(P1) You know that even with new low-cal options fast-food joints are usually a big health no-no. But chances are you never suspected your favorite sit-down spot could be doing you in as well. A new study shows that dine-in restaurants can be just as bad as their faster counterparts.
(P2) According to research, both fast food and dine-in restaurants serve up more cholesterol and trans fat than what you make at home. Fast food customers got an average of 3.5 more grams of trans fat a day, while restaurant eaters took in an extra 2.5 grams. That may not sound like much, but we’re talking about something so bad that the FDA has just outlawed it. So even just a little bit can be serious. What’s more, people who regularly dine out consume an average of 200 calories and 58 mg of cholesterol more a day than their home-cooking counterparts.
(P3) Of course, we don’t expect you to become a master chef and whip up breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home every single day. Going out with friends gives your social life a boost, and that can be important for lowering stress and avoiding mental health problems. Here are four reasons restaurant food is bad for you.
1. Fatty cuts and blends
(P4) When you go to the grocery store, you’re likely to choose a nice lean blend of ground beef to make your burger patties. Ideally, you can get a burger that’s 95% lean beef with just two grams of saturated fat.
(P5) On the other hand, chefs prioritize flavor over health, and higher fat content is an easy way to boost taste. A restaurant burger might have as much as 30% fat or more. That means less protein and more calories between those sugary white-bread buns. The same rule applies to various cuts of steak and other proteins tucked into wraps or salads.
2. Cooking in grease
(P6) You know those big fryers full of bubbling grease behind the registers at your favorite fast food joint? They should pretty much speak for themselves. But even if your food isn’t being prepared in a simmering bath of fat and empty calories, it might still be cooked in melted butter (as opposed to a healthy oil like olive or coconut).
3. Rich sauces
(P7) We love a thick, creamy sauce just as much as the next guy, especially when we can control how much of it goes on our food. At home, you use just enough to get some flavor onto your food, and then up the game with herbs and spices. But at a restaurant, things are often smothered in sauce. It’s delicious but dangerous.
(P8) McDonald’s ranch dip has 110 calories and 12g of total fat. A restaurant-made aioli may sound like a healthier option but can be almost as dangerous (calorie- and fat-wise) as it’s non-gourmet counterpart.
4. Hidden salt and sugar
(P9) Hidden sugars appear in many condiments like pasta sauce, BBQ sauce, and ketchup. That ranch dip we mentioned, 410 mg of sodium and 6g of sugar. Dried fruits often used as a salad topping, can also pack in extra sugar without doing much to curb your appetite for sweetness. Sugar and sodium also appear in basic carbs like that breadbasket they stick right in front of you as you wait hungrily for your meal. These little things, often thrown into chef-made meals to up their complexity, can add up to a lot of sugar and sodium.
VOCABULARY: outlawed, whip up, vats, smothered, pack in
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Do you eat out at restaurants frequently? Why or why not?
- In your opinion, do eat-in restaurants cook healthier foods or not? Why?
- Do you read the nutrition labels on the containers of food you buy at the supermarket? Why or why not?
READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:
- According to the article, restaurants can equally be as bad healthwise as fast food restaurants. (T or F).
- Eating out with good company will not lower stress. (T or F)
- According to the article, butter is overused in restaurants to cook food. (T or F)
- Aioli made in a restaurant is a truly healthy option. (T or F)
- Only a few condiments have high sugar content. (T or F)
EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:
What do the following expressions or phrases mean?
- your favorite sit-down spot could be doing you in as well (P1)
- home-cooking counterparts (P2)
- cuts of steak (P5)
- simmering bath of fat (P6)
- just as much as the next guy (P7)
- curb your appetite (P9)