Nutrition Action Healthletter
April 2002 - U.S. Edition
Right Stuff Food Porn
Sensational Salads
Wendy's Garden Sensational Salads

Back in the 1970s, you couldn’t get a salad at a fast food restaurant. (You still can’t get one at most Burger Kings.)

    Today, most chains offer a “garden salad.” That usually means iceberg lettuce, a little tomato, and a sliver or two of cucumber or carrot. Or you might find a chef salad (a garden salad plus meat and cheese), a chicken salad (chicken and lettuce), or a Caesar salad (lettuce, Parmesan, and croutons). They’re not bad, but they’re not what you’d call exciting.

    Wendy’s to the rescue. It’s new Garden Sensation Salads taste terrific...and most of the extras come on the side, so you can pick and choose what you want.

    Take the Mandarin Chicken Salad. Wendy’s combines the mixed greens (not just iceberg), chicken, and Mandarin orange segments (160 calories). Then you can take or leave the sliced Roasted Almonds (130 calories), the Crispy Rice Noodles (60 calories), and the delicious Oriental Sesame Dressing (280 calories per packet, so use only half).

    The other three salads—Chicken BLT, Spring Mix, and Taco Supremo—need a little help, since they each come with cheese. If you go easy on the cheese and choose your extras carefully (salsa instead of sour cream and taco chips, for example), you could end up with a decent, interesting salad.
Marketing Smarts
Adam's Body Smart Crunch Bars

Adams, a division of the drug company Pfizer, must think we’re stupid.

    Why else would it call a vitamin-fortified, candy-coated granola bar “Body Smarts”? The individually wrapped Crunch Bars are sold at the check-out counter, which means they’re supposed to be “impulse items.” Well, stifle the urge.

    You can choose from the Chocolate Peanut or (our personal favorite) Yogurt Berry. Turns out the “yogurt coating” is mostly sugar and partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, with some nonfat dry milk and yogurt culture thrown in.

    Other than the sugar and oil coating, the bar is mostly crisp (that is, sweetened) rice and even more sugar. “Dried cranberries” come next in the ingredient list (they’ve got more sugar than cranberries), followed by...hmmm. Where are those blueberries and strawberries pictured on the label? They’re not in the bar, that’s for sure.

    “Sustained Energy,” crows the label. Yet there’s no reason to think that the 200 calories in each bar last any longer than the 200 calories you’d get from any other food. As for the “Half the Fat of the Average of Leading Candy Bars” claim: It may be true, but you’re still talking five grams of saturated fat (a quarter of a day’s worth).

    It doesn’t take too many “brain smarts” to figure out that Body Smarts are anything but.

Wendy’s: (614) 764-6800.

Body Smarts: (800) 524-2854.
Nutrition Action Healthletter Center for Science in the Public Interest April 2002 U.S. Edition Subscribe Today! Customer Service