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Article - The fat test: "What's the skinny on diet menus?"

I found this on another popular site and thought I'd post it. It's a cut and paste job. Boy, was I shocked/surprised/outraged! Darn Taco Bell! I eat those Fresco Taco's at least once a week!

Reported by: Anne Yeager
The fat test: What’s the skinny on diet menus?

We run, we sweat, we count every calorie, and still the pounds don't come off and now the ABC15 investigators found one reason why.

We went undercover inside some of the Valley's most popular restaurants and put their diet menus under the microscope.

Working with our sister televisions stations in seven cities across the country, we bought food off the low-cal, low-fat menus.

With hidden cameras, we went to each restaurant and ordered our dieters delight.

But instead of eating it, we tested it.

Following our lab’s instructions, we put the food in Ziploc bags and labeled them.

Then we shipped it overnight to Analytical Laboratories in Boise, Idaho.
Lab technicians unpacked, logged and weighed each sample.

First they extracted the fat.

Then after a bit more chemistry, they figured out the calories in each meal.

Out of the 23 items we tested, 78% were over the fat limit and almost 69% were over the calorie limit they promise.

The Guiltless Grill Salmon at Chili’s promises you a dish that's 480 calories at 14 grams of fat.

But our test reveals, they are guilty of 664 calories at 35 grams of fat.

In fact, every Guiltless item we tested from Chili’s was guilty of higher fat and calories.

Chrissy Barth is a clinical dietitian. She was shocked with our results. “I have clients who order off the guiltless menus and many of them are not losing weight. This could explain why.”

Next, we went to On the Border Mexican Grill where we order the Grilled Fajita Chicken Tacos off their 'Border Smart' menu.

It's supposed to be 570 calories and nine grams of fat.

Our serving had 654 calories and 26.5 grams of fat.

Throw in that “sample” of queso dip, salsa and chips that they threw in and you’re eating an additional 2,067 calories and 117 grams of fat.

At the Macaroni Grill we ordered the Pollo Magro Skinny Chicken.

It’s supposed to be 500 calories and six grams of fat.

But with that huge piece of bread they tossed in our results showed twice the calories and eight times the fat in this Skinny Chicken.

Brinker International owns these three restaurants.

In their statement, they apologized to their valued guests and they "strive to ensure nutritional information... is accurate."

At Taco Bell, the menu shows the Fresco tacos and burritos are low in fat and calories but the ones we tested were above the amount of calories listed.

Our servings had fat in amounts that were double even triple what it's supposed to be.

Taco Bell responded stating, "We go to great lengths to provide... truthful nutritional information."

However, federal guidelines allow them to be off by-20 percent.

At Applebee’s, we ordered seven meals low in fat and calories from their famous Weight Watchers' menu.

The calorie difference was slight, but the fat was over on every item we tested doubling and even tripling in three of the meals.

Applebee's responded that their menu is “94-percent compliant” and that they will continue to regularly test their Weight Watchers items and if required, take action.

Last but not least is The Cheesecake Factory where they have Weight Management salads all under 590 calories.

All four salads we ordered were close, but the fat totals were all high topping out at 49.7 grams.

The Cheesecake Factory doesn't list the fat content on their menu so when we spoke with them they responded that their menu was correct and if you wanted you could get your dressing on the side.

If that's not enough to tip the scales, they gave us bread and butter with our meal.

This packs on a whopping extra 1428 calories and 65 grams of fat which, according to our dietitian, is enough for the whole day.

So what's a dieter to do?

Barth says, “Focus on how much is on your plate. When people go out they need to check portions and not be as trusting as what the menu says.”

Re: Article - The fat test: "What's the skinny on diet menus?"


Re: Article - The fat test: "What's the skinny on diet menus?"

Well, this sure throws a monkey wrench in our plans!

Re: Article - The fat test: "What's the skinny on diet menus?"

I must admit, I eat out a lot--b/c I work 2 jobs and I'm running all over the place. I try to pick salads, Wendy's Chili,subway, fresco taco's--still eat out, but what what I'm eating. When you trust that a place like Applebees offers WW items, you trust that the dish will be the points stated--not double/triple. This article made me "hoppin mad" I tell ya! So, in light of this information, I will still have to be extremely careful when choosing what goes into my mouth; even more so than usual.

Re: Article - The fat test: "What's the skinny on diet menus?"

This doesn't really surprise me too much. I mean when you think about it, the person preparing the food is more than likely just "eyeballing" the ingredient portions, and probably earning minimum wage and really just doesn't care.

I always figure in a few extra points when eating out...and then try to figure ways to "recreate" the same items at home...I make a pretty mean Southwest Salad w/grilled chicken!