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Money Minute: Burger King's 'healthy' new menu [Video]

April 02, 2012|By David Lazarus

Burger King is getting healthier -- or so the fast-food chain would have you believe.

BK has unveiled a new menu that includes 10 dishes it says will appeal to diet- and fitness-conscious consumers. These taste treats include Caesar salads, smoothies and wraps.

"We spent the last year analyzing every aspect of our business to better understand what our guests expect from the Burger King dining experience," says Steve Wiborg, the company's North American president. "We found that consumers wanted a broader range of menu options to complement our signature fire-grilled burgers."

Sounds good. Except for one small thing.

While many of the new items are indeed better for you than, say, much of the rest of Burger King's menu, they're not what most nutritionists would call healthful. Not exactly.

For instance, the new Garden Fresh Salad Chicken Caesar with Tendercrisp and Dressing contains no fewer than 670 calories and 1,760 milligrams of sodium.

That means you would get about a third of your daily recommended 2,000 calories from that one salad, plus more than your entire daily recommended 1,500 mg of sodium.

Burger King's Tropical Mango smoothie contains 450 calories. Its Ranch Crispy Snack Wrap contains 390 calories and 1,060 mg of sodium.

To be sure, this is better than a Burger King Triple Whopper with cheese, which boasts 1,230 calories and 1,550 mg of sodium. But it's not as healthful a choice as many people might believe.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 are obese.

Points to Burger King for moving in the right direction. But it could do better.

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