A few months ago, the consumer advocacy group for food safety and nutrition, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) published their annual report of some of the worst bad-for-your-health meals ever offered at restaurants.

"These meals are extreme [most exceed 2000 calories], but even the typical dishes served at restaurants are a threat to Americans' health because they increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more," said Lindsay Moyer, senior nutritionist for the advocacy group.

To put things into perspective, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends that adults consume nearly 2000 calories per day, 20 grams of fat, 50 grams of sugar and 2300 milligrams of sodium, which is almost 1 teaspoon.

Imagine that! Only 1 teaspoon of salt each day! Now picture all the foods you’ve eaten in the past 24 hours and try to guess whether or not they were more than 1 teaspoon of salt or not. Chances are they’re more than 1 teaspoon.

To enjoy better health and a better dining experience, avoid these meals at all costs:

1. Pasta

Served with beef and tomato sauce or white, creamy Alfredo sauce, it’s mouth-watering and savory. Yet the sad, undeniable truth is that it’s load with fat, sodium and oozes calories.

Some pasta dishes reach up 2310 calories - way too much for only 1 meal. They’re also loaded with saturated fat (79-85 grams per dish) and salt (the sodium in some pasta dishes can reach double the amount of our daily-recommended amount).

2. Cheeseburgers

They’re on-the-go and delicious. However, more often than not, that burger you’re chomping on is made with cheap, farm-raised meat and highly processed cheese. All that means is you’re eating something that’s very high in caloric intake, fat, carbs, salt with no real health benefits.

3. Fried-anything

Food that’s been fried has been done so in genetically modified oil that’s low quality and known for its artery-clogging qualities. When these oils reach high temperatures, typically 120°C, their chemical composition breaks down, and begins to form a harmful blend, increasing the stress on your body.

The oils used are typically hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are used extensively because of their ability to improve the shelf life of processed foods, the types of foods make you feel sluggish and not to mention all the free radical damage it wreaks on your body.

This is why fried foods are the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes, protein malfunction, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and cancer.

In addition, let’s not forget all the types of inflammations that are a direct result of consuming large amounts of fried food, from joint pains and aches to atherosclerosis.

4. Farmed fish, especially after the weekend

Almost every restaurant that offers fresh fish orders them on Thursday. This gives the chef time to prepare them for the weekend crowd. This goes double for farmed fish, such as the farmed Atlantic salmon.

Fish that have been raised on farms come from conditions that are dirty and unsanitary. They’re given processed feed high in fat to plump them up. On top of that, they’re given antibiotics, herbicides and fungicides - all of which are toxic chemicals - to prevent infections.


After that sobering reality check, you may be inclined to stave off eating out altogether. However, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Now that you have all the facts, you can make wiser choices without harming your body or depriving yourself of a night out.

You can, for example, opt for food that has been grilled, baked, steamed, or broiled. Thin crust pizza is also a smart choice. Make it a point to eat out once or twice a week, and really make a night of it. It’ll help you appreciate and enjoy what you eat.