It's hard to tell exactly when and how the shift toward healthy began with fast food restaurants, but there's no question that the big chain eateries are listening to consumers who want healthier options.
Just because something is branded as healthier doesn't necessarily mean that it is. McDonald's has offered salads for awhile now, but the salad dressing takes the calorie count higher than a Big Mac.
Nonetheless, it's important to take note of these changes if you want to make better choices from fast food menus.
Check out the five following "healthy" fast food menu changes.
McDonald's To Add The Leafy Greens
McDonald's added apples to its Happy Meals in 2011.
Rumors are now swirling that McDonald's plans to add kale to its menu. According to a report from a Wall Street investment firm, McDonald's will include kale in its salads and maybe introduce a kale smoothie.
Kale salads would be a huge upgrade from iceberg lettuce, which has almost zero nutritional value; but we're guessing the kale smoothies will be loaded with sugar, so you might just as well get a McFlurry.
Chik-fil-A Going Antibiotic-Free
Approximately 20 percent of its chicken is already free from antibiotics, but the "Home of the Original Chicken Sandwich" (with a cow as its mascot) has promised that all of its chicken will be free of antibiotics by 2019.
Antibiotics are typically used to make the animals gain weight, but for humans who eat the chickens, the antibiotics are thought to increase the risk of diseases resistant to antibiotics.
Also, McDonald's recently announced it will reduce the amount of antibiotics in its chickens and that antibiotics will be used for "legitimate health reasons only."
Micky D's will also begin to sell low-fat milk and fat-free chocolate milk from cows not treated with artificial grown hormones.
Subway's Bread is Less Like a Yoga Mat
Last year, under scrutiny, Subway announced it would no longer use azodicarbonamide in its bread. Azodicarbonamide is a whitening agent and "dough conditioner" that improves volume and texture in cereal flour and bread. It also happens to be used in products made of some types of plastic, such as yoga mats.
Eating lots of azodicarbonamide is believed by some to take a toll on the kidneys. Subway's bread will henceforth be less fluffy, but it will be better for your health.
Burger King is Getting Rid of Soda . . . From Their Kids Menu
Burger King recently announced it is removing soda as an item from its kids menu. Wendy's made the same change this past January, and McDonald's did so in 2013.
The beverage options for kids meals are milk, chocolate milk and apple juice, but you can bet a kiddie soda will still be available à la carte.
Dunkin' Donuts' Powdered Sugar Will Not Be as White
Responding to criticism from As You Sow, a group promoting corporate accountability, Dunkin' Donuts is taking titanium dioxide out of its powdered donuts.
Titanium oxide is a whitening agent, used in everything from sunscreen to paint and plastic. Although it's unclear whether it causes harm to the body, researchers examining "nanoparticles" have found that the smaller particles of powder are more toxic than larger ones, capable of, well, lodging themselves in places and causing issues.
While there's no immediate or known health concerns with ingesting titanium oxide, noone is likely to miss a painted donut.
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