May 29, 2008

Guilty Food: Restaurants Fudge the Truth

It appears that George Bush is not the only person in America not telling the truth. reports that independent testing by eight TV stations showed far more calories than advertised in many meals.

I have been advocating for quite a while for restaurants to display the calories of each meal. I didn't know I had to advocate for "truthful" calorie counting.

So it's very clear that restaurants realize if they actually presented the truth about the nutritional value of their food, we would not buy it. And everyday they come up with new ways to make sure you don't get that information, by fighting regulations and by shading the truth when they finally do present the information.

Eight TV stations owned by Scripps tested a small sample of diet menu dishes (one sample of 23 different items) from popular chain restaurants including Chili's, On the Border, Macaroni Grill, Applebee's and the Cheesecake Factory.

Reporters ordered off the low-calorie, low-fat menu. The food was then tested by lab technicians, who weighed each sample, extracted the fat and then figured out the calories in each meal.

Of the 23 items tested, 78 percent exceeded the fat limit listed on the menu and almost 69 percent of the samples went over the calorie count listed.

The guiltless grilled salmon at Chili's promises a dish that's 480 calories and 14 grams of fat. But the tests revealed the dish was actually 664 calories and 35 grams of fat. In fact, every "guiltless" item tested from Chili's contained more fat and calories than what was listed on the menu.

Chicken fajitas from On the Border Mexican Grill's "border smart" menu are listed as containing 570 calories and nine grams of fat. The serving tested weighed in at 654 calories and 26.5 grams of fat. And the dish came with a free "sample" of queso dip, salsa and chips that would add an additional 2,067 calories and 117 grams of fat.

The skinny chicken at the Macaroni Grill is supposed to be 500 calories and six grams of fat. Not bad at all, but if you eat the huge piece of bread they include, you get twice the calories and eight times the fat.

No comments: