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How many calories in a Big Mac? McDonald's to list calorie counts

McDonald's will list the calories on its menu items starting Monday. Federal healthcare reforms will require calorie counts on menus starting next year.

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"Otherwise you could be ordering a gut bomb," he said.

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McDonald's doesn't post calorie information on it's menus, but it's readily available online now. For example, McDonald's Nutritional Guide  lists the Big Mac as having 550 calories, the Quarter Pounder with cheese as having 520 calories, and small fries with 230 calories.

And there are websites that list the calorie counts for popular resturant chain menu items.

Representatives for Burger King Worldwide Inc.; Taco Bell, which is owned by Yum Brands Inc.; and The Wendy's Co. did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Ill., is also testing healthier options for next year, such as an Egg McMuffin made with egg whites and a whole grain muffin. The sandwich has Canadian bacon and white cheddar cheese and clocks in at 260 calories. It will be called the Egg White Delight.

The chain is also testing versions of the McWrap, which is a bigger version of its chicken Snack Wrap that is already sold in Europe. The wraps have sliced cucumbers and range from 350 calories to 580 calories.

The moves reflect the pressures McDonald's and other fast-food chains are facing amid growing concerns about obesity. McDonald's is also facing competition from chains such as Subway, which positions itself as a healthy alternative to traditional hamburger chains. Panera, too, recently began posting calorie counts next to all menu items.

McDonald's notes that it has already made strides in improving the nutrition of its food, such as the automatic inclusion of apple slices in its Happy Meals.

And this summer, it rolled out a "Favorites Under 400" campaign that highlighted the menu items that had fewer than 400 calories. The company noted that about 80 percent of its menu items fit the bill.

Of course, not everyone orders just one item. And the chain has been blamed by critics for fueling obesity rates with its big soft drinks and other items.

A meal consisting of a Big Mac and medium fries, for example, has 920 calories. Add a 16-ounce Coca-Cola, and the count rises to 1,140 calories.

McDonald's, which has 14,000 locations in the U.S., doesn't plan to advertise the posting of the calorie information. Fields said it's something the chain is doing as a "customer convenience."

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Follow Candice Choi at www.twitter.com/candicechoi

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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