REPORT: 100 Restaurant Salads That Are Worse Than a Big Mac

The Physicians Committee
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REPORT: 100 Restaurant Salads That Are Worse Than a Big Mac

Ordering a salad at a chain restaurant often seems like the healthiest choice to dieters or nutrition-conscious customers. However, many restaurant salads are actually loaded with high-fat and high-cholesterol ingredients—like processed meat, cheese, and creamy dressing.

Physicians Committee dietitians compared the nutrition data of salads from more than a dozen restaurants against the notoriously unhealthful Big Mac. They assessed calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, looking for salads that exceeded the Big Mac in three of those five categories. Overall, they found more than 100 restaurant salads that are worse than a Big Mac.

IHOP-salad

IHOP's Crispy Chicken Cobb with Avocado

While many dieters focus on cutting back on calories and overall fat, the key to maintaining good health and staying slim is limiting the consumption of saturated fat, cholesterol, and high-sodium foods.

Saturated Fat

Saturated fat, which is solid at room temperature, is found in meats, dairy products, and eggs. According to the American Heart Association, consuming saturated fat raises cholesterol levels in your blood, increasing risk for cardiovascular problems and Alzheimer’s disease. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends that people limit the saturated fat in their diets and refers to this fat as “empty calories.”

Cholesterol

While cholesterol is a hot-button topic, years of research have linked dietary cholesterol with heart disease. The liver produces all of the cholesterol the body needs to function. Consuming excess cholesterol can result in a build-up of plaque within the arteries.

Fun fact: Only animal-based foods contain cholesterol; plant-based foods are naturally cholesterol free. By keeping your salad focused on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, it is easy to keep the cholesterol content down to zero!

Sodium

Excess sodium is linked to hypertension, which increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. It is important to limit this mineral when looking to protect the heart. Avoiding foods high in sodium like processed meat products and cheese, while consuming a diet high in potassium-rich fruits and vegetables, can naturally lower blood pressure.

Chilis-salad
Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad To Go

Big Mac Nutrition Information:

Food Item: Big Mac

Calories

Fat (g)

Saturated Fat (g)

Cholesterol (mg)

Sodium (mg)

550

29

10

75

970

These are five of the worst salads:

Calories

Fat (g)

Saturated Fat (g)

Cholesterol (mg)

Sodium (mg)

Notes

Applebee’s Grilled Shrimp 'N Spinach Salad, Regular
1000 66 10 195 2990 Highest Sodium
California Pizza Kitchen's Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Salad, Full
1500 99 10 25 1380 Higest Calories
Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad
1430 96 28 175 2620 Worse than 2 Big Macs in all categories
IHOP's Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad w/ Avocado
1350 104 29 590 2980 Highest fat and saturated fat
IHOP's Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad w/Grilled Chicken
1130 89 27 635 2880 Highest cholesterol

Applebees-salad

Applebee’s Grilled Shrimp 'N Spinach Salad, Regular

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL 100 SALADS THAT ARE WORSE THAN A BIG MAC.