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Old 12-06-2011, 01:48 PM   #1
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Default How do they fit so many calories in restaurant food?

This might seem like an odd question, but I've been noticing something. Even when I'm cooking things with heavy cream, butter, cheese, pasta etc.... it never seems to have nearly as many calories as the restaurant version does. I measure out and total things pretty carefully, and usually come in at less than half of what the restaurant version does, even for a pretty large portion.

Even for similar portions it seems like they're somehow fitting an insane number of calories in. Where is it all hiding?

If nothing else, this definitely solidifies my determination that if I have a craving for restaurant food, I'll make my own version at home. Even if it's high calorie, it's almost guaranteed to still be way better than the restaurant version!
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:55 PM   #2
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I'm always wondering this too. Because, like you said, even when I make the full-fledged version at home, I don't substitute anything, it still comes out way better calorie-wise than the restaurant's. I'd love to hear if anyone knows how they manage this.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:57 PM   #3
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I think a lot of restaurants use oil and butter with wild abandon. They put an extra glug into sauces, they sprinkle it on breads and pizzas, salad dressings are 2/3 or more oil... they coat meat with it before and after cooking... fat gives food that really nice mouth-feel and a sense of richness. And it's cheap.

And don't get me started on the salt content of restaurant food!

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Old 12-06-2011, 02:00 PM   #4
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And enormous portions.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:20 PM   #5
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Definitely oil, butter, sugar, starch...

Sauces and glazes and packed with calories.

If you're getting a burger at a restaurant...the buns are probably bigger and more bready than you'd usually use. They've also been grilled in butter and salt. The burger has tons of oils and grease, and there's probably some kind of mayo based sauce on it. That reeeealllly adds up.

I think that a bunch of calories come from the actual cooking process, and that everything is supersized when you eat out. More than any one person needs to eat in one sitting.

Other than that...I think that the evil calorie fairies sneak up and stick extra calories into it.

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Old 12-06-2011, 02:34 PM   #6
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omg i wonder the same! hahaha its definitely the calorie fairy.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:39 PM   #7
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I saw a show on TV, famous chefs making their most famous dishes.
This one guy was showing how he makes mashed potatoes, and after adding butter at several points in the preparation, he put a huge chunk of butter on top to melt down the food and let it "glisten". I swear, that triple sized portion was about 1/3rd potato and 2/3rds butter. Gross...
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:40 PM   #8
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Oils, butter, sugar, creams, starch, grease and cheese, condiments like mayo, ketchup X 3
And the massive portion sizes are also to blame.
They put all this stuff in one dish, and lots and lots of it! Calories in those foods at up rather quickly.

Although it is simply amazing how they make even a "healthy salad" into being just as bad or worse then a cheese burger.

Last edited by Mimzzy; 12-06-2011 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:42 PM   #9
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They don't weigh and measure carefully either. And they use oil and butter and stuff where you probably wouldn't at home and they use huge quantities of it.
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:24 AM   #10
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I think that extra stuff is what makes it addictive too...McDonalds is like freaking crack.

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Old 12-07-2011, 03:26 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ArtyKay View Post
I think that extra stuff is what makes it addictive too...McDonalds is like freaking crack.


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Old 12-07-2011, 11:52 AM   #12
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If you're interested in the truly gory details of how it's done, read David Kessler's "The End of Overeating." He interviews food scientists, flavorists, restaurant chefs, and biologists, and explains the formulas of fat-on-salt-on-sugar that makes this stuff so incredibly hard to stop eating. It'll change the way you look at food!
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:26 PM   #13
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OK, I used to work as a cook in restaurants and ya, it's the ... FAT, FAT, FAT!!!

#1 offender is the oil & lard & shortening & globs of butter
#2 offender is the sugar
#3 offender is salt & spices

You don't want to know this but, not only do they add cups of fat to the burger mix; and muffin & cake mixes, etc. -- but they cook (as in fry) most of your foods in fat too. Huh, huh ... ya, they do!

I was shocked. Fry my chicken hot dog in vats of Fat -- yeah baby, they do! They add at least 1 cup oil to the hamburger pattie mix, and that's only a small batch. They use oil instead of milk or liquids in muffins & cakes and other baked goodies becuz milk spoils too easily.

They also add extra SUGAR to make the foods taste better; so you'll like them more ...

Then, they pour (and I mean pour) on the salt; so you will want to eat more of those addictive fries ...

And, the more spices along with the salt, the more you'll want to eat ...

Oh ya, BARGOO's right too: on top of all that, they give you gigantic portions ...

EDIT TO ADD: dah! The salt & spices are added ALONG WITH the sugar and fat so you will want to eat those gigantic portions ...
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:55 PM   #14
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Salt and spice don't have calories...

But you're right on the sugar and fat. Buns and breads are loaded with sugar...and even things that appear healthy, like a grilled chicken breast have actually had oil injected into the meat and then added to the outside and then sugar and fat in the sauces.

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Old 12-08-2011, 10:00 AM   #15
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With Indian restaurants and similar, they add more oil because Indian food needs to be stirred a lot to prevent burning, and adding more oil means that the chef can spend less time stirring.

All of this is making me very nervous, because right now I have gallstones which can be set off by eating too much fat, and if I get my gall bladder out then I won't be able to digest large amounts of fat either. Are there any kinds of restaurants which are better for this sort of thing? Japanese, perhaps, if you avoid obvious problems such as tempura? We're very fond of a local Italian restaurant which is fairly high quality.

Last edited by Esofia; 12-08-2011 at 10:01 AM.
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