retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is out with its list of some of the unhealthiest meals being served by the nation’s restaurants, including:

• Five Guys: “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. Five Guys may be a hip place to go for a burger, fries, and a Coke. But it’s no friend to your hips.”

• The Cheesecake Factory: “A Cheesecake Factory Grilled Rib-Eye Steak with French fries and onion rings plus a slice of Tiramisu Cheesecake would set you back roughly 2,500 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat. A serving of Pasta Carbonara with Chicken has 2,500 calories and 85 grams of sat fat (more than a four-day supply). If you fail to soak up every drop of the cream sauce with your complimentary bread, you may end up with only, say, three days’ worth of sat fat coating your four cups of white-flour pasta. Ready for dessert?”

• P.F. Chang: “To make the chain’s Double Pan-Fried Noodles Combo, Chang’s chefs fry the lo mein noodles enough to make them hard and crunchy...while you end up soft and flabby.

“It’s always possible that you’re stopping at Chang’s before starting a 3-hour bicycle ride or 4½-hour hike. But on the off chance that you’re not going to burn off the dish’s 1,820 calories after dinner, you’re going to need some place to store them. How does your belly sound?

“Speaking of excess, the Double Pan-Fried Noodles Combo delivers an off-the charts 7,690 milligrams of sodium. That’s 3 teaspoons of salt—a five-day supply, and double the outrageous levels in Chang’s lo meins.”

• Chevy’s: “Yes, there’s some crab and shrimp buried in the chain’s Crab & Shrimp Quesadilla. But you mostly get Frisbee-size white-flour tortillas stuffed with cheese and cream sauce and topped with guacamole and sour cream. They look so innocent, but the platter packs 1,790 calories and 63 grams of saturated fat plus 3,440 mg of sodium. Ay caramba!

“Those numbers make the Crab & Shrimp Quesadilla more damaging than any other Chevys quesadilla, including the Fresh Mex pork Carnitas & 3-cheese (1,650 calories and 48 grams of sat fat).”
KC's View:
I can’t go on. It is all just too disgusting.

Now, don’t get outraged on me.

I’m not looking for regulation. Restaurants should be able to sell what they want, and people should be able to order and eat what they want.

But how many people are ordering this stuff with no idea of what they are putting in their bodies? I’m not saying we should create universal paranoia about food, nor that that there is no place for indulgence. Far from it.