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Despite Efforts, Studies Show It’s Almost Impossible to Eat Healthy at Chain Restaurants

If you’re eating out tonight, your chances of finding an entree that’s truly healthy are painfully low,” says Helen Wu, an overseer of the 18-month study conducted by the Rand Corp. and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In one of the most “duh” and depressing findings of the day, it looks like 96% of main entrees sold at top U.S. chain eateries exceed daily limits for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

To be frank, I know eating out isn’t the best for my health, but I wasn’t aware it was this collectively piss poor.

The study examined the nutritional content of 30,923 menu items from 245 restaurant brands across America. The results indicated that there’s a better than nine-in-10 chance that your entree will fail to meet federal nutrition recommendations for both adults and kids.

It’s not to say the restaurant industry is turning a blind eye to the situation. There are a handful of restaurants that have been putting forth effort to add more healthful items on menus and highlighting options for particular health lifestyles.

Vice President of food policy at the National Restaurant Association, Joan McFlockton, states that the restaurant industry is “employing a wide range” of healthier-living strategies.

Not sure how well it’s doing industry wide, though. Wu notes that the industry-supported “Healthy Dining” seal of approval remains too generous on sodium, allowing up to 2,000 milligrams of it for one main entree, when the USDA daily recommended limit for most adults is 2,300 milligrams.

Should chain restaurants be more responsible for curating healthier menus? How hard is it for you to eat healthy when eating out? Do you even care to eat healthy when dining out, or should restaurants focus on creating whatever tastes best, not curb their menu creative to a healthy lifestyle?

[Via USA Today]

By Elie Ayrouth

Elie is a product of Orange County, CA. In early 2012, his dentist diagnosed him with 8 different cavities, three of which on the same tooth, as a result of his 23-year Sour Patch Kid addiction.

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