Have you noticed a difference in food portion sizes when you go to a chain restaurant? Yeah, me either. Granted, lots of menus now have a healthier section or marked indications of a few choices that won’t cause your body a whole lot of grief, but for the most part, chain restaurants are still serving enormous portions.
According to a survey conducted by the RAND Corporation, 96 percent of chain restaurants in America are still serving dishes that are in excess of the USDA recommendations for daily intake of sodium and fat. Crazy, right? But with meals like Cheesecake Factory’s Chicken & Biscuits, it’s pretty easy to see how many foods out there can pack a serious punch to your diet. This one alone contains 2,580 calories, 68 grams of saturated fat and 2,621 mg of sodium. For perspective, you should typically eat up to 20 grams of saturated fat a day and have 2,4000 mg of sodium. And that’s not even the worst dish on the menu — their Bistro Shrimp Pasta contains even worse numbers.
Granted, a lot of people have become more health conscious (obviously, Blisstree would not exist if that wasn’t the case), so the fact that this many restaurants are still going over-the-top with their unhealthiness is a bit surprising. One-third of people questioned in a survey stated their willingness to have portion sizes reduced if smaller plates were offered at restaurants, so clearly, a great deal of the country has a desire to change the way food is served. Additionally, research has given evidence that people are responding positively to restaurants showing the calorie counts for meals on their menus.
Having information is clearly valuable to people in regards to food options, but that’s not the only way restaurants can help consumers make healthier choices. Hopefully more chains will begin offering smaller portions, but considering places like Cheesecake Factory are still booming with dishes that have thousands of calories, I won’t hold my breath.
Photo: juliam1111 / Flickr