You may think that a sit-down chain restaurant is healthier than a drive-through fast food joint, but a new study says those familiar full-service joints aren’t necessarily good for you either.
Researchers studied the offerings of 21 national chain restaurants in the Philadelphia area in 2011, including Olive Garden, Red Lobster and TGI Friday’s.
On average, across all of the restaurants in the study, the researchers found that calorie and nutrient levels were higher than appropriate for a single meal. Common meal scenarios that the study authors set up exceeded the maximum recommended intakes for an entire day, in sodium and saturated fat especially.
But there were efforts to provide healthy options – 11 of the restaurants in the study had items that were marked on the menu in some way as healthy choices.
“Future research could examine whether offering a larger percentage of healthy options would proportionally increase sales of healthy choice items,” the study said.
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