Fat People Shouldn't Blame Restaurant Calorie Counts

olive garden salad calorie countsShock and dismay are sweeping the country's dieting population, thanks to new research from Tufts University that says some calorie counts in restaurants are waaay off. In the experiment, which included chain restaurants like Burger King, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Chuck E. Cheese, only 7 PERCENT of the 269 foods tested were within 10 calories of what the restaurants claimed! Outrageous, right? And almost 20 percent had at least 100 more calories than what the restaurant stated.

Although we should trust these restaurants to give us accurate info about nutrition, I'm personally not at all surprised in the least that the calorie counts are totally wonky.


Portion sizes vary from restaurant to restaurant, and sadly, I don't think most restaurants actually WANT to be honest about their nutritional data, because the truth would probably totally scare anyone who cares about their diet.

And if I've learned anything at all over the past 20-something years of learning and adopting healthy eating habits, it's that you just can't trust food made by someone else. Yeah, it's frustrating, because you want to think that by ordering that salad with seemingly healthy black beans, steamed veggies, and fresh salsa, you're getting a nutritious, balanced meal. But when it comes to watching your weight, dining out on a regular basis is dangerous. Plain and simple.

I'm not saying don't ever eat out, cuz man, that would be hypocritical. I LOVE eating out. But it's a treat! And this study is proof of something I realized long ago: You can't really know what you're getting nutrition-wise when food hasn't been bought and prepared by YOU.

What's more, I'm not sure people who frequently dine at the restaurants in this study could be all that successful keeping their weight down anyway! Are they really that surprised that their processed, mass produced junk food is costing them more calories than they thought? That their McD's dinner is full of crap (literally)? 

The best solution: Try to eat better, real, whole foods we cook and eat AT HOME. And don't give me that line about not having time to do that, you have to eat out because it's "more convenient." If that's how it's gonna be, then don't whine about your weight. There's another price you pay for that "convenience." And it's that your Outback Steakhouse dinner is costing you 500 more calories, 25 more grams of fat, and two more pants sizes to drop than you bargained for.

How do you feel about the fact that there are more calories in some restaurant food than the companies report?


Image via Karen H./Flickr

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