Why Takeaway Burgers Can Be Healthier Than Takeaway Salads

Why Takeaway Burgers Can Be Healthier Than Takeaway Salads

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.


  • He makes those claims then admits there’s usually insufficient ingo to make a decision, and he more lists it as being a possibility a burger COULD be healthier, but 99% of the time I would personally say that the 10-20 grams of sugar any big name fast food places burger buns alone have… Well, I think you’d have trouble hiding the fact your salad tasted like it was covered in sugar..

    perhaps they could devise a way to get sugar intravenously into the growing plants… Hmm..

    • Plants have sugar in them, in various forms. And dressings often add a lot of sugar. Check it out, mayo (certain brands), French, Italian all have fairly high amounts of sugar. Balsamic vinegar itself is pretty sweet.

      Still, generally speaking, burgers use white bread and greasy sauces. So, fat chance of them being healthy.

      Just suck it up and eat a salad without dressing if you care about it so much

  • Or just make your salad at home it takes five minutes. it’s cheaper and you have control over what goes on it. Little salt, pepper, olive oil and white vinegar is all it takes.

    • Olive oil is still high in fat/calories. You only change the type of fat/cholesterol you are eating.

  • Just get salad instead of fries with your burger, best of both worlds.

  • I hate the taste of dressing. Tastes awful. But I don’t like salad either. When I get Subway, the only salad I choose to add is lettuce. Don’t have burgers other than cheese burger, as other burgers have salad + mayo(which is worse than dressing)

  • Olive oil is full of “healthy fats”.
    You know, fats that are actually good for you?

    The only reason it’s high in calories is because fat is the most energy-packed macro you can consume. You might want to get out of your 80’s dieting habits.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!