McDonald’s first opened their doors in the 1950s and as of 2011, operates more than 32,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries around the world. As a fast food restaurant, McDonald’s came under scrutiny during the turn of the century for its poor nutritional offerings and has made attempts to include healthier menu items. Their Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich is one of their healthier sandwich options, but it is important to remove unhealthy toppings and choose healthier side items, such as a salad, over fries.
Calories and Fat
A plain Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich from McDonald’s with just the chicken and roll contains 360 calories and 4.5 g of total fat with 1 g of saturated fat and 0 g trans fats. The grilled chicken breast fillet accounts for 120 calories and 2 g of fat, while the honey wheat roll contains 240 calories and 2.5 g of fat. Adding mayonnaise to the sandwich contributes an additional 50 calories and 5 g of fat, while including tomato, adds 5 calories and 0 g of fat, and lettuce adds 0 calories and 0 g of fat.
Cholesterol and Sodium
The Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich without mayonnaise, lettuce or tomatoes contains 65 mg of cholesterol and 1110 mg of sodium. The grilled chicken breast fillets provide all the cholesterol, which accounts for 21 percent of the recommended daily value, based upon a 2,000 calorie diet. The American Heart Association recommends keeping cholesterol intake below 300 mg per day and 200 mg for individuals with heart disease. Consuming a diet high in cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The sandwich contains nearly 75 percent of the recommended daily limit of sodium intake of 1500 mg set by the American Heart Association. The honey wheat roll contains 400 mg of sodium, while the chicken breast fillet contains 710 mg. It is important to consume a diet low in sodium as too much can increase blood pressure and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
A plain Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich contains 49 g of total carbohydrates, 3 g of fiber and 10 g of sugar. The Institute of Medicine recommends consuming approximately 130 g of carbohydrates per day for adults and 38 g and 25 g of dietary fiber for men and women, respectively. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily sugar intake to less than 150 calories for men and 100 calories for women, which is approximately 25 to 37.5 g of sugar.
A plain Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich is a good source of protein with 31 g of protein in a single sandwich. Adequate protein intake is an important component of a healthy diet. Every cell contains protein and it is required for nearly every process in the body. The Institute of Medicine recommends 56 g of protein per day for men and 46 g for women.
A plain Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich from McDonald’s is a good source of iron, but not a good source of other vitamins and minerals. It provides 20 percent of the daily value of iron, 8 percent of calcium and 4 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, based upon a 2,000 calorie diet.
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- American Heart Association: Cholesterol
- McDonald's: Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich
- American Heart Association: Sodium (Salt or Sodium Chloride)
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
- American Heart Association: Sugars and Carbohydrates
- Harvard Health Publications: Listing of Vitamins
Jason Dority has been writing health-related articles and developing community resources for healthier lifestyles since 2007. He currently works for the Indiana University School of Medicine's Diabetes Translational Research Center. Dority holds a Master of Science in biology from Indiana University.