If you live in Philly, you’re familiar with the ubiquitous food-cart culture: those smoke-filled chrome carts on almost every corner that emit intoxicating scents of greasy, guilty fast food during the lunch-hour rush.
Sure, those gyros and cheesesteaks smell good, but what you may not know (or, well, want to know) is how many calories and fat grams these sandwiches will cost you. (Seriously, stop reading right now if you don’t want to know.) The folks over at Axis Philly shattered the mystery by lab-testing some of the most popular items at local food carts, and what they found is pretty shocking.
For example, a buttered corn muffin, weighing in at a hefty 688 calories, is higher in calories than many of the other popular items, including the sausage-and-egg sandwich, chicken cheesesteak, beef cheesesteak, kielbasa sandwich, hotdog with mustard and soft pretzel. Let me guess: Right about now, you’re reconsidering your “light” breakfast of a muffin and coffee, right?
But that’s not to say that those other items can be considered healthy choices; in addition to eye-popping calorie counts (780 calories in a gyro!), every single item listed contains an insane amount of sodium. Like, I might have a heart attack just looking at these numbers. Both types of cheesesteaks contain nearly 75 percent of the daily recommendation of sodium, which according to the FDA is 2,300 milligrams, and the counts for the other items aren’t much lower. And while salt might make your food taste delicious, it also contributes to high blood pressure and causes serious bloating, neither of which are fun.
As for fat, there’s no surprise here: Many of the food-cart staples contain an overwhelming amount of it, with some even containing nearly 70 percent of the FDA’s daily suggestion. Sort of puts those HipCityVeg calorie counts into perspective, no?
So, here’s your lesson: If you’re planning on sticking to your daily food-cart habit, plan on maaaaaybe having a coronary. And if that sounds like an unappealing option, cut back. When those mid-afternoon hunger pangs kick in, grab a low-calorie, low-sodium, energy-boosting fruit salad. And instead of ordering your favorite greasy sandwich everyday, order it once a month. Your bank account and your belt will thank you.