From Our 2010 Archives
Group Warns of 'Extreme' Restaurant Meals
Calories, Fat, and Sodium in Some Restaurant Meals Exceed Healthy Daily Limits
By Todd Zwillich
Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD
May 25, 2010 -- The latest list of terrible-for-you restaurant food is out, with consumer groups accusing big national chains of packing huge amounts of calories onto unsuspecting diners.
"Compared to some of the foods we're seeing in restaurants now, the Big Mac seems downright dainty," says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
The group took aim at half a dozen meals served at popular restaurant chains, noting that many contain far more calories, fat, trans fat, sodium, or sugar in one serving that most adults are supposed to get in a single day. While the recently signed health reform law requires chain restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts in their menus and on menu boards starting in 2011, Jacobson says restaurants should improve labeling now.
The CSPI highlighted the several items and urged consumers to beware of their big calorie counts. Dietary guidelines suggest most U.S. adults limit their daily intake to about 2,000 calories.
The National Restaurant Association says the CSPI's report "paints a distorted picture of restaurants based on a single menu item."
"Certainly there are indulgent items on menus, but there are more diet-conscious items on menus than ever before, and our customers know it," Michael Donohue, the organization's chief spokesman, says in a statement.
Donohue says restaurants support the new food labeling standards for chains set to take effect in 2011.
SOURCES: Center for Science in the Public Interest: "2010 Xreme Eating Awards."