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What’s in Qdoba’s Three Cheese Queso?

In this new 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 Qdoba Mexican Eats.

 

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 80/150 cal”     — this could be found right after a soda, indicating that the small size is 80 calories, while a medium is 150.
  • “GF,” “V,” or “DF”     — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy free)
  • “2g fib”     –there are 2 grams of fiber in your 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 Qdoba’s products.

 

  1. Go to their website
  2. On the main menu select “Menu
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of page and you will find 2 pdf files with all the nutrition, allergens, and ingredients on their entire menu

 

Summaries- Nutrition:

  • 90 calories for every 57g serving

57g is around a couple spoonfuls.

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

 

  • 3g of protein, 350mg of sodium, and 25mg of cholesterol

Nothing crazy here. Around 8% of the RA of cholesterol. However; this would be considered over 1/5 of the “healthy maximum daily intake” of sodium. Best to avoid too many topping like these if you are avoiding sodium.

 

  • 3g of carbohydrates, 1g of which is sugar, and another 1 grams is fiber

Pretty standard, cheese is never really a good source of carbs.

See also: How to Understand and Apply the Nutrition Facts

 

  • 8g of fat, 5 of which is saturated, 0 grams trans fat

Thankfully, there is no / a negligible amount of trans fats. However, as most cheeses go, not a great choice if limiting saturated fats.

 

Our approximate macro breakdown: 78% fat, 9% carbs, 13% protein. Give or take a few percent.

See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?

 

Summaries- Ingredients:

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

The ingredients are in blue, while headings and repeats are in black (some ingredients have ingredients that make them up, so you don’t want to count things twice).

 

  1. Water
  2. Cream
    1. Cream
    2. Milk
  3. Monterey Jack Cheese
    1. Milk
    2. Cheese CultureThis refers to a culture of cells- keeping things like yeast... More
    3. Salt
    4. Enzymes
    5. Water
    6. Milk Fat
    7. Sodium Phosphate
    8. Salt
    9. Sodium Hexametaphosphate
  4. American Cheese
    1. Milk
    2. Cheese Culture
    3. Salt
    4. Enzymes
    5. Water
    6. Milk Fat
    7. Sodium Phosphate
    8. Salt
  5. Roasted Poblano Peppers
  6. Roasted Tomatoes
    1. Tomatoes
    2. Tomato Juice
    3. Citric Acid"Citric acid is the compound 2-hydroxy-1,2,3-propanetricarbo... More
    4. Calcium Chloride
  7. Seasoning
    1. Modified Cornstarch
    2. Salt
    3. Sodium Phosphate
    4. Artificial Colors
      1. Titanium Dioxide
      2. Extractives of Paprika
    5. Xanthan Gum"The additive is a polysaccharide gum derived from Xanthomon... More
    6. Onion Powder
    7. Spices
    8. Lactose
    9. Paprika
    10. Methyl CelluloseCellulose is a compound that gives plant cells their rigidit... More Gum
    11. Garlic Powder
    12. Citric Acid
    13. Potato Flour
    14. Cocoa Powder
    15. Silicon Dioxide
  8. Jalapeño Peppers
  9. Pasteurized Processed Swiss and American Cheese
    1. Cultured Milk and Skim Milk
    2. Cream
    3. Sodium Phosphate
    4. Salt
    5. Sorbic Acid
    6. Enzymes
  10. Cheddar Concentrate
    1. Cheddar
    2. Granular
    3. Semisoft and Blue Cheese
      1. Pasteurized Milk
      2. Cheese Cultures
      3. Salt
      4. Enzymes
    4. Water
    5. Sodium Phosphate
    6. Vinegar
    7. Salt
  11. Corn Syrup Solids
  12. Modified Cornstarch
  13. Garlic
    1. Garlic
    2. Water

CONTAINS MILK

 

Breakdown:

  • Be wary of the corn syrup used.
  • There are a couple of preservatives: sorbic and citric acid.
  • There are “artificial” colors used. Read here for artificial’s technical definition and what it can entail.
  • You may not have heard of Xanthan Gum or Methyl Cellulose Gum. They are simply thickeners (hence the 1 gram of fiber).
  • Lastly, if you are unfamiliar with silicon dioxide, it’s a caking agent.

See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients

 

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

 

Thanks for reading!

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