to believe that there is no sugar or corn syrup in the wing sauce. Arizona Southern Style Sweet Tea (a change of pace from soft drinks) contains 180 calories, 40 mg of salt and 56 grams sugar (not including another estimated 56 grams from corn syrup).

Dinner Total:  970 calories, 3,010 mg of salt and 119 grams of sugar (not including salt from MSG and sugar from corn syrup).
Late Night Snack – Ice Cream or Potato Chips:  A 6-ounce serving of Baskin Robbins Pralines and Cream contains 44 ingredients containing 275 calories, 190 mg of salt, and 31 grams of sugar but does not include the sugar contained in corn syrup (mentioned 4 times on the label). There are 10 other ingredients containing sugar on the ingredients label. The sugar may reach as much as 100 grams per 6-ounce serving based upon the calculations of experts on the use of corn syrup.

One small bag of Regular Lay’s Potato Chips contains 2,880 grams per bag and 150 calories and 180 mg of salt per serving (about 10 chips or 1 oz.).

According to a 2009 study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, foods and beverages are typically sweetened with 50% glucose and 50% fructose from high-fructose corn syrup. Manufacturers often use a combination of sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup and other sugar ingredients to make sure none of them are present in large enough quantities to alarm buyers. This deception permits the industry to avoid admitting to the total amount of sugar in their products.

Late Night Snack Total:  275 calories, 190 mg of salt and 31 grams of sugar (but an estimated 100 grams including high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup).

Total for the Day: Approximately 7,075 calories, 9,350 mg of salt and 873 grams of sugar with ice cream as your snack and 9,940 mg of salt if you prefer potato chips. Give or take 10%.

When Randy W reads this, he may think that he would be healthier substituting a chicken meal or fast food salad instead of a cheeseburger. But the chicken meals and salads have more calories, fat, salt and sugar than burgers. And if you think we are singling out McDonald’s, many of its competitors serve cheeseburgers with far more salt such as Wendy’s Baconator which contains 820 calories, 3,180 grams of salt and 10 grams of sugar.

Several research groups including Consumer Reports have independently tested such products as fast food burgers and French fries and found that they contain 2.5 times more than what is set forth on the ingredients label. Many researchers claim that fast food burgers exceed 4,000 mg of salt. In each case, we used the lower numbers.

If you are saying to yourself, “Oh, no! It can’t be,” we said the same thing before we started reading ingredients labels and researching polysyllabic names of chemical ingredients on the Internet. It’s all there. Just read the labels and look up the ingredients and decide for yourself.

In our upcoming book, It’s Not Your Fault, we provide the reasons, facts and research to prove that these meals are one of the primary causes of obesity among America’s youth and the increase of childhood diabetes, autism and other illnesses. The statistics show that adults are not faring any better than our youth. Try Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula – A Change of Lifestyle Diet Designed for Everyone and see whether these foods are causing you to gain weight or become obese. Our book provides recipes and daily meal plans to help protect your family’s health.

Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks, R.N., are the authors of two books – Arthritis, Inflammation, Gout, Crohn’s, IBD and IBS – How to Eliminate Pain and Extend your Life and Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula – A Change of Lifestyle Diet Designed for Everyone available at, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other booksellers around the world. The authors’ latest book, It’s Not Your Fault! Weight Gain, Obesity and Food Addiction will be available for the 2010 holidays.

Simon Barrett

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