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Dieting Bites

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC May 20, 2011

You Are What You Eat…

dieting sucks

Extreme Eating: Do you want some lard with that burger?
In some Chinese-American restaurants customers can choose a dish from column A and one from column B. These meals typically come with soup and an egg roll. The menu items below may lead customers to choose the road to heart attack, diabetes, stroke and/or obesity. They come with the proverbial over-sized salt shaker and a superabundance of fat.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet set a date for implementation of a new law which will require restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets to disclose calorie counts to customers, many chains’ websites already contain jaw-dropping nutritional facts.

Applebee’s New England fish and chips, as an example, packs almost an entire day’s calories in one fatty over-salted meal:
Calories: 1910
Fat: 137 grams, 12 grams saturated
Sodium: 1350
In addition to the high caloric content, this meal contains the fat equivalent of ¾ cup of mayonnaise and more than half a day’s sodium requirement.

Calorie Guidelines

Federal nutrition guidelines readily available on most packaged foods consider a typical daily diet to contain 2000 or 2500 calories, the lower figure usually for women and children and the higher for men.
Federal guidelines also recommend that those on a 2000 calorie diet, consume:
  • less than 65 grams of fat a day and less than 20 grams of saturated fat
  • less than 2400 milligrams of sodium
Those typically needing 2500 calories a day need consume:
  • less than 80 grams of fat and less than 25 grams saturated fat
  • less than 2400 milligrams of sodium

Do you consider a tuna fish sandwich a typical light lunch? Think again when it comes to Quizno’s tuna melt sub. It weighs in with:
Calories: 1520
Saturated fat: 21 grams
Sodium: 2020 milligrams
A healthier option would be to share it with a friend (or two) and have an apple for dessert if half a sub isn’t satisfying. Ordering a plain tuna sandwich on sliced bread without the cheese would also greatly reduce calorie, fat and sodium content.

Another head spinner is Outback Steakhouse’s full rack of baby back ribs served with Aussie fries:
Calories: 1956
Fat: 133 grams, 56 grams saturated
Sodium: 2741 milligrams

The total fat is comparable to eating nearly a stick and a half of butter!

Sadly these examples are not isolated instances. Restaurants have found salt and fat to be inexpensive ways to make food tastier. Diners keep returning for more.

In the search for new and different enticements, the food industry seems to make many dishes and foods more fattening over time. Fried chicken morphs into KFC’s Double Down sandwich by adding two slices of bacon and two slices of cheese. Creative chefs roll chocolate covered pretzels in M&M’s, nuts and toffee chips, adding calories and fat. Cheesecake becomes gluttonous with the addition of Reese’s peanut butter cups, fudge cake and caramel as in the Cheesecake Factory’s Reese’s peanut butter cheese cake.

Start Losing Weight, Today

woman at self looking in mirror
Choose your indulgences carefully and sparingly. Check restaurants’ websites ahead of time to select healthier options. Limit portions consumed. And find yourself en route to a healthier, slimmer you.

Sources:
Nutrition Chart, What's Cooking America
"Restaurants put obesity on the menu," Washington Post, 10.21.10, p.E1.


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