Restaurant Meal Named 'Worst in America'

Is this the worst restaurant meal in America?

Nutritionists have been telling us to eat more fish for years, but not all fish is prepared in a healthy way. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has revealed the worst restaurant meal in the United States to be Long John Silver's Big Catch.

On Tuesday, the consumer advocacy group tweeted:

The restaurant chain introduced the meal, which includes a piece of fried haddock, hush puppies, and onion rings, in late May for the bargain price of $4.99 writing in a press release, "The Big Catch is a premium menu item, with the classic taste that Long John Silver's is known for." While it may be a lot of food for a small amount of money, it's no great deal in terms of nutrition.

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According to the CSPI, which conducted its own lab tests, Big Catch contains 33 grams of trans fat, an additional 19 grams of saturated fat, and nearly 3,700 milligrams of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends that adults limit their consumption of trans fat to less than 2 grams a day and saturated fat to less than 16 grams per day. The latest recommendation for sodium is less than 1,500 milligrams per day. Trans fat and saturated fat are associated with higher bad cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease.

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"Long John Silver's Big Catch meal deserves to be buried 20,000 leagues under the sea," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson in a press release. "This company is taking perfectly healthy fish and entombing it in a thick crust of batter and partially hydrogenated oil. The result? A heart attack on a hook. Instead of the Big Catch, I'd call it America's Deadliest Catch."

Walter C. Willett, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health added, "It might have been defensible to use hydrogenated oil in the 1980s, before trans fat's harmfulness was discovered, but no longer."

Because Big Catch is a temporary menu item, Long John Silver's is not required to disclose its nutritional information. The CPSI estimates the meal contains 1,320 calories, roughly the same amount as in a McDonald's Big Mac, french fries, and milk shake combined.

The CSPI also asserts that Long John Silver's is telling a fish tale when it comes to the amount of haddock included in the meal. According to the restaurant, "It's the largest fish we have ever offered weighing in at 7-8 ounces of 100 percent premium Haddock caught in the icy waters of the North Atlantic." However, tests performed by the CSPI, reveal that that's a significant overstatement. "It turns out that when Long John Silver's says 7 to 8 ounces of 100 percent haddock, it's more like 60 percent haddock and 40 percent batter and grease," said Jacobson. "Nutrition aside, that's just plain piracy." The restaurant chain has not responded to Yahoo! Shine's request for comment.

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