‘Heart attack on a hook’

Restaurant menus often take a beating over the healthfulness of their offerings.

So what does a restaurant have to offer in order to be deemed the “worst restaurant meal in America?”

Serve up a “Big Catch” of deep-fried fish with a side of fried onion rings and hush puppies.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition and health policy watchdog group, has named the new “Big Catch” meal at Long John Silver’s the worst restaurant meal in the country. They went so far as to dub the meal “heart attack on a hook,” according to an NPR story.

The meal debuted in May and is described by the restaurant as “7-8 ounces of 100 percent premium Haddock caught in the icy waters of the North Atlantic,” according NPR.

But if you ate the entire Big Catch, you’d be downing 33 grams of trans fats – the worst type of fat.

“We’ve actually never made this designation before,” Jeff Cronin, CSPI’s director of communications, told NPR. “No exaggeration. No one here has ever seen this much trans fat in a meal.”

“It’s the Mount Everest of trans fat,” CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson told NPR.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of trans fats you eat to less than 1 percent of your total daily calories. For a person who needs 2,000 calories a day, no more than 20 of those calories (less than 2 grams) should come from trans fats.

“Given the amount of naturally occurring trans fats you probably eat every day, this leaves virtually no room at all for industrially manufactured trans fats,” according to the Heart Association.

The Big Catch also comes with 19 grams of saturated fat, 1,320 calories and 3,700 milligrams of sodium (The Institute of Medicine recommends 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, and no more than 2,300 milligrams).

Long John Silver’s said the meal is a limited-time special that “delivers tremendous value to value hungry consumers.”

In a May Facebook post, Long John Silver’s had this to say about the Big Catch: “many doctors recommend eating seafood twice a week. We recommend getting it with Hushpuppies and fries!”

And 33 grams of trans fat, apparently.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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