McDonald’s made headlines last May when it turned to the hipster-favourite “superfood” kale in an effort to halt dwindling global sales.
The company’s bet on healthier options seems to have worked, as sales rose by 5 per cent across the globe in the last quarter of 2015.
But don’t be fooled into thinking you are better off eating a kale-infused Caesar salad than a Big Mac.
In fact, a Big Mac has the same number of calories (520) and the same amount of saturated fat (10 g), according to McDonald’s own figures. And it actually has less sodium (by 190 mg) and less cholesterol (by 30 mg) than the Caesar.
Only when it comes to carbohydrates (of which it has fewer) and micro-nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium (of which it has more) does the Caesar salad appear slightly more nutritious than a Big Mac.
That doesn’t mean the Big Mac is a great option: it still provides half of your recommended daily limit of saturated fat, 40 per cent of your daily sodium limit and approximately 25 per cent of your calories. And that’s before we even start talking about the French fries or the accompanying soft drink. (Figures are based on a 2,000 calorie diet and will vary depending on your age, sex and level of activity.)
The Caesar salad with crispy chicken also has a higher calorie count than a Bacon McDouble or a double cheeseburger (although, the meal does drop by 160 calories if you opt for grilled rather than crispy chicken). The side Caesar salad sans chicken is only 150 calories in total.
Also on the plus side, at least McDonald’s Caesar salads with kale include….kale. The chain faced a social media backlash recently when mozzarella sticks appeared to be served without the cheese.
Meals of a similar style at the fast food giant’s rivals are on both sides of the nutritional value spectrum.
A crispy chicken sandwich at Tim Hortons has only 70 fewer calories than McDonald’s Caesar with crispy chicken, and only 60 mg less of sodium. It does contain only 1.5 g of saturated fat, a full 8.5 g less than the McDonald’s salad.
Burger King’s most exuberant salad, the bacon cheddar ranch chicken salad with crispy chicken, tops McDonald’s Caesar by 200 calories, 820 mg of sodium and 3 grams of saturated fat.
– With files from the Associated Press