Pizza bars are viewed as fast food restaurants

Please tell us that you are as confused as we are by this “healthiest fast food” ranking

When it comes to fast food, it is common knowledge that excess calories can lurk anywhere, even (or especially!) In salads. Of course, high calorie counts aren't shameful in and of themselves. It's just that when you're looking for the “lightest” menu, it may not be that easy to pick the item with the most vegetables or the word “fresh” in the name. Still, we were surprised to receive a press release this week from the wellness website HealthyBeat listing the top 20 “healthiest” fast food chains in America - and found Little Caesars topping the list.

Let’s start off by making it clear that “healthiest” on this HealthyBeat list is measured by calorie count. This is not a holistic way of evaluating the foods you eat each day, and it certainly does not measure their actual nutritional content. So take this data for what you want. The list was compiled by choosing 10 meals from each restaurant's menu: five “customer favorites” plus “another five at random”. The press release said, “The nutrition team then did the average number of calories for all ten meals to rank each fast food chain.” Pretty simple math, but it's funny how pizza bars topped the list with Little Caesars and pizza Occupy the hat at the bottom:

Little Caesars, Starbucks and Dairy Queen top the list with an average number of calories between 300 and 400 per menu item. Burger King, Chipotle and Pizza Hut are at the bottom with an average of 1,000 to 2,000 calories per item. This, of course, could have something to do with the portion sizes of the average Starbucks order versus the average Chipotle order: even if you pick the heaviest sandwich at Starbucks, it won't be the size of a muscular burrito. If you go to the Little Caesars menu, the number of calories for any large round pizza (excluding the thin crust) is between 2,400 and 3,000 calories. If you divide this by 8 slices, the average number is 304 calories. Therefore, this list of "healthy" fast food joints only makes sense if you are the person who eats a slice of pizza and calls it a meal (maybe it's the same population who just want to eat 12 fries?)

Another interesting snack: Panera, which has made a name for itself as a fast-paced leisure chain for health-conscious people, hovers between Sonic and Burger King in terms of calories - which actually makes a lot of sense, because while the restaurant serves many salads and lighter dishes, the broccoli-cheddar soup in a sourdough bread bowl got to being a customer favorite if my own high school spending patterns are any indication.

So what does this list really measure? Maybe it's just the amount of calories we normally consume depending on the occasion? Starbucks' menu, for example, is full of quick bites on the go that appeal to morning commuters - things that get you through the day instead of falling asleep. Little Caesars, meanwhile, offers an almost militaristically uniform menu of $ 5 takeaway pizza of the same size and weight, a reliable option to share with a few friends. Dairy Queen, also near the top, might be the place to go for dessert after a meal you've already eaten elsewhere. All of these features set a natural upper limit for the number of calories and do not really speak for the "value" of a Blizzard compared to the Detroit Double Pepperoni. However, these lists are still interesting in that they make us think briefly about what, where, when, and why we choose our own meals - and how almost all data can be spun as positive or negative depending on your attitude. to be sold again.