If you’re looking to shed some pounds but keep up a hefty fast-food diet, you might be in luck. A new study from the brain trust at Harvard released a new study which suggests fast-food itself isn’t all to detrimental to your health — rather, it’s the sauce and the soda that often comes with your combo meal.
Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the Harvard study analyzed 34 different fast-food chains and found on average, the typical combo meal as it exists now comes with 1,193 calories. But if you were to hold the sauce — sorry, Chick-fil-A fans — and monstrous soda that comes with, you’ll be well on your way to a substantially lower caloric intake. The study also found out the average default combo option had 2,110 milligrams of sodium while the Healthier Restaurant Meal Guidelines suggest an adult should eat no more than 770 milligrams per meal.
“We were surprised at just how much realistic customer modifications can change the nutrient profile of a meal,” lead study researcher Kelsey Vercammen told Reuters.
For the most thorough study possible, researchers analyzed each meal prepared three different ways: the “default” option which included everything in the meal as was advertised and two variations, a low-calorie option (with meal reductions) and a high-calorie option (with meal additions). The results pointed out beverages as the main culprit behind big increases in both calories and sugar. Entress and sides, on the other hand, was were larger amounts of saturated fat and sodium came into play.