We’ve all been there- you promise yourself that you’ll be making dinner tonight, but by the time 6om rolls around, you’re so starving that you cave and head towards the nearest drive-thru. While fast food is usually never the best option for anyone trying to lose weight, those who are on the ketogenic diet need to be especially careful about what they order, as the overwhelming majority of fast food options are saturated with added sugar and carbohydrates.
As a keto dieter, nutritional info is your most powerful weapon when it comes to keeping yourself in ketosis and avoiding hidden sources of sugars and carbs when dining out. This guide will give you a quick run-down on where the most popular fast food restaurants post their nutritional information, and how you can interpret nutritional charts to make smarter carbohydrate choices.
Know what you’re looking for
Ketogenic dieters rejoice–starting on May 7th of this year, new laws have made it a federal requirement for restaurants with more than 20 chain locations to have nutritional information available should their customers request it.1 What this means is that starting on May 7th, 2018, nearly every fast food chain will be guaranteed to have a printed “Nutrition Facts” chart for every menu item, similar to the nutrition info that you see on groceries when you’re shopping.
This also means that you won’t have to worry about a dead cell phone battery ruining the calculation of your macros; the law requires that restaurants have the nutrition sheets available physically in their stores. Every major fast food retailer has also opted to post the info online, and many have also chosen to list their menu item’s ingredients (though ingredient lists are not currently required by law).
When looking at nutritional information, the most important sections you’ll want to look for are the “dietary fiber,” “carbohydrates,” and “sugars” sections. To calculate the net carbohydrates in your meal, simply subtract the dietary fiber from the total carbohydrates. You should also watch out for menu items with excessive sugar, as these menu items typically come along with carb overloads and no dietary fiber.
Where the most popular fast-food restaurants post their info
Most major chain restaurants have already implemented these charts in their stores, and include information like calories, calories from fat, sugars, grams of trans fats, proteins, and most importantly, carbohydrates. Restaurants are able to decide how this nutrition is posted within their buildings, as the law simply states that it must be “readily available” to consumers.
McDonald’s has opted for conveniently printed tray liners with nutrition info available on the back- though if you spill a drink, you’ll have to ask for a new one. Wendy’s posts their information physically on the wall in the dining room, while Chipotle offers pamphlets to interested customers. The most annoying offender when it comes to getting information? Applebee’s, which offers only a single binder full of information that needs to be shared between every customer in the restaurant.
Much more useful than online nutritional information are online “nutrition calculators,” which allow you to calculate your meal’s macros and calories even after removing ingredients. Every online fast food chain has an online nutrition calculator available on their website.
Which chains make eating the easiest for keto dieters?
The online tools are by far the easiest way to calculate your nutritional information because they allow you to see firsthand which ingredients can be removed to make your meal keto-approved. The easiest meal builder to use is Chipotle’s, which is optimized for mobile, up front and center, and offers simple-to-understand ingredient lists. The loser? Wendy’s, whose nutrition calculator gives you the nutritional information of each ingredient, but makes you do the math yourself.
The content on this website should not be taken as medical advice and you should ALWAYS consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. We provide nutritional data for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. We use Total Keto Diet app software to calculate the nutrition and we remove fiber and sugar alcohols, like erythritol, from the total carbohydrate count to get to the net carb count, as they do not affect your blood glucose levels. You should independently calculate nutritional information on your own and not rely on our data. The website or content herein is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose or treat any disease. This website shall not be liable for adverse reactions or any other outcome resulting from the use of recipes or recommendations on the Website or actions you take as a result. Any action you take is strictly at your own risk.
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