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A chicken burger

What’s in Chick-fil-A’s Chick-n-Minis?

In this series, “Eating out: What’s in it?” we will be going over how you can figure out for yourself if something is unhealthy. Today we are taking a trip to Chick-fil-A.

 

1. Check the Menu

In more and more urban and developed cities, some nutrition information is being publicly displayed on the menu. Look for numbers or symbols next to the menu item.
Examples:

  • “S/M 480/750 cal”     — this could be found right after a soup, indicating that the small bowl is 480 calories, while a medium is 750.
  • “GF,” “V,” or “DF”     — could all be common allergy indicators or show dietary preferences (gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy free)
  • “0g trans fat”     –there is a negligible amount of trans-fatty acids in the food

These indicators are convenient and effective ways of narrowing down choices.

 

2. Go Online

If you are eating at a chain restaurant, you can almost guarantee they will have the nutritional info on their websites. Some even have ingredients, and most include a common allergen guide.

In this case we have an extensive amount of information online for all of Chik-fil-A’s products.

  1. Go to their website
  2. On the main menu select “Breakfast”
  3. Scroll down and click on the Chick-n-Minis
  4. There you will find the nutrition information along with a PDF providing the ingredients and allergens

 

Summaries- Nutrition:

  • 270 calories for every 3

See also: Who Decides What a Serving Size is, Anyway?

 

  • 15g of protein, 660mg of sodium, and 40mg of cholesterol

The protein and cholesterol content is fairly typical of chicken. If you don’t have the formula offhand, that’s roughly 13% of the RDI"Reference Daily Intake:" see post. for cholesterol.

As far as sodium goes, this would be considered over 1/4 of the “healthy daily maximum.” Not a terrible choice if this is your entire meal, but keep in mind the salt adds up very quickly, especially if you get a side of fries.

 

  • 29g of carbohydrates, 4g of which is sugar and 1 of which is fiber

This comes from the biscuits and breading on the chicken. Don’t be fooled that you are eating a high-protein meal. These minis have around twice as much carbs as protein.

See also: How to Understand and Apply the Nutrition Facts

 

  • 11g of fat, 3 of which is saturated, and 0 grams trans fat

Thankfully, there is no / a negligible amount of trans fats. However, 11g is pretty high for chicken. This is another case where, just because it’s poultry, doesn’t make it lean. In fact, from a caloric standpoint, there’s approximately 65% more fat than protein in the biscuits.
Our approximate macro breakdown: 37% fat, 41% carbs, 22% protein.

See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?

 

Summaries- Ingredients

I divided the ingredients up into a layout that is hopefully easier to understand.

Some ingredients are not in blue, those in black I’m not counting to avoid listing items twice.

  1. Yeast roll
    1. Enriched bleached flour
      1. Bleached wheat flour
      2. Malted barley flour
      3. Niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid
    2. Water
    3. Sugar
    4. Soybean oil
    5. Whole eggs
    6. Butter
      1. Cream
      2. Salt
    7. Salt
    8. Hydrogenated cottonseed oil
    9. Yeast
    10. NaturalThis term, to be honest, does not mean much. It simply means... More and artificial flavors
    11. Mono and diglycerides
    12. Honey butter
      1. Butter
        1. Cream
        2. Natural flavor
      2. Water
      3. Honey
      4. Corn syrup
      5. Sugar
      6. Soybean oil
      7. Natural flavor
      8. Nonfat dry milk
      9. Mono- and diglycerides
      10. Salt
      11. Soy lecithin"Food grade lecithin is a complex mixture of substances deri... More
      12. Sodium benzoate added as preservative
      13. Propylene glycol alginate
      14. Calcium disodium EDTA added to protect flavor
  2. Nuggets
    1. Whole chicken breast
    2. Seasoning
      1. Salt
      2. Monosodium glutamate
      3. Sugar
      4. Spices
      5. Paprika
    3. Seasoned coater
      1. Enriched bleached wheat flour
        1. Malted barley flour
        2. Niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid
        3. Sugar
        4. Salt
        5. Monosodium glutamate
        6. Nonfat milk
        7. Leavening
          1. Baking soda
          2. Sodium aluminum phosphate
          3. Monocalcium phosphateIt is a leavening agent because it produces CO2 when it reac... More
        8. Spice
        9. Soybean oil
        10. Paprika
    4. Milk wash
      1. Water
      2. Nonfat milk
      3. Egg
    5. Fully refined peanut oil
    6. Dimethylpolysiloxane

Contains: Dairy, Wheat, Soy, and Egg

 

Breakdown:

  • Be wary of the corn syrup used.
  • There are a couple of flavorings.
  • There are “artificial” and “natural” items used. Read here for their technical definition and what they can entail.
  • Remember mono and diglicerides are another source of trans fat.
  • It contains several thickeners, preservatives, and sweeteners that are controversial in some circles.
  • Dimethylpolysiloxane, the last ingredient, is an anti-foaming agent. It may sound deadly, but it is considered harmless.
  • Note the flavor enhancers and MSG.
  • There are also refined vegetable oils used, two of which are hydrogenated (increases shelf life and save costs, but is possibly the worst kind of fat you can put into your body).
  • Be careful. These biscuits have more than meets the eye.

See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients

 

Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Source(s):

Who Food Additives Series 6. IPCS. ” TOXICOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF SOME
FOOD COLOURS, ENZYMES, FLAVOUR
ENHANCERS, THICKENING AGENTS, AND
CERTAIN FOOD ADDITIVES,” 1975. http://www.befoodsmart.com/ingredients/disodium-guanylate.php. Accessed 23 December 2016.

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