Really fattening restaurant food
Of course I knew that my favorite guilty-pleasure food, the Five Guys cheeseburger, wasn't exactly health food.
But thanks to a new list of extremely fattening restaurant foods released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, I have to face facts: Five Guys delivers one big wallop of fat and calories.
Here's CSPI's assessment of Five Guys:
It's a meat-and-potatoes place...the kind of retro joint where you can quickly pack in a pile of calories from meat, cheese, white flour, white potatoes, oil, and sugar. Take the Five Guys Hamburger. Its 700 calories (with no toppings) makes a Big Mac (540 calories) or a Quarter Pounder (410 calories) look like kids food. And the McDonald's numbers include the burgers' fixin's. A Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger has 920 calories and 30 grams of saturated fat (1½ days' worth) without toppings. Think two Quarter Pounders.
And how many Five Guys patrons eat a burger without fries or a drink? Add 620 calories for the regular fries or 1,460 calories for a large. (The large is as big as three large orders of fries at McDonald's.) Now your lunch of an unadorned Bacon Cheeseburger and large fries is up to 2,380 calories. Add 100 calories for every plop of mayo on your burger, another 300 for a large (32 oz.) Coke, and 300 more for every free refill.
Here are some other choice tidbits from a CSPI press release:
California Pizza Kitchen Tostada Pizza with Grilled Steak. With 1,680 calories,1½ day's worth (32 grams) of saturated fat, and more than 2 day's worth (3,300 mg) of sodium, ordering the single-serve pizza is like eating a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizza topped with six Taco Bell Crunchy beef Tacos.
P.F. Chang's Double Pan-Fried Noodles Combo. You could eat 10 egg rolls and not top the 1,820 calories in this dish. "They fry these noodles to make them hard and crunchy, while you end up soft and flabby," says CSPI nutrition director Bonnie Liebman. If this noodle dish does indeed have the 7,690 milligrams of sodium to which the chain confesses, that would be about three teaspoons of salt--a five-day supply.
The Cheesecake Factory Pasta Carbonara with Chicken. When CSPI first dubbed fettuccine Alfredo a "heart attack on a plate," it was because CSPI's lab tests found it had 1,500 calories and 48 grams of saturated fat. But, according to the company, this dish--with four cups of white-flour pasta, smoked bacon, chicken, and Parmesan cream and butter sauce--has 2,500 calories and more saturated fat (85 grams) than one should consume in four days. It's like eating the chain's onion-ring-topped Grilled Rib-Eye Steak with French Fries, and a slice of Tiramisu Cheesecake.
The Cheesecake Factory Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake. A tower of any food is rarely a good idea. This six-inch-long, three-quarter-pound slab of cake has 1,670 calories and two-and-a-half days' worth (48 grams) of artery-clogging saturated fat. Feel like eating 14 Hostess Ho Hos for dessert?
I have to admit that, even armed with the facts, I'm not inclined to swear off Five Guys forever. I just intend to savor every delicious mouthful on the rare occasions when I indulge. And I may have to make those occasions even more rare.
Is one of your favorite restaurant foods on the CSPI list? Does that change your feelings about eating their food?
Jennifer LaRue Huget
May 27, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Me Minus 10 , Nutrition and Fitness , Obesity
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