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Everything you want to know about McDonald’s but were afraid to ask

“It’s preposterous,” Sherlock Zone exclaimed. Our intrepid food detective was utterly amazed at McDonald’s announcement that the company would release nutritional information on all its menu items.

He figured that people who wanted to eat there would just as soon not know what they were eating. But he figured that since it is such a popular spot, people should get the news, both good and bad, about what they are putting in their mouths.

First some Zone Diet ground rules.

A typical woman has 21 grams of protein, 27 grams of carbs and 9 grams of fat per meal. A typical man should have 28 grams of protein, 36 grams of carbs and 12 grams of fat.

Also, after Sherlock consulted with Dr. Sears, he learned to make it easier when reading a food label a person should consume at least twice as much protein as fat per meal, which takes many, many McDonald’s menu items off limits.

First the bad news, and there is plenty. Probably the worst item on the menu is The Big Breakfast With Hotcakes (large-sized biscuit.) The meal adds up to 1,150 calories, 60 grams of fat (20 grams saturated), 109 grams of carbohydrates and 36 grams of protein. Enough said.

He then turned to two popular favorites. The Big Mac has 550 calories, 29 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbohydrate and 25 grams of protein, totally out of whack in the carbohydrate and fat department. The Quarter Pounder with Cheese is not much better.

And people usually also ask for an order of fries to go with their burger. An order of small fries adds up to 230 calories, 11 grams of fat, and another 27 grams of carbs and virtually no protein. Taken together with the burger, that’s quite an overload.

The protein-to-fat ratio rules out the 4-piece Chicken McNuggets, which come in OK with 9 grams of protein and 10 grams of carbs (the size of a snack), but has 12 grams of fat, although it’s getting closer.

The same is true of the Egg McMuffin, which has 18 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat.

Some of the menu selections that might be thought of as healthy are not, Sherlock found.

For example, although the Apple, Cinnamon Walnut Oatmeal has only 8 grams of fat, it has and 30 grams of carbohydrate, it contains 18 grams of sugar.

Usually yogurt perfectly balances proteins and carbs, but McDonald’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait does not. It weighs in at 28 grams of carbohydrate but only 4 grams of protein. It will also more than satisfy your sweet tooth with 23 grams of sugar.

Don’t despair. Sherlock did find some good news. There are a few items diners can eat but still stay in the Zone.

The Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwich is fine, if you throw away half of the bun.

The Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap (grilled) is just about on the mark, with the protein a bit shy at 16 grams. Bring in a low-fat string cheese to complete the meal.

There are several salads to choose from, but check the dressing. Several are way too high in fat.

The Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken and the Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken are fine with protein and fat but way low on carbs.

Adding good carbs can be done by selecting Apple Slices from the menu, but each serving only contains 4 grams of carbohydrate, just about one-half a block. Order two servings or better yet bring a nice piece of fruit with you.

The nutritional information from McDonald’s is displayed prominently on the company’s website. Sherlock urges Zoners to check it out before going to McDonald’s because it’s easy to zone out if you don’t.