JAMA Internal Medicine just published a Canadian study comparing the calorie and nutrient counts of 685 meals from 19 popular sit-down restaurant chains. These chains publish their nutrient information publicly. An average meal was 1128 calories and had 151% of the recommended daily sodium intake, 89% of fat and 60% of cholesterol. A second study, through Tufts University, looked at 40 popular entrees from smaller independent restaurants who do not publish their nutrient information publicly. Instead, the nutrient content was determined via bomb calorimetry. The researchers found that an average meal was 1327 calories, even more than the restaurant chains. This doesn’t even include drinks or dessert! Obviously, the more meals you can eat at home, the better! When dining out, cut your entree in half, stay away from anything fried or breaded, ask for sauces and dressings on the side, and don’t eat the bread on the table before your meal.

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