There’s new laws around the country that are meant to protect us from eating stuff we shouldn’t. Not the obvious stuff like triple Whoppers with cheese (you pretty much know what you’re getting there), but those things on the menu that restaurants claim are “healthy” or “low fat”, but really aren’t, because they are loaded with hidden crap.
David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men’s Health and author of Eat This, Not That, did an investigative report for MSN’s Health and Fitness, and found a host of things that popular restaurants have been trying to hide from us. Here are 16 of the most mind-blowing.
1. Outback Steakhouse
Their Aussie Cheese Fries have between 2,030 and 2,900 calories, depending on who did the analysis. (An entire day’s recommended limit for most guys is 2,000 calories.) And the Ayers Rock Strip has 60 grams of fat. Crikey, indeed.
Their old “low-fat” menu featured items like the Chicken Quesadillas, which may have been low in fat, but weighed in with 742 calories and 90 grams of carbs. Their new Weight Watchers items are all under 500 calories.
You don’t go to IHOP for the healthy food (you go late-night after drinking for some soakage), but when the Garden Omelette is rocking 1,150 calories, there’s a problem. IHOP did remove their Omelette Feast from the menu, which contained 150% of your daily fat and 300% of your daily cholesterol. I’m guessing the cooks had heart attacks just preparing it.
4. Red Robin
Their gourmet Peppercorn Burger will load your ass with 1,440 calories and 97 grams of fat. Same fat as in 32 strips of bacon. Eat the onion rings and you’re over the 2,000 calorie mark. And done for the day.
(Disclosure: My print column appears in Hooters Magazine.) They’ve been notoriously evasive about listing the ingredients in their food, most likely because their wing sauce is mostly made up of butter, sweet cream, and partially hydrogenated margarine, and just six wings have between 520 and 726 calories. Enough to grow man boobs of your own if you eat enough of them.
They used to advertise their chicken as “all-natural”, even though it wasn’t. They have since stopped.
The company refuses to provide any nutritional information on any of its food. Red flag? Yup.
8. Dunkin’ Donuts
A fruit and yogurt smoothie sounds pretty nutritious. Except when you find out that the average one at Dunkin’ Donuts is packing 60 grams of sugar. To put that in perspective, you’d have to eat seven chocolate-frosted cake doughnuts to get the same amount of sugar.
9. Papa John’s
Except for a whole grain wheat crust option, Papa John’s has no healthy food on their menu. Those mozzarelly sticks you’ve been eating before your slice? 6,700 milligrams of sodium. Mmmmmm, sodium.
10. Burger King
The King still hasn’t phased out trans fats from his menu. And he still fries everything in the same deep fryer, meaning your French Toast Sticks are bathing in the same grease as the pork sausage, Chicken Tenders, Chicken Fries, Big Fish patties and more. And when you get those hash browns for breakfast? You’re loading up on 13 grams of trans fat first thing in the morning.
11. Panera Bread
They use artificial food coloring in their pastries that have been linked to “irritability, restlessness, and sleep disturbances in children”.
12. Chevy’s Fresh Mex
It may be fresh, but they don’t want you to know how many calories are crammed into their tortillas. Not a good sign.
13. Maggiano’s Little Italy
Their Italian is not so little. A standard portion of pasta is about 4 ounces. At Maggiano’s they pile 32 ounces (two pounds), onto you plate. And then refuse to let you know any of the nutritional information. I’m guessing because if it ever got out, there’d be a price on Mr. Maggiano’s head.
14. T.G.I. Friday’s
Thank God NY passed that law. Before, Friday’s would only publish nutritional info on its low-fat dishes, of which there were three. Once they had to provide info on all the menu items, it became apparent why they were hiding it. The Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad, which sounds healthy enough, weighs in with 1,360 calories.
They did have one item on their menu that was a nutritional nightmare which has since been removed. Probably due to the fact that the four main ingredients in the Blue Raspberry Fruit Blast were Sierra Mist soda, water, sugar, and corn syrup. Basically carbonated flavored sugar-water, water, sugar and really bad sugar.
16. Sit-down Chains
When the menus of 24 sit down chains were analyzed, they found that the average entree came in at 867 calories. Not including sides or appetizers. Nearly half your daily recommended intake. The average fast food entree comes in at 522 calories.
To read the full report click here.