Did you know that the calories resting in Italian food might be as bad for you as those sitting in fast food? The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a watchdog group that looks at food ingredients and how they affect health, says some of your favorite Italian restaurants are setting you up for love handles and obesity later on.
The group even released some of the best– and worst– menu options from popular Italian restaurant chains in its Nutrition Action Healthletter, seen below.
• Carrabba’s Calamari
This tasty appetizer is 75 percent bread– with just 25 percent squid. Order the stuff with Spicy Italian Pepper and Lemon Butter Sauce and the calorie count shoots past 1,500. It also packs in roughly three days’ worth of saturated fat.
• Maggiano’s Mom’s Lasagna With Meat Sauce
This entrée carries two days’ worth of sodium, not to mention 1,170 calories and a whopping 34 gram of saturated fat.
• Macaroni Grill’s Mama’s Trio
This three-tiered mega entrée offers Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna Bolognese, and Chicken & Mushroom Cannelloni, but the fun part is finding out the nutritional information– almost 1,500 calories, 30 grams of saturated fat, and approximately 3,500 milligrams of sodium.
• Olive Garden’s Chicken Alfredo
CSPI admits this pile of pasta covered in Alfredo sauce and chicken carries almost four cups of refined white flour– which acts like sugar shocking your system. You might as well eat two 14-ounce New York Strip steaks at Outback Steakhouse, because that would carry the same 1,440 calories hidden in this weighty entrée.
• Maggiano’s Chicken Saltimbocca
Chicken breasts might sound healthy enough– but this dish comes stuffed with almost 1,700 calories.
• Carrabba’s Sogno di Cioccolata
A fudge brownie topped with chocolate mousse, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce, this dessert has nearly 1,200 calories, 35 grams of saturated fat, and 22 teaspoons of added sugar—or the equivalent of a whole box of Girl Scout Thin Mints, CSPI says.
• Olive Garden’s Herb-Grilled Salmon
Carrying only 520 calories and a 500 milligrams of sodium, this is less than one-third of the calories of some of the heaviest Italian dishes.
• Macaroni Grill’s Grilled Chicken Spiedini
Holding only 410 calories and 990 milligrams of sodium, this entree is one of the healthier meals you’ll find at an Italian restaurant.
• Carrabba’s Wood-Grilled Salmon
Go with the six-ounce option, and you’ll consume only 500 calories and six grams of saturated fat.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
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