As the popularity of health food continues to rise, more and more fast food restaurants are beginning to offer salad options in a bid to retain weight-conscious customers. However, depending on where you go and which salad dressing you order, it might actually be healthier to plump for a juicy burger.
Salad picture from Shutterstock
We spoke to Dr. Bruce Neal, the senior director and professor of medicine at the University of Sydney. Neal said that many takeaway salads actually contain more salt, sugar and fat content than some burgers.
"They might look green and healthy, but [takeaway] salads often contain an enormous amount of salt and sugar — much more than most people would suspect," Neal explains. "In some cases, choosing a burger can actually be a healthier option, especially if it has salad on it and you withhold the cheese."
Naturally, the reason takeaway salads fall down in the health stakes is because of the dressing, which varies hugely in both kilojoules and quantity depending on the restaurant and dressing type.
"In most places, a thick, creamy ranch dressing will be worse for you than say, a vinaigrette. Like any takeaway food it's important to check the nutritional information of the salad, but this isn't always easy because the labeling is usually inadequate."
Neal said that a burger was sometimes a better way to go, as you have more control over the ingredients (compared to a salad dressing).
"If you get something with grilled chicken or fish in it as opposed to battered or deep fried, that's obviously going to be a good start. What you then have to do is make sure you don't slather on too many sauces which are very high in salt and sugar."
This all might sound pretty obvious, but it does present an interesting point: a burger without cheese is still a perfectly acceptable meal, whereas a salad without dressing is barely worth the effort of ingesting. I know which option I'll be picking at lunch.