Salad Secrets

Salads are the hottest thing in fast food right now. Almost every chain has them You may think you're saving calories and fat by eating them -- but you're not.

I ordered two of the most popular items at Wendy's, and then went to their web site for a nutritional analysis. Turns out the popular Mandarin Chicken Salad with mandarin oranges, almonds, crispy noodles and Oriental dressing is a whopping 590 calories and 34 grams of fat.

The Big Bacon Classic is 570 calories and 29 grams of fat. That's 20 calories less than the salad and 5 grams of fat less than the salad.

To learn more about Wendy's nutritional information go to

I found a similar situation at McDonald's. A Quarter Pounder with cheese has 530 calories and 30 grams of fat. The Crispy Chicken Cobb salad is 500 calories and 32 grams a fat. That's two more grams of fat than the burger.

To learn more about McDonald's nutritional information go to

At Jack In A Box, I got a Jumbo Jack with cheese. It's 690 calories and 38 grams of fat. The Chicken Club Salad with Bacon Ranch dressing, croutons and almonds is 830 calories and 65 grams of fat. That's double the burger.

To learn more about Jack In A Box's nutritional information go to

"I think if most people knew that they would go for the sandwich," says dietitian Marci Wright.

She says most of the salads aren't healthier because of all the toppings.

"If you ordered something and you want to modify it, use less dressing, leave off the bacon, use half the cheese, use half the croutons, half the almonds. You will considerable reduce the fat."

She says one of the biggest culprits is the dressing.

"This (a packet) is about four times what I would recommend," she says. "This is a quarter cup and I would recommend about a table spoon full."

All three restaurants fat free dressing options which would save you anywhere from 10-33 grams of fat and 120 to 220 calories.

"I think they are giving people what they want. It's a matter of educating people to be more health conscience and demand more healthy food items," says Wright.

None of the fast food chains say their salads are dietary or claim they are a healthier option. They post all of the nutritional information on their web sites. Marci's say most people just don't realize what they're eating.