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Originally published September 19, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 19, 2007 at 2:06 AM

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The Diet Detective

Grabbing the best of the fast-food breakfasts

Can you eat a healthful fast-food breakfast? It's not exactly simple, but there are some choices that are the lesser of several evils...

Syndicated columnist

Can you eat a healthful fast-food breakfast?

It's not exactly simple, but there are some choices that are the lesser of several evils. (Keep in mind that breakfast should make up about 25 percent of your daily calories.)

McDonald's

www.mcdonalds.com/app_controller.nutrition.index1.html

Calorie rip-offs

Deluxe Breakfast (biscuit, eggs, sausage and hash browns) without syrup or margarine: 1,070 calories, 55g fat, 2,090 mg sodium, 109g carbs, 6g fiber, 36g protein.

Hotcakes and Sausage (with two pats margarine and syrup): 780 calories, 33g fat, 9g saturated fat, 4g trans fat, 1,020 mg sodium, 106g carbs, 3g fiber, 15g protein.

Picks

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English muffin (no butter): 140 calories, 1.5g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 260 mg sodium, 27g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g protein.

Egg McMuffin: 300 calories, 12g fat, 820 mg sodium, 30g carbs, 2g fiber, 18g protein.

Scrambled Eggs (two): 170 calories, 11g fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 180 mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 15g protein.

Fit tip

Avoid the biscuits; they start at 250 calories and go up to 570. If you're going to go for something high in calories, you're better off, from a hunger perspective, having an Egg McMuffin. At least it has protein rather than just heavy carbs, which could leave you feeling hungry a few hours later. Also, watch out for the flavored coffees: McDonald's adds syrup, so the calories are up there (190 for a medium).

Burger King

www.bk.com/Nutrition/PDFs/brochure.pdf

Calorie rip-offs

Enormous Omelet Sandwich: 730 calories, 45g fat, 16g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 1,940 mg sodium, 44g carbs, 2g fiber, 37g protein.

Double Croissan'wich with Sausage, Egg & Cheese: 680 calories, 51g fat, 11g saturated fat, 2.5g trans fat, 1,060 mg sodium, 26g carbs, 1g fiber, 19g protein.

Large Hash Browns: 620 calories, 40g fat, 11g saturated fat, 13g trans fat, 1,200 mg sodium, 60g carbs, 6g fiber, 5g protein.

Cini-minis with Vanilla Icing: 500 calories, 21g fat, 5.5g saturated fat, 4.5g trans fat, 600 mg sodium, 72g carbs, 2g fiber, 7g protein.

Picks

Croissan'wich Egg & Cheese: 300 calories, 17g fat, 6g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 740 mg sodium, 26g carbs, 1g fiber, 12g protein.

Ham Omelet Sandwich: 330 calories, 14g fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1,130 mg sodium, 35g carbs, 1g fiber, 16g protein.

Fit tip

If you have a choice of sausage, ham or bacon, skip the sausage — it can be 130 calories more.

Starbucks

www.starbucks.com/retail/nutrition_info.asp

Calorie rip-offs

Blueberry Scone: 480 calories, 22g fat, 0.5g trans fat, 520 mg sodium, 64g carbs, 2g fiber, 7g protein.

Cinnamon Chip Scone: 490 calories, 25g fat, 13g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 500 mg sodium, 62g carbs, 2g fiber, 7g protein.

Picks

Black Forest Ham, Egg and Cheddar Sandwich: 380 calories, 16g fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 930 mg sodium, 37g carbs, 1g fiber, 21g protein.

Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon, Cholesterol-Free Egg, Reduced-Fat White Cheddar Sandwich: 350 calories, 11g fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 820 mg sodium, 41g carbs, 4g fiber, 20g protein.

Fit tip

Almost all the baked goods (muffins, coffee cakes, Danishes, etc.) are high in calories and nutritionally void (although they don't have saturated fat). Your best bet is a real meal. Not all Starbucks carry breakfast, but if they do, go for the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon, Cholesterol-Free Egg, Reduced-Fat White Cheddar sandwich. Starbucks makes good plain coffee; get that with skim milk. (Note: Starbucks nutritional information varies by region.)

Arby's

www.arbys.com/nutrition/printable.php?type=nutrition

Calorie rip-offs

Sausage Gravy Biscuit: 961 calories, 68g fat, 14g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 3,755 mg sodium, 107g carbs, 1g fiber, 7g protein.

Pecan Sticky Bun: 688 calories, 22g fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 420 mg sodium, 91g carbs, 5g fiber, 12g protein.

Picks

Bacon & Egg Croissant: 337 calories, 22g fat, 10g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 651 mg sodium, 23g carbs, 1g fiber, 11g protein.

Ham & Cheese Croissant: 274 calories, 12g fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 842 mg sodium, 22g carbs, 1g fiber, 13g protein.

Fit tip

Avoid all the T.J. Cinnamons goodies — especially the Pecan Sticky Buns.

Charles Stuart Platkin is a nutrition and public health advocate and author of "The Diet Detective's Calorie Bargain Bible" (Simon & Schuster, 2007).

Copyright 2007 by Charles Stuart Platkin

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