| July 2
July 2 Calories: 1,320. Trans fats: 33 grams.
Sodium: 3,700 milligrams. All that pushed Long John Silver's
"Big Catch" fish platter to win the "Worst Restaurant Meal in
America" distinction Tuesday by a U.S. nutrition advocacy group.
The artery-clogging trans fat tally alone is "astonishing"
in the dish of fried fish, cornmeal hush puppies and onion
rings, according to the Center for Science in the Public
Interest. The American Heart Association's recommended limit is
less than 2 grams daily and trans fat has been banned by some
cities and states and abandoned by many U.S. food makers.
CSPI, a consumer-focused nonprofit group that promotes
healthier eating, wants the chain to stop using the unhealthy
oil and is urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to
revoke its approval of trans fat-containing partially
hydrogenated cooking oils that raise the risk of heart disease.
CSPI said it planned to pursue legal action if Long John
Silver's continues to use the unhealthy cooking oil.
"It's outrageous that Long John Silver's foods are still
loaded with artificial trans fat and that the FDA still permits
it in foods," Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department
at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a statement.
Representatives for the FDA and the Louisville,
Kentucky-based Long John Silver's did not immediately return
requests for comment.
Long John Silver's "Big Catch" meal also has 19 grams of
heart disease-promoting saturated fat and the high sodium
content promotes high blood pressure and stroke, CSPI said.
Trans fat is considered to be the most unhealthy dietary fat
because it increases "bad" LDL cholesterol and reduces "good"
HDL cholesterol. Trans fat occurs naturally in meat and milk,
but the majority makes its way into the American diet by way of
foods cooked with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006 began
requiring food makers to list trans fat on their product labels.
New York City, the state of California and other jurisdictions
also passed laws banning the use of trans fats in restaurants
and other food service establishments.
As a result, packaged food makers have largely eliminated
their use of trans fat and high-profile restaurant chains like
McDonald's Corp have switched to trans fat-free oils.
Typical adults are advised to consume no more than 20 grams
of saturated fat and 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.
CSPI also compiles an annual list of "food porn" to alert
consumers to menu items with eye-popping levels of calories,
saturated fat, sugar and/or sodium. The group has used such
"awards" to raise awareness about healthy eating.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Additional
reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Doina