David Zinczenko, author of "Eat This, Not That," shows some of the highest calorie restaurant burgers, salads and appetizers, and offers healthy alternatives.
By David Zinczenko
David Zinczenko is author of the all new Eat This, Not That! 2013– No Diet Weight Loss Solution -- which hits stores on Tuesday, September 18.
What new initiatives have come about as a result of the Eat This, Not That series?
When Eat This, Not That! first debuted in 2007, restaurants were reluctant to give us even basic nutrition information. But we kept pushing, and now restaurants are more transparent than ever. McDonald’s even just announced that it will soon feature nutrition information right on its menu. How’s that for progress?!
Any specific changes you can point to?
We can’t take all the credit, but after much Eat This, Not That! pressure, Subway reduced sodium by at least 15 percent on all menu items. Chain restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory (Skinnylicious), IHOP (Simple & Fit), and Applebee’s (Under 550) rolled out low-calorie menus for health-conscious consumers. And we even helped Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. create a line of burgers with under 500 calories.
So is it safe to go back in the restaurants, then?
A: Well, despite the progress, America’s restaurants still have a long way to go. There are still far too many high-calorie, high-fat foods being promoted as healthy, and many restaurants still sell single dishes with enough food to feed three people. Take a look at some of the worst foods in the country, courtesy of the new "Eat This, Not That! 2013".
Baja Fresh Enchilado Style Chicken Nacho Burrito
82 g fat (36 g saturated)
4,650 mg sodium
CALORIE EQUIVALENT: 15 Hostess Ho-Hos cakes!
Baja Fresh’s burritos are bad enough to begin with, and the “enchilado” option—630 calories’ worth of salsa and cheese melted on top—only makes it worse. This nacho burrito already suffers a double-hit of cheese, with a nacho sauce and additional Jack contained within its floury walls. Tortilla chips and creamy salsa sauce round out the list, for a burrito with as much saturated fat as an entire large Pepperoni and Mushroom pie from Pizza Hut. Switch to the tacos, which get their flavor from salsa, a judicious sprinkling of cheese, fresh veggies, and grilled meat.
SALT LICK: Research shows that sodium over-consumption can trigger an addictive response in your brain. Not only is that bad for your waistline, it’s also bad for your long-term health. Steer clear of The 8 Saltiest Foods in America.
Eat This Instead!
Baja Fresh Chicken Americano Soft Tacos (2)
20 g fat (9 g saturated)
1,180 mg sodium
IHOP Chicken & Spinach Salad
111 g fat (30 g saturated, 2 g trans)
2,400 mg sodium
CALORIE EQUIVALENT: 7 bowls of Easy Mac!
Believe it or not, this salad is an improved version of its former self. Unfortunately, removing 70 measly calories and 7 grams of fat just isn’t enough—especially considering that its trans fat content mysteriously quadrupled in the process. Thanks to its heaps of fried chicken, cheddar cheese, and bacon, this salad contains more calories, fat, AND sodium than the chain’s very worst burger and fries. Switching from this spinach salad to the BLT twice a week will save you 32 pounds’ worth of calories over the course of a year.
Eat This Instead!
IHOP 1/2 Double BLT Sandwich with fruit
28 g fat (6 g saturated, 0 g trans)
1,130 mg sodium
TIME CRUNCH! Want to get down to your goal weight in a hurry? Employ these high-impact swaps to Drop 1 Pound—Every Week!
Chilis Southern Smokehouse Bacon Burger
105 g fat (34 g saturated)
4,530 mg sodium
CALORIE EQUIVALENT: 12 Oscar Mayer Cheese Dogs!
This excessive burger is topped with cheese, bacon, fried onion straws, barbecue sauce, and mayo, and it packs as many calories as 7 McDonalds hamburgers! It also contains more sodium than anyone ought to consume over the course of two days. Build your own steak combo instead, like I have here—but select side dishes carefully. Cole slaw, for example, is more caloric than either the fries or loaded mashed potatoes. (Don’t believe shredded cabbage could be worse than deep-fried potatoes? Check out The 10 Worst “Healthy” Foods in America for more similarly deceptive dishes.)
Eat This Instead!
Chilis Custom Combinations Classic Sirloin with rice and broccoli
22 g fat (8 g saturated)
1,800 mg sodium
Outback Steakhouse Bloomin’ Onion
161 g fat (48 g saturated, 4 g trans)
4,102 mg sodium
CALORIE EQUIVALENT: 2 entire sacks of Funyuns!
A standard large onion is roughly 60 calories. That leaves us with 1,900 calories’ worth of oily, breaded crags and creamy sauce. If you share split this appetizer with three other people once a week, you’ll each be saddled with an additional 7 pounds by the end of the year—and that’s not even counting the calories supplied by your entrée! An appetizer can be a great weight loss tool. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to realize that your body is full, so the wait time you spend in between the starter and your entrée can help keep you from overeating. Order the grilled shrimp; the hit of protein will fill you up far more than the onion’s cheap oils.
Eat This Instead!
Outback Steakhouse Shrimp on the Barbie
20 g fat (5 g saturated)
589 mg sodium
More from Men's Health:
- The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution--Eat This, Not That 2013!
- The Best and Worst French Fries in America
- 5 Fatty Foods that Make You Skinny
- 11 Worst Burgers in America
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