Thursday, March 22, 2007

Eating Out-The Restaurant Conspiracy

The new Quiznos commercial shows a Subway Sub next to a Quiznos Sub....and everyone agrees the Quiznos Sub is much better. What the commercial fails to mention is that the Quiznos Sub contains 5 times as many calories! Subway's 6 inch Sub is about 250 calories and the small Quiznos Sub is about 1250 calories. OK, it is better....but is it 1000 calories better?

I am seeing quite a few restaurants that fail to disclose their calorie counts: TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, etc. Seems like these places are actually hiding the nutritional information on most of their foods. At least McDonalds has the balls to be honest about 600 calorie burgers! TGIF has a Jack Daniels Cheese Burger that serves up 1750 calories!!! Super-Size Fries are lightweights (570) compared to Cheesy-Fries (3015). Love pasta? Olive Garden keeps most of their menu secret...why? Because Pasta Alfredo and 3 breadsticks is 2250 calories and their chicken salad is over 1000. Denny's does have their info online...Country Sausage Platter is 2100 calories and has 4 ounces of pure fat!

The harder people try to maintain or lose weight, the worse the options become for healthy dining! It is scary to think that McDonalds may be one of the healthiest menus available only surpassed by Subway (which is actually going out of their way to offer healthy foods.)

Since the 1950's we have been eating out more and more and as a group we are gaining weight. Now I see get our patronage these restaurants stuff their foods full of oils and calories and then refuse to talk about nutritional info!

Resturants defend their non-action by saying that low calorie items are available as well as splurge items but the problem with that is how are diners supposed to tell the difference? For many years I have ordered appetizers instead of full meals thinking that I was getting lower calories and now I find out that the meal STARTERS are over 2000 calories by themselves! As if that isn't bad enough similar entree's calorie count varies widely between different chains. At your typical Mexican restaurant, the two plate-sized (white) fl our tortillas stuffed with melted cheese and with sour cream and guacamole on the side can run you 900 calories but at On The Border a very similar meal hits a whopping 1860 calories.

Some of the “X-Treme Eating” options highlighted in the March issue of CSPI’s Nutrition Action Healthletter include:

• Ruby Tuesday’s “Colossal Burger.” Ruby Tuesday actually became the first big chain to put nutrition information on its menus. Unfortunately it scrapped that initiative, presumably because it meant the sale of fewer Colossal Burgers. With 1,940 calories and 141 grams of fat (more than two days’ worth!), one of these megaburgers is equivalent to about five McDonald’s Quarter Pounders.

• Uno Chicago Grill’s “Pizza Skins.” “We start with our famous deep dish crust, add mozzarella and red bliss mashed potatoes, and top it off with crispy bacon, cheddar, and sour cream,” says the menu. The menu doesn’t disclose that this fusion of pizza and potato skins—which is meant to precede a meal of pizza—packs 2,050 calories, 48 grams of saturated fat, and 3,140 milligrams of sodium (more than a day’s worth). “Even if you split it with two other people, it’s like eating dinner before your dinner even hits the table,” Jacobson said.

• Ruby Tuesday’s “Fresh Chicken & Broccoli Pasta.” Pity the poor diner who thinks this healthy sounding entrĂ©e is on the light side: Thanks to its Parmesan cream sauce and layer of melted cheese, the 2,060 calories and 128 grams of fat make it the equivalent of two 12-ounce sirloin steaks, two buttered baked potatoes, and two Caesar salads. (CSPI calls this dish “Angioplasta.”) At least Ruby Tuesday has the guts to give out menu information!
Eat at Ruby Tuesdays?? Try the Point Reyes Blue Cheese Chips as an appetizer, Alpine Swiss Burger, Fries with ranch dressing, fresh strawberries and ice cream for dessert. Split that between 2 people and serve with a glass of wine apiece. Even split in half it's 1750 calories EACH. Thats right 1 "meal" can be 3484 calories!

• Cheesecake Factory’s “Chris’ Outrageous Chocolate Cake.” There’s room enough on Cheesecake Factory’s sprawling menu for advertisements, but evidently no room for nutrition information. If one is undecided among brownie, pie, or cheesecake for dessert, this 1,380-calorie menu item helpfully provides all of the above. It’s the equivalent of eating two Quarter Pounders plus a large fries—for dessert.

Federal MEAL Acts were introduced in the U.S. House and Senate in the last Congress, but restaurants in New York have avoided the menu guidelines so far, stating, "It's is impossible to fit enough information on the menu to be useful to consumers." Nutritional front runner, Subway has taken the step toward menu labeling with little effort, new menus feature the calories counts of each item.

No comments: