You may think that fried fish is just a touch healthier than fried chicken (all the omega-3s!), but it turns out that fish just might be the unhealthiest restaurant meal in America.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has performed yet another nutritional analysis of restaurant meals, this time looking at Long John Silver’s dishes, Pop Sci reports.
CSPI commissioned some tests of Long John Silver's Big Catch meal, finding not only "horrendous amounts of trans fat," but also more than a two days’ worth of sodium. Of course, this was all in their campaign to get the FDA to ban partially hydrogenated oils, a major source of trans fats in food. In a letter to the FDA, CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson points out that the Big Catch meal, with fried fish, onion rings, and hushpuppies, has 33 grams of trans fat (16 times as much as the American Heart Association recommendation), plus 3,700 milligrams of sodium, and 19 grams of saturated fat.
Furthermore, it turns out that Long John Silver's has been undervaluing how much trans fat and sodium is actually in their meals; the company claims that hushpuppies have 3 grams of trans fat, while CSPI tests found 3.7 grams. Long John Silver’s website claims that there are 7 grams of trans fat in onion rings, while CSPI found 19.5 grams. And while CSPI sued KFC in 2006 over its trans fat-heavy meals, a three-piece Extra Crispy combo chicken dinner had 15 grams of trans fat. That’s less than half the amount of trans fat found in the Big Catch meal.
Jacobson is urging the FDA to ban hydrogenated vegetable oil, hoping it will force restaurants to fry their foods in healthier options like canola oil. We’ve reached out to Long John Silver's for comment.