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In the '70s, "The bigger the burger, the better the burger" heralded Burger King's giant Whopper, by far the largest entree among that decade's fast food selections.

Adding to the alarming number of foods that tempt overweight teens, the fast food companies have broadened their lines this year to include "super-size" and "extra-large portions." Among them:

Burger King's Double Whopper -- 870 calories and 56 grams of fat (with cheese, it's 960 calories and 63 fat grams); add the super-size large drink and large fries and get more than a full day's fat allotment. The company also increased its regular-size hamburger by nearly 60 percent.

Taco Bell, lauded for its reduced-fat Border Lights effort a year ago, cut back on that line and now offers the Big Border Taco, which has twice the meat and cheese of a regular taco. Compared with the 140-calorie, 5-fat-gram Border Light Taco, the Big Border Taco has 290 calories and 17 fat grams.

McDonald's dropped its lower-fat McLean Deluxe, with 350 calories and 12 grams of fat, and added the Arch Deluxe, with 570 calories and 31 fat grams.

Still, there are leaner choices in fast food restaurants. Some advice from the October issue of Consumer Reports:

Skip the super size and opt for smaller portions.

Go easy on fried foods. At Kentucky Fried Chicken, for example, avoid the breaded and fried Original Recipe chicken and go for the Tender Roast without skin; you'll eliminate half the calories.

Mind the toppings. Use a small pat of margarine instead of sour cream, cheese or bacon bits for your baked potato; use low-fat dressings for salads.

Remember -- you vote for these types of foods with your wallet. If you don't buy them, the fast food joints won't sell them.
-- Knight-Ridder

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