Fast Food Fish Sandwiches: What Are You Really Getting?

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Tuesday, March 02, 2010--Several fast food chains have jumped on the fish-is-good-for-you bandwagon and now offer fish sandwiches on their menu. Of course, they are still breaded and fried - what did you expect from fast food? But which one is the lowest in calories and total fat and which one contains more than two times the trans fat recommended in a day?

In search of the most healthful fish sandwich, I collected nutrition information from the chains I know sell a fish sandwich. If the chain offered nutrition information without the tartar sauce, that's what I used. Just scraping off the tartar sauce (or ordering it without the sauce) often cut the total fat and saturated fat in half and shaved off a couple of hundred milligrams of sodium as well.

If you can add lettuce, onion and/or tomato to your sandwich, do it! They will add nutrients, flavor and texture with almost no added calories or sodium.

Now for the results.

McDonald's has a smaller sized sandwich, so it isn't surprising their sandwich is the lowest in calories, total fat and protein. If you look at the percent of calories from fat though, McDonald's and Wendy's (without tartar sauce) both contain 28%, while Burger King's sandwich (without tartar sauce) computes to 25%. Jack in the Box was next to the highest with 35% and Long John Silvers topped out with 44% calories from fat.

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