Restaurants Seriously Underestimating Calorie Counts for Meals

Recently it has been reported that over 20% of nationwide restaurants are misguiding health-conscious diners with their calorie counts on menus and the restaurants website. According to CNN, 1 out of 5 restaurant calorie counts are wrong. So wrong, in fact, that restaurants are hiding up to 500-1000 calories from their nutrition menus.

An analysis of a side salad at a well known restaurant contained 659 more calories than listed on their website, according to research performed by nutrition researchers at Tuft University. For just a salad! Chips and salsa at another popular restaurant (just chips and salsa mind you), contained 1,000 more calories than stated on the nutrition information on their website.

Why does this happen? Mainly because the calorie counts on restaurant menus and websites are an average. The one preparing the food for the customers can use more or less of an ingredient if the food is made from scratch in the kitchen, making calories a bit off from the average caloric guess.

Calories Aren’t Everything

It’s true that calories are not everything when gaining or losing weight (fat). It is important to discover where these calories are coming from first. You can eat the same amount of calories from celery as you would from a piece of a sugary chocolate dessert, yet still wind up with less chance of extreme weight gain. Why is this? Because the calories from the celery are anti-inflammatory, contain no sugar to bump your insulin (and then your fat storage) and contain fiber to help cleanse your system.

However—over consumption of calories can lead to negative health effects. It is theorized that lowering calories overall can increase lifespan in humans while increasing the quality of life, as well. I suspect that this is mainly due to less insulin circulating in the blood stream. Insulin is secreted after consuming carbohydrates and protein, so lowering these two macronutrients will lower calories, thus lowering insulin (which is responsible for inflammation and fat storage).

The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Health…

Is to not eat at restaurants. This may be a bit extreme for some people, especially individuals who have family members or friends that eat out regularly. If this is the case, suggest a social function where food isn’t the main thing bringing everyone together. Or, offer to cook a meal (from scratch) that everyone can enjoy. I like this better, as I can’t stand crowded restaurants and not being able to see my food while it is being prepared.

Skipping restaurants, and only going every now and then, can save up to 10-15 pounds of weight a year. Again, this is mainly due to the decreased consumption of carbohydrates (which are loaded in restaurant foods), as well as processed, damaged fats (like trans-fats or vegetable oils).

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This has been The Healthy Advocate.

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