The Worst Meal in America

Following a recent study by the Center for Science and Public Interest, the 'Big Catch' Platter at Long John Silvers has been named the most unhealthy meal in America.
Following a recent study by the Center for Science and Public Interest, the ‘Big Catch’ Platter at Long John Silvers has been named the most unhealthy meal in America.

America is home to thousands of ways to eat unhealthy, but despite all the selection one meal reigns supreme. The Long John Silvers ‘Big Catch Platter’ is the most unhealthy meal you can order at a restaurant in all of the United States, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Despite seafood typically being considered to be a healthy choice in our diets. If you are brave enough to conquer this deep-fried behemoth, you will have to ingest a disgusting 33 grams of trans fat. For those of you who don’t have your calculator handy, that is roughly two weeks worth of trans fat as recommended by the American Heart Association.

According to Jeff Cronin, the director of communications for the Center for Science and Public Interest in an interview with The Salt, “We’ve actually never made this designation before. No exaggeration. No one here has ever seen this much trans fat in a meal.”

Dubbing the meal a ‘heart attack on a stick’ they decided to investigate where exactly the meal ranked on the unhealthy scale. Turns out it tips the scale and is off the charts bad for us. On top of two weeks of trans fats, the most unhealthy meal in the United States of America also packs 19 grams of saturated fat, 1,320 calories and almost 3,700 milligrams of sodium.

Seafood is usually healthy though, and this meal is advertised as one that centers around “7-8 ounces of 100 percent premium Haddock caught in the icy waters of the North Atlantic” according to their advertising campaign. The catch is that the fish is battered, fried, and served with two equally unhealthy sides. By adding both onion rings AND hush puppies to the fish, Long John Silvers has concocted the most unhealthy meal we’ve ever seen at an American restaurant.

Fish is usually high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which has been linked to reduced heart attack and stroke. However when that fish is fried, the amount of Omega-3s drops while calories are increased. The use of hydrogenated oil in the frying process was startling. Typically chains have eliminated their use of the oil that is known to be detrimental to our health.

Chair of the Nutrition Department at the Harvard School of Public Health Dr. Walter C. Willet was surprised by the findings. He said that “It might have been defensible to use hydrogenated oil in the 1980s, before trans fat’s harmfulness was discovered, but no longer” in a statement on the subject. Even in KFC’s heyday of hydrogenated oil use, they never concocted anything with more than 15 grams of trans fats.

The most unhealthy meal in America is an abomination according to Michael Jacobson, the Center for Science and Public Interest’s executive director. “Long John Silver’s Big Catch meal deserves to be buried 20,000 leagues under the sea,” he said in a statement.”This company is taking perfectly healthy fish – and entombing it in a thick crust of batter and partially hydrogenated oil. The result? A heart attack on a hook.”

Just looking at the 'Big Catch' in all its deep fried glory, it is not surprising to hear that t has been dubbed a "heart attack on a hook."
Just looking at the ‘Big Catch’ in all its deep fried glory, it is not surprising to hear that t has been dubbed a “heart attack on a hook.”

Featured in the results of the CSPI’s study into Long John Silvers ‘Big Catch Platter’ was an interesting tid-bit. America’s least healthy meal may not even give you the  “7-8 ounces of 100 percent premium Haddock caught in the icy waters of the North Atlantic” you were promised. After taking the breading off, the fish typically weight just 4 to five ounces. Long John Silvers released a statement about the findings saying that “we stand behind our published food data and will review any requests from CSPI that raise questions about our data.”

Despite all the evidence of its horrible nutritional value, the most unhealthy restaurant meal in America has quite the following. All one has to do is check the Facebook page for the restaurant and look at all the pictures posted by fans of the ‘Big Catch Platter’ with their empty boxes after completing the meal. Some even brag about how fast they can eat it.

The most unhealthy meal in America has been crowned, a title that may end up being overtaken soon. For now, it belongs to Long John Silvers and their ‘Big Catch Platter.’

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille

The Guardian Express

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