I can hear the eyes rolling from here.
Carl’s Jr recently launched an all-natural burger, and rather than health focused people seeing this as a step forward they cry ‘not good enough!’
Disclaimer – Even the healthiest foods can be calorie bombs, and a grass fed burger (even at the finest paleo, primal, or gourmet restaurant) can be deadly to the waistline when you add fries, drinks, sauces, cheese, a 380 calorie bun – whether it’s gluten free or not (it’s not) – and desserts. Use your head (or your calorie calculator) people!
The Carl’s Jr. All-Natural Burger Review
From the Carl’s Jr Web Site
“Introducing fast food’s first All-Natural Burger. A grass-fed, free-range, charbroiled beef patty with no added hormones, steriods, or antibiotics, topped with natural cheddar cheese and vine ripened tomatoes.” – source, CarlsJr.com
I, for one, see this as a step forward.
Consumers want more natural products, and Carl’s Jr is offering them what they want.
Today’s health conscious world is filled with people who will complain about the following:
- It’s not gluten free – true, but you can get it lettuce wrapped (lettuced wrapped, here)
- The bun is still full of chemicals – true, don’t eat it
- The ketchup has high fructose corn syrup – it doesn’t matter whether you eat 25 calories of sugar from sugar or from hfcs, it’s still 25 calories of sugar. More importantly, it’s only 25 calories!
- The mayo contains soybean oil – order it without mayo, but if everything else in life is good, a dab of soybean oil every once in a while isn’t much of an issue.
- People will still get it with a Coke and fries – even the finest restaurants have fries, and all the truffles and coriander in the world don’t make them healthy, just more expensive.\
…and my personal favorite,
- You can make better at home for less – That’s right, you can. And therefore what, Mr or Mrs Holier Than Thou?
All true, but all irrelevant in a world where virtually everything in the fast food world is junk food, but you might as well complain that your grass fed beef in the grocery store is junk because it’s surrounded by aisles filled with crackers, cookies, and ice cream.
Grass-fed and free range is a great start, and charbroiled is my choice when I’m having a burger. Even though I like dietary fat, I don’t like the greasiness of many pan fried burgers, especially when lettuce wrapped.
They say the cheese is natural cheddar, and it sure looked and tasted like it. It was good cheese!
My burger had slices of sweet pickles, not dill. I can only hope this is normal, but it was soooo good. I love sweet pickles or sweet pickle relish on my burger!
The bun is just a bun. It’s tasty, big, and fluffy, but it’s not in anyway healthier than a normal bun. Next time, I’ll go back to lettuce wrapped, which I love anyway. I’d rather have more meat and cheese in exchange for less bun and no mayo.
The fries (not pictured or eaten)
I didn’t have any, but I’ve had them before. These fries are called ‘natural cut,’ but are not natural fries. I think it means they aren’t extruded, but they’re still normal fast food fries of whole potatoes tossed in seasoning ‘stuff’ and fried in soybean oil.
I chose the salad instead, which isn’t perfect, but filling enough for me.
The salad and dressing
The salad is lettuce, and other greens. It’s better than most fast food salads, but also has a little shredded cheese on top, like or hate it. It come with croutons that are nothing special, but basically 60 extra calories of toasted bread.
The dressing that I choose is the light balsamic, which contains ingredients that make the sphincters of the paleo and ‘real food’ world clench up like nobody’s business, but that I find acceptable at this volume.
It’s only 35 calories per packet. How much of the bad stuff could you possibly be eating at only 35 calories? …plus, I only use about half the packet.
The bottom line…
…for me is that this gives health conscious people an ‘on the road’ option for when they want to meet a ‘normal’ friend for lunch, grab a quick bite and an iced tea for less than $10, or are baby-stepping their way from a fast food habit.
People can choose to fine tune their burger how the want, and get the All-Natural Burger, lettuce wrapped, no mayo, a side salad (or even no sides at all), and iced tea.
It’s a good first step, and maybe if people actually eat the burger and even suggest ways to make things even better, CJ’s will continue to give people even healthier alternatives.
…and there you go.
PS. I’m working on my Fast Food Survival Guide, but in the meantime, checkout my free Build-A-Bowl ebook.
It shows you how to build a great and healthy meal in fast food places like Chipotle (or any place that serves bowls) AND even how to build your own at home using pantry staples and leftovers. 😎
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Wow . Thankyou. This is very well said. I would love to hear more people encouraging each other in this direction vs complaining so much.
It’s not perfect but it’s one step closer. It would be nice to see more healthier foods in faster places and I for one hope it progresses for myself and my family.
Thankyou again for sharing.
You’re very welcome!
“The ketchup has high fructose corn syrup – it doesn’t matter whether you eat 25 calories of sugar from sugar or from hfcs, it’s still 25 calories of sugar. ”
HFCS is bad for you, look it up. You’re better of with regular sugar.
Thanks for writing!
There are a lot of misconceptions about HFCS, which I do NOT approve of, but am not afraid of. From a calorie and type of sugars perspective, it’s very similar to sucrose (table sugar) as both are about 50/50 dextrose and fructose. Once HFCS hits the body, it’s almost identical to table sugar.
The biggest problem with HFCS is that it is cheap and in everything, so our society eats a lot more than they should. However, if sugar was that cheap, we’d have the same health problems as we do with HFCS.
It’s not a HFCS issue, but an issue of people eating and drinking foods with too much sugar, whether it’s HFCS, honey, cane sugar, beet sugar, agave syrup, or concentrated fruit juices.
Even if HFCS was 100% fructose and/or worse than cane or beet sugar, it’s still just 25 calories of sugar, which isn’t much.
Actually, HFCS is metabolized differently by your liver and bypasses metabolic mechanisms that create satiety.
Even so, this is a good first step.
I’m not a fan of HFCS out of principal, but I put up with it here and there.
HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) has a confusing name, and often gets confused with fructose. Strangely, it’s only high in fructose compared to normal corn syrup, which is all glucose. Actually HFCS and table sugar (sucrose) are very close in composition. Each is about 50/50 glucose and fructose, so metabolized about the same. Even then, specific negatives from fructose occur when dosage is very high, like 50% of total daily calories eaten coming from fructose (not hfcs).
I get a double all natural burger PLAIN and throw away the bun. Problem solved!
I’m thankful to be able to eat a hot meal while I’m on the run or on a road trip. I pray they KEEP it on the menu.
Ann, I just had one today! So far, so good! Your prayers are working…
Nice article, Roland. I agree that a person can eat fast food occasionally and stay healthy. There are a couple of other issues, though, that you didn’t mention in the article that may or may not be important to some people:
Fast food chains:
– are typically members of associations that fund interests of GMOs, sugar, and junk food industries
– are major drivers of industrial agriculture practices that are bad for the environment
– decrease food diversity and small, family-owned quick-serve restaurants
– are less than ideal employers
– spend billions on manipulative marketing products that are mostly unhealthy, and much of it is geared toward children
There are exceptions to the above, but the dollars we spend at these kinds of establishments ultimately fund their corporate interests, which may not be well-aligned with your own interests or aspirations for a better world. A double-whammy is that at the same time we don’t spend dollars at establishments that we might actually want to support more, whether to keep our money in the local economy, to help out a local family who runs the business, or to reward them for choosing to serve a healthy menu and for supporting organic agriculture, etc.
Ultimately, we vote with our dollars. Those vote-dollars empower whoever we give them to. Personally, I’ve got nothing against giving the fast-food industry some money a couple of times a year, but beyond that wouldn’t be aligned with my own goals on many levels.
I still have yet to try this burger and soooo excited to! I love love!! Carl’s Jr burgers but since I became so health conscious I haven’t touched one burger there in three years! But, I think I will soon! For this change. I’m glad they are more open to healthier alternatives than falling into the hands of horrible companies like Monsanto!!… I really really hope they expand more changes!! – happy customer