Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Trying to figure out the fat puzzle can be a real pain. Transfat, unsaturated, good, bad, indifferent it can be confusing to figure out nutrition. It doesn't help that every time you look, someone is telling you what you should and shouldn't eat. One day you're told to eat butter, the next day margarine and then back again. I was under the impression for a long time that you should only eat the whites of eggs. As it turns out, now the studies show that almost all of the nutrition of an egg is in the yolk, and the cholesterol there is "good" cholesterol.  You can go nuts trying to figure it all out.  So, here are 3 very simple (maybe a bit oversimplified) rules about fat.

1)If it's a trans fat (look for "partially hydrogenated oil" on the label), then don't eat it. Period. This man made substance has been linked to a variety of health issues, in particular heart disease.

2)If it comes from the ocean or from open fields (fish, game, free-range animals, or plants), it's good for you. From tuna to avocado to nuts to venison, this is unsaturated fat—the heart-healthy stuff.

3)Everything else—dairy fat and most of the meat we encounter—won't hurt you in limited amounts. But there are healthier things to eat. Just don't overdo it.

The biggest problem is that the big food manufacturers start adding fats to food that should be good for us.

Here is a list from Eat this not That (click the link to check it out) that calls out 6 of the worst restaurant offenders in the U.S. Do you ever eat these or something similar?

#6. Ruby Tuesday Triple Prime Bacon Cheddar Burger 1,333 calories, 101g fat 1,892mg sodium
That's more sodium than I try to take in for an entire day!! And close to 75% of the calories!!
     New rule: The more syllables in a menu item's name, the more fat there's likely to be in the dish. Less than 3 percent of the beef produced in this country earns the USDA's "prime" rating, and that's not a bad thing. Prime beef, as it turns out, is the fattiest beef you can sink your teeth into. If you really want a burger, you're better off heading elsewhere. Not one of Ruby's has fewer than 700 calories. Go with the Plain Grilled Top Sirloin and earn all the beefy protein without the superfluous calories.

#5. Chili's flame Grilled Ribeye with broccoli and mashed potatoes 1,460 calories 106g gat(44g saturated) 3,700 mg sodium
For a healthy diet, the USDA recommends you cap your daily saturated fat intake at 20 grams. This meal more than doubles that, and it's only 12 ounces of meat. Sure, ribeye is a notoriously fatty cut, but it's primarily the bath of butter that pushes this steak's fat count to such unhealthy heights. Switch to the Guiltless Grill Classic Sirloin and save an astounding 1,090 calories.

#4. Chili's Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla 1,650 calories 107 g fat (39 g saturated) 3,450 mg sodium     Traditional Mexican food is big on seasoning and light on cheese, but with this quesadilla, Chili's takes a different approach. Trying to appease palates primed for indulgence, the restaurant layers on the fat in four ways: cheese, ranch, bacon, and sour cream. Go with the Margarita Grilled Chicken and you'll cut the overall fat content by more than 80 percent.

#3 IHOP Chicken and Spinach Salad 1,600 calories 118 g fat (32 g saturated) 2,340 mg sodium
     Chicken? Good. Spinach? Good. IHOP’s Chicken and Spinach Salad—downright deplorable. You'll need to i-hop for four hours to burn it off. This salad is exactly what makes restaurant food so questionable and potentially unhealthy. The name makes it sound like a paragon of nutritious eating, yet the numbers reveal it to be just the opposite. The chicken here is actually fried chicken, and the spinach is little more than a small bed for bacon and cheddar cheese. You could snarf down six pancake short stacks and still take in less fat. Save yourself the waistline damage and opt for the Simple & Fit Simply Chicken Sandwich instead.

#2. Applebee's New England Fish & Chips 1,930 calories, 138 g fat (24 g saturated) 3,180 mg sodium
     The American Heart Association recommends eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week. By doing so, you lower your risk of such chronic diseases as heart disease and cancer. But if you prepare fish by deep frying it in a tub of bubbling fat—like Applebee's does with this artery-clogging monstrosity—you reverse all those benefits. Opt for Applebee's Garlic Herb Salmon instead. It offers 109 fewer grams of fat, nearly two-thirds fewer calories, and a heap of flavor that will still leave you satiated.

#1. Cheesecake Factory Fettuccini Alfredo with Chicken 2,300 calories 103 g saturated fat 1,517 mg sodium.
     Cheesecake Factory prefers to keep its nutritional stats hidden, but a law in California forced it to reveal saturated fat. Total fat is still a mystery, but this meal breaks through the 100-gram ceiling on saturated fat alone! The culprits here are the oversized portion and the thick, fat-riddled alfredo sauce. The typical restaurant recipe for this sauce relies on some combination of cream, butter, oil, and cheese, and there's no reason to believe that Cheesecake's version strays from the norm. Unfortunately, the chain offers no single pasta dish with fewer than 1,100 calories, so keep yourself safe by sticking to the new Skinnylicious menu.

Well, there you have it. It is possible to eat at a restaurant and not totally blow your nutrition plan, but it takes a little knowledge.

Stay hungry my friends


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