Of 357 fast foods listed in the National Database, only 17 are high potassium foods. These 17 all satisfy the 3 to 1 ratio of potassium to sodium that is considered beneficial for bone, heart and kidney. Most of the individual food items have been discussed in prior posts, and the generic version of the food item is in other tables. The composition of the fast food version of a particular food varies a bit because the fast food version generally needs preservatives added, such as salt. The problem with the fast foods not included in the table is the high sodium content of the particular food, usually because sodium is used to help preserve the food item, or because it is in the baked good.
Problems Even With The Best Choices
Of course, even most of these items with the best potassium to sodium values, have the problems often mentioned against the food at the fast food restaurants – high saturated fat content, high sugar content and high caloric density. The exceptions will provide you with the best options at the restaurants – vegetable salads, and yogurt.
Some not often mentioned are corn on the cob, and baked potato. Of course, the potato will weigh 2/3 pound and give about 400 to 500 calories to give you 1100 to 1400 mg of potassium. The shakes get their favorable potassium to sodium ratio from the milk and ice cream. Because of the added sugar, the 12 oz child size cup gives over 400 calories, more than half of which come from sugar. Although the yogurt does not have as much sugar as the shakes, it still has more than a natural yogurt. The McFlurry with M&Ms gets its favorable potassium to sodium ratio from the chocolate, but provides over 600 calories with 2/3 from sugar in a serving.
So it appears that in the fast food restaurants, some of the same sources of potassium as at home are the best of what is offered, but many of the good choices at home are not available and for most food items, sodium added to enhance food preservation negates the benefits from potassium.
There will be a slight difference at the chain sit down restaurants which we will discuss in a future post.
The weights for the potassium and sodium are milligrams. The potassium and sodium values given are for 100 grams of food.
As usual, K is potassium, and Na is sodium.
Except for the potassium to sodium ratio (which we calculated), the source of data is: USDA National Nutrient Database Standard Reference – Release 22.
|FAST FOODS, SALAD, VEG, TOSSED, WO/DRSNG||172||26||6.6|
|FAST FOODS, SALAD, VEG, TOSSED, WO/DRSNG,
|FAST FOODS, CORN ON THE COB W/BUTTER||246||20||12.3|
|FAST FOODS, POTATO, BKD&TOPPED W/CHS SAU||394||129||3.1|
|FAST FOODS, POTATO, BKD&TOPPED W/SOUR
|WENDY'S, FRENCH FR||575||172||3.3|
|MCDONALD'S, VANILLA TRIPLE THICK SHAKE||176||53||3.3|
|MCDONALD'S, CHOC TRIPLE THICK SHAKE||226||71||3.2|
|MCDONALD'S, STRAWBERRY TRIPLE THICK SHAKE||184||49||3.8|
|MCDONALD'S, STRAWBERRY SUNDAE||173||47||3.7|
|MCDONALD'S, PNUTS (FOR SUNDAES)||634||0||F3|
|MCDONALD'S, MCFLURRY W/ M&M'S CANDIES||208||54||3.9|
|MCDONALD'S, SIDE SALAD||220||12||18.3|
|MCDONALD'S, FRUIT ‘N YOGURT PARFAIT (WITHOUT
|LIGHT ICE CRM, SOFT SERVE, BLENDED W/ MILK
|YOGURT PARFAIT, LOWFAT, W/ FRUIT & GRANOLA||189||49||3.9|