Glycemic Loads

by Vickie Jetelina
(Wharton, TX)

Visitor Question:

There are occasions when we have to eat fast food and I cannot find the information on the glycemic loads or indexes for Subway or McDonalds. I know these places are not ideal but when traveling we are usually on a schedule and cannot stop at a restaurant for lunch.

Lifetime Fat Loss Answers:

Hi Vickie,

I think what you're asking is how to eat low glycemic foods when you are traveling and only have time for fast food places. Good question. That's a tough one but there are ways! It's not easy to eat healthy and low glycemic at fast food stops but I have some suggestions for you.

It's possible to know the calorie and carbohydrate counts of foods you buy at Subway and McDonald's (for a good source click here but not possible to figure out the glycemic index or glycemic load. Foods have to be tested at research facilities to get these numbers. But it's not really necessary to know the numbers when you know generally that the sandwiches and burgers are going to be high glycemic, high in saturated fat and very high in calories.

Still, you can stay on your glycemic plan with some good choices at both places. Here is a guideline for how to eat low glycemic on the road. Take fresh fruit with you, like apples and tangerines that would be easy to peel. Take raw, unsalted walnuts, peanuts or almonds and put everything in plastic zip lock bags. You could put an apple (or tangerine) and 7 raw nuts in each bag for each child or adult. These are snacks to fill in between the fast food stops.

At McDonalds order the Chicken Mcgrill and tell them to hold the bun. You could also order the quarter pounder hamburger but again hold the bun. Better yet, order the grilled chicken salad but have them give you just plain oil and vinegar on the side for you to put on yourself. The Cobb salad with grilled chicken is also a good choice (oil and vinegar on side) or the fruit and walnut salad with yogurt. Ask if they have plain yogurt. If not, just put the yogurt on without the sugar loaded filling that's usually on the bottom.

At Subway it's best to stick to the soups and salads. There are several salads including a grilled chicken with baby spinach. Again, ask for vinegar and oil on the side. Even the fat free Italian will have high glycemic additives in it as most restaurant salad dressings do.

The best soup choices at Subway would be the minestrone, the roasted chicken noodle (pasta is low glycemic,) the tomato garden vegetable with rotini or the vegetable beef. The creamy soups, especially the ones with ham, bacon or potato are not good choices.

I got these menu items from my Calorie King calorie counter 2006 edition so I'm not sure if they are still available. I think you get the idea, however, of how to order.

Thanks for a great question! I hope this helps.

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