Fish large and small can most certainly be a healthy meal choice, but if you’re ordering seafood off a menu, there can be troubled waters ahead when it comes to seafood nutrition.
Investigators from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, crunched the seafood nutrition numbers for more than 2,600 seafood menu items from 159 chain restaurants using the online nutritional information provided by the establishments. The researchers discovered that many of the ingredients and preparation methods turned out dishes with concerning numbers.
The average seafood menu item nets up to 49% and 61% of the total daily limit of saturated fat for men and women, respectively, and 65% of the total daily limit of sodium, with 19% of the items exceeding the daily sodium goal of 2,300 milligrams. The average calorie content of a meal was up to 41% of the recommended daily intake for women and up to 33% for men.
Fast-food chains are not the main offenders. National casual dining chains, such as Applebee’s and Red Lobster, carry seafood meals that are higher in calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar, with larger portion sizes being a significant contributor. Study authors also noted that most menu items did not list species origin or production methods (farmed or wild), which could help consumers make selections based on sustainability. The fine-dining segment of the industry was not included in the nutritional analysis because lots of restaurants in this category are not required by law to post their nutrition information.
Since many Americans consume a large percentage of their seafood away from home, consumers must be educated on how to reel in healthier options, including smaller portions and meals made using less troublesome preparation methods, such as baking instead of breading.
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