We’ve all heard about limiting red meat intake, but in this case, a beef burger is usually better, says the Cleveland Clinic’s Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D. Both are high in fat and calories, but the chicken loses for a few reasons.
First off, “chicken is very often fried in trans fats, like partially hydrogenated oils,” Kirkpatrick says, rather than healthier oils like olive and coconut. “Trans fat makes food last longer and improves its mouth feel,” she explains, “but it’s also so dangerous health-wise that the FDA has decided to ban it starting in 2018. So if you do decide to go for the chicken, ask what it’s fried in.”
Next, there’s the batter—usually made of nutrient-and fiber-poor white flour that can wreck blood sugar levels.
Finally, there’s what the batter is actually coating—the chicken’s fatty, high-calorie skin.
“So even if the burger’s loaded with cheese and the bun is made of refined flour,” Kirkpatrick says, “it’s still the better bet.”
For a list of the worst fast-food trans-fat offenders, go to mensfitness.com/badfat.