Fast-Food Facts On Your Phone

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ignorance may be bliss, but if you have a cellphone it may no longer be an excuse to indulge in unhealthy eating, at least not at chain restaurants.

Last week, launched Nutrition on the Go, a text-messaging service that lets you check out the calories, carbs and fat of common items at 1,700 places. Send a text message to 34381 with the name of the restaurant and the item you plan to order. The results can be shocking: A tuna sandwich on honey wheat bread at Panera has 720 calories, 43 grams of fat and 50 grams of carbs. The Corner Bakery chicken salad sandwich has 950 calories, 69 grams of fat and 47 grams of carbs.

The system has some bugs. Type in "Starbucks tall latte," for instance, and you get the results for a syrup-flavored latte with soy milk. And though there are 39,000 items in the database, the system drew a blank on several things we requested, such as the Cosi Vegi Muffaletta, even though other dishes from the chain are available. To test the service online, visit

-- Jane Black

© 2008 The Washington Post Company