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Blog: Watchdog pinpoints 'worst restaurant meal in America'

8:57 PM, Jul 2, 2013   |    comments
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Just when you thought you had heard it all, another consumer group comes out with what they say is a the "worst restaurant meal in America" when it comes to fat and salt.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest said Long John Silver's "Big Catch" contains two weeks worth of transfat in one meal. Yep, 33 grams for the meal, when the American Heart Association says 2 grams is recommended.

Yikes. Double yikes.

USA Today reports that the meal of deep-fried haddock fillet with onion rings and hush puppies and the Center says all of it comes from partially hydrogenated frying oil.

And, in a move that may not sit well with the residents of the other 49 states, the Center said there's less transfat in meals in California, where regulations limit it to a half gram per serving, so they fry the meal in canola oil there.

As if you don't feel bad enough already, the Center says the Big Catch in the other 49 states contains 19 grams of saturated fat, almost 3,700 milligrams of sodium and 1,320 calories.

And you thought the Burger King Whopper had a lot of calories. Yikes. Ditto for the McDonald's French fries or the Big Mac. And pizza? If you like your pizzas big and hot, you might be on to something, caloriewise that is.

But wait, there's more.

The Center said Long John Silver's also "greatly overstates the amount of actual fish in the Big Catch meal, and greatly understates the amounts of trans fat and sodium in the side orders."

The Center says LSG says the fish weighs 7 to 8 ounces but that it's really more like 60 percent haddock and 40 percent batter and grease.

To be fair, in its defense, LSG told the Center, saying the Big Catch is not like its regular menu and is "...a limited time only special that delivers tremendous value to value hungry consumers" and "can be paired with a variety of side items including corn, green beans, rice, cole slaw, fries, onion rings and hush puppies."

Hey, if I was ordering, I'd order the onion rings and the hush puppies, two of my favorite things in the world. But I digress.

Ok, so the Center decided to play hard ball and notified the Food and Drug Administration of its findings and would sue the chain over its use of partially hydrogenated oil and for its portion and nutritional claims.

LSG said it stands behind its "...published food data and will review any requests from CSPI that raise questions about our data."

I guess that's a good thing, as long as they don't stand behind any of their regular customers in line if they are buying the Big Catch every day. They might not be able to see past them.

Yeah, I know, that was a cheap shot but, seriously, I admit I don't eat as healthy as I should and eat "fast food" about twice a month. 

The good news is that the promotion only runs through the end of July.

So, if you are looking for a way to celebrate the Fourth of July, don't let those sparklers get too close to a Big Catch meal or the Big Catch may catch fire from all the oil.

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