On July 2, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) found the worst restaurant meals through laboratory tests from the organization. The winner goes to the unbelievable Big Catch meal at Long John Silver’s, which consists of fried fish, onion rings and hush puppies. This massive heart attack on a plate contains a whopping 33 grams of trans fat, 1,320 calories, nearly 3,700 grams of sodium and 19 grams of saturated fat. Phew, are you exhausted just thinking about this unhealthy meal? Just imagine the bad breath that you could suffer from after eating this meal.
Worst Meal: An overview
As the Worst Restaurant Meal in America, the Big Catch meal is getting quite the backlash as the company has taken perfectly healthy fish and transformed it into something that can seemingly clog arteries in the blink of an eye. With ever-growing research noting the link between oral and heart health, you can be sure that this meal will cause bad breath, promote tooth decay and create health issues that are long-lasting.
But Long John Silver’s is also practicing controversial techniques, such as using partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Additionally, the amount of trans fat in the dish has twice the amount of the worst dish on the KFC menu, which caused a lawsuit in 2006 from the CSPI.
“Trans fat from partially hydrogenated oil is a uniquely damaging substance that raises your bad cholesterol, lowers your good cholesterol, and harms the cells that line your blood vessels,” Walter C. Willett, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health said. “It might have been defensible to use hydrogenated oil in the 1980s, before trans fat’s harmfulness was discovered, but no longer. It is outrageous that Long John Silver’s foods are still loaded with artificial trans fat and that the FDA still permits it in foods.”
But it doesn’t end there. The marketing tactics of the company have caused an uproar as well. The fast-food chain released the combo platter in May, giving it the tagline of “the largest fish we have ever offered.” While the overall weight may be more than previously cooked fish, the investigation by the CSPI found that the 7 to 8 ounces of “100 percent premium haddock caught in the icy waters of the North Atlantic” is actually only 4.5 ounces of fish and an additional 3 ounces of batter. To top it off, the chain advertised their onion rings to contain seven grams of trans fat, but the investigation found it actually has 19.5 grams.
What about the deadliest combo? Have that Big Catch meal with a Pepsi, which contains a scary level of a carcinogen, 4-methylimidazole - or 4-Mel, which can form during the cooking process and is used for the caramel coloring. While the high level of sugar is enough to create a colony of anaerobic bacteria in the back of your mouth, the added chemicals pose an increased threat of cancer, according to a study conducted on lab rats by the Center for Environmental Health.
The Food and Drug Administration noted that a consumer would have to drink a total of 1,000 cans of the beverage each day to be affected by the caramel coloring chemicals.
The chemical is what gives the soda its caramel coloring, and Pepsi said they would change the manufacturing process to take the chemical out by February 2014. But soda in general isn’t good for your oral health, despite the elimination of the chemical. The syrupy sugar that gets left behind in the mouth promotes the growth of anaerobic bacteria that cause bad breath.