General Diet Plans and Questions - SHOCKING FACTS about the HEALTHY MENU at leading RESTAURANTS!!!




joyfulloser
01-21-2011, 09:20 AM
Ever wonder how "healthy" the healthy menu items are from your favorite restaurants? Well...here's the skinny on a few of them. The following are 13 of the top rated HEALTHY menu items from the nation's largest food chains. While the calories may be low, I was SHOCKED to find out the OUTRAGEOUS sodium counts. What this leads me to believe (as always), is that quality herbs/spices in these foods are lacking (ergo, the need for excess sodium).

Yet another reason to eat at home!

Ok...here they go, from worse to best:

1. Chili's - Classic Sirloin Dinner: 370 cals. - 3,680mg sodium
2. Applebees - Grilled Shrimp & Island Rice: 360 cals. - 2,290mg sodium
3. Red Lobster - Garlic Grilled Jumbo Shrimp - 370 cals. - 2,160mg sodium
4. Longhorn Steakhouse - Red Rock Shrimp w/Asparagus & Salad: 320 cals. - 1,945mg sodium
5. Applebees - Asiago Peppercorn Salad - 390 cals. - 1,520mg sodium
6. Romano's Macaroni Grill - Pan-seared Snapper "Acqua Pazza" - 400 cals. - 1,420mg sodium
7. Olive Garden - Venetian Apricot Chicken - 380 cals. - 1,420mg sodium
8. Romano's Macaroni Grill - Jumbo Shrimp Rosemary Spiedini - 320 cals. - 1,380mg sodium
9. Romano's Macaroni Grill - Capellini Pomodoro - 490 cals. - 960mg sodium
10. Outback Steakhouse - Grilled Chicken on the Barbie & Veggies - 520 cals. - 677mg sodium
11. Bob Evans - Grilled Chicken Breast w/baked potato & brocolli - 386 cals. - 608mg sodium
12. Bob Evans - Potato Crusted Flouder w/Baked Potato & Brocolli - 415 cals - 527mg sodium
13. Bob Evans - Chicken, spinach & tomato pasta - 354 cals. - 439mg sodium

THE WINNER for overall low calorie/controlled sodium entrees are:

1st place - BOB EVANS
2nd place - OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE
3rd place - sorry...but there is no 3rd place winner, the others were deplorable in my honest opinion:^:


bitetoobreakkskin
01-21-2011, 09:24 AM
thanks for the info..its not really all that shocking to me though, i kinda figured the healthy stuff really isnt that healthy...like you said its best to stay home and eat-i feel like i cook better food anyway :)

Michou
01-21-2011, 09:36 AM
Not surprised at all, their goal is to make the food taste good not healthy and salt enhance flavor. The good thing for me I do not eat at any of those restaurants LOL


Kimberly2011
01-21-2011, 09:43 AM
OMG, that is INSANE! I think the restaurants should be REQUIRED to print that information on their menus...

ncuneo
01-21-2011, 10:15 AM
Yeah, I'm really not shocked at all. It just kinda is what it is and something we have to accept if we choose to eat out.

beerab
01-21-2011, 10:15 AM
I swear what is it with restaurants and salt. I am guessing these numbers are higher anyways because how many cooks add an EXTRA dash of salt here or there?

joyfulloser
01-21-2011, 10:43 AM
I swear what is it with restaurants and salt. I am guessing these numbers are higher anyways because how many cooks add an EXTRA dash of salt here or there?

GOOD POINT!!! They always have extra salt and pepper on the table...not to mention catsup, parmasian cheese (Olive Garden), etc. GROSSSSSSSSS!!!!!:mad:

nelie
01-21-2011, 01:54 PM
Maybe that is why I thought Bob Evans was gross the one time I went :)

I'm not surprised although I'm not concerned about sodium personally and accept that I'll be eating higher amounts of sodium when eating out. I am sure they define 'healthy' as lower calorie, not lower sodium.

Jesse Taylor
01-21-2011, 04:23 PM
Is that from one of Dave Z's articles? It looks very familiar.

Jesse Taylor
01-21-2011, 04:25 PM
I swear what is it with restaurants and salt. I am guessing these numbers are higher anyways because how many cooks add an EXTRA dash of salt here or there?

It's not salt, it's sodium. They need it in the foods to keep them fresh long enough to use them before spoilage sets in. Most restaurants buy their meat frozen and that immediately will up the sodium count. Sodium is not the same as the taste of salt.

Rated
01-21-2011, 04:30 PM
Yeah I am not really that surprise. I think when you eat out you have to accept that even the healthy options aren't that great. Whenever I go out I don't expect to be eating the same as at home because you can only control what you are eating if you know exactly is going into it.

joyfulloser
01-21-2011, 05:09 PM
Ya...sure, we all know when we eat out, we're NOT getting the finest of ingredients put into our food and also that it will probably be higher in sodium than normal...BUT...a big BUTT (lol) 3,680mgs in one steak dish???

Is there anyone else that finds this figure AMAZING? I honestly had NO IDEA that this amount of salt and better is incorporated into restaurant food. I'd hate to see what they put in the "not so healthy" menu!:p

callie999
01-21-2011, 05:26 PM
@Jesse: Table salt is sodium chloride. When nutrition data refer to "sodium content", they mean salt. Sodium by itself is a soft alkali metal that oxidizes quickly at room temperature and reacts explosively with water so uh...you wouldn't want to eat it. When an element is ionized (loses or gains electrons) and then reacts chemically with other ions, the chemical properties of the resulting molecule can be radically different than its constituent atoms. So, you can eat sodium chloride because the sodium ion (Na+) is essential to many biological functions, and behaves differently than elemental sodium. It's never too late for a chemistry lesson. :D

Also, as a scientist, I find no conclusive evidence that a few grams of salt is harmful to your body, even in cases where people have high blood pressure. Now, you don't want to eat a pound of it (the dose makes the poison), but dang you guys salt makes things taste good. If salt makes a less-tasty but nutritious food taste better, then the (perceived or real) harm of sodium is mitigated by the health benefits you reap from improved nutrition.

callie999
01-21-2011, 05:32 PM
Addendum: Salt does have a preservative quality, hence we have "cured meats" and such that sailors would take on long voyages before refrigeration was possible. I like to eat my food preserved rather than spoiled, so add that to the list of "in defense of salt". ;)

Jesse Taylor
01-21-2011, 06:05 PM
@Jesse: Table salt is sodium chloride. When nutrition data refer to "sodium content", they mean salt.

Science too much for me. :lol: I basically meant that restaurants weren't adding salt that it was how the meat came before they even got ahold of it (in reference to the "pinch of salt" comment). This comes from going to culinary school where sodium was sodium and salt water preservatives were "sodium".

joyfulloser
01-21-2011, 06:17 PM
Now, you don't want to eat a pound of it (the dose makes the poison), but dang you guys salt makes things taste good.

My point EXACTLY...there's an ENORMOUS amount of salt in these otherwise healthy meals...just think people should know.:rolleyes:

Salt "enhances" food, but doesn't really "change" the taste of food. Fresh Herbs, spices, and the natural taste of certain foods (such as a sweet potato)...that's what effects the actual "taste" of food. No scientist, but foodologist here!:D

If salt makes a less-tasty but nutritious food taste better, then the (perceived or real) harm of sodium is mitigated by the health benefits you reap from improved nutrition.

This ^^ is the equivalent of sayin "if it feels good...do it". Doesn't make it good for you...and certainly says nothing of quality. I like to taste REAL flavor in my food as a self proclaimed foodologist!

RoseRodent
01-22-2011, 10:50 AM
I have never thought salt made things taste good, and frequently find I can't eat things because they are too salty. The manufacturers always defend it by saying that it's what "the public demands" but first up, they didn't ask me and they didn't ask anyone I know, so I wonder quite how representative their sample is. If they ask people who eat in their restaurants of course they get that opinion, they need to factor in the opinions of everyone who didn't come back too!

There was a while that a fast food outlet was doing a "health" thing and putting Lo-salt on everything instead of salt. It was still just as inedibly salty and my friend couldn't have anything at all because she can't eat Lo-salt due to kidney problems. Good thing that didn't last very long.

But it annoys me because never mind any health implication which may or may not really exist, it tastes gross, and it's an awful lot easier for someone who likes salt to shake it on at the table than for someone who dislikes it to chemically extract it out of a prepared meal! Wish they'd leave people to flavour their own meals. I buy low sodium soups and my husband buys the normal sort and adds salt at the table, so clearly they could just sell everyone low sodium and people who find it too low could just shake on twice as much.

Always interested to see how many people say salt makes food taste good, cos to me it makes it taste like salt! I'd rather have beef that tastes like beef. I add herbs, spices, garlic, vinegar, all sorts of things to food, but never, never salt. Gross. For me salt is an evil I cannot escape from, and I have to eat it sometimes because it's already in the food. Why can't they just let people add it to taste from a table shaker?

Nola Celeste
01-22-2011, 03:01 PM
Adding salt to food as it's cooking results in a different taste than adding salt at the table from a shaker. If you've ever had grits cooked with no salt at all, trust me--you canNOT add enough salt to them to make them edible. And I'm saying this as a person who almost never picks up the shaker (my husband salts his whole plate every meal I cook, without fail), so I'm no saltaholic.

Some of those sodium figures do seem big, but it's not really surprising to me either. If something's taken away from food, restaurant chains and food manufacturers will look for the cheapest palatable substitute. That's why "low-fat" foods generally contain more sugar and salt and why "no sugar added" foods have extra fat and gobs of artificial sweeteners. That fat/sugar/salt triumvirate is what makes taste buds go ape, so removing any one of the three makes chains toss in more of the other two.

Those are chain restaurants, though, so it's kinda like expecting to find a Chanel purse at Wal-Mart. Don't get me wrong, I used to like the occasional chain restaurant meal and am a big fan of restaurants in general, but haute cuisine they aren't. ;)

joyfulloser
01-22-2011, 03:15 PM
APPLEBEE - Regular Menu
Appetizer Sampler - cals: 2410-2590 - sodium: 5620 - 6830

I don't think most people expect to get this amount of sodium in an appetizer...just sayin!;) Sure Applebee's is certainly no "5-star" dining establishment, but SHEEEESH...that is just ridiculous!:o

I really don't think they NEED to have this much sodium added for flavor...but they use salt to mask the poor quality of ingredients used.

rachael
01-22-2011, 10:57 PM
The RDA for sodium is 2400mg, so 500mg doesn't seem bad at all to me for a meal. And I know that eating out is going to increase my sodium intake, so unless I am eating out all the time, I can take that into account. I do notice water gain when I have a high sodium day, but I don't eat out a lot, nor do I use a lot od salt in my food.

I agree with whoever said that adding it after cooking is not the same. I think low sodium soup tastes foul and adding salt doesn't fix that. However, I stopped eating string cheese because it all seemed super salty to me and I drink low sodium v8 because I prefer the taste.

nelie
01-23-2011, 09:46 AM
Funny, I've made myself grits before with no salt. I thought they tasted good. Maybe I'm strange :)

Once you eliminate salt from your diet, you become sensitive to it in that even a little salt makes a huge difference.

I eliminated salt from my diet a couple years ago but had to eventually add it back in because my blood pressure got too low and I'd get dizzy spells.

callie999
01-27-2011, 11:21 PM
This ^^ is the equivalent of sayin "if it feels good...do it". Doesn't make it good for you...and certainly says nothing of quality. I like to taste REAL flavor in my food as a self proclaimed foodologist!

Actually, it's a restatement of "if the benefits outweigh the risks, it is logical to proceed". One of the benefits of added salt is it feeling/tasting good, another is improved nutrition. The risks MAY be present, but there is weak scientific evidence of this.

There are also significant merits to the statement of a "if it feels good, do it" lifestyle. If you drink a lot of alcohol and enjoy the feeling of lacking inhibition, but you spend the next two days praying to the porcelain god, then I would characterize this activity as "not feeling good". Just the same, it may feel really good temporarily to eat xyz but if you experience intestinal distress, maybe it's not worth it to you. Plenty of people smoke because it has a calming effect or they don't want to experience withdrawals. Based on the proven serious health risks of smoking, I don't choose to do so, but it's my call because I have free will.

I'm saying that it's fine to have things that taste or feel good if, based on your personal experience, the mental and physical benefits of those things are more important to you than the associated dangers.

But, even with that said, you don't have to! If added salt or specific quantities in a dish cause you emotional distress, forget it! If you don't like the taste of salt, it's not a benefit! If you oppose certain amounts in certain foods at the grocery store or restaurants, vote with your wallet! ;)