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Surprising Nutrition Facts About 10 Common Restaurant Foods

Written: 02/28/2008

After gobbling up more than your fair share of a "bloomin' onion," devouring an entire jumbo tub of movie theater popcorn or wolfing down more than one bowl of pastel-colored marshmallow sugar-puff cereal, most people would rather not know what was really in it. The calories, the fat, the sodium ... who really wants to know?

In reality, probably not many. Still, there is that voice in your head that's telling you otherwise. "You should be good. Know what you're getting yourself into," it says. Perhaps that's why most Americans (a whopping 80 percent, according to an AP-Ipsos poll) say they do, in fact, check the nutrition panel on foods. (Ironically, 44 percent also admit that even though they check the panel, they'll buy the food regardless of what it says.)

But whether it's out of curiosity, a feeling of obligation, or because you're looking out for your health, knowing the facts about what's in your food is clearly a right you should take advantage of, as foods can be deceiving. Sometimes even the healthiest-looking food can turn out to be a disaster for your diet, and something that receives little fanfare (like the humble mushroom) can turn out to be fantastic. You owe it to yourself to know the difference.

If you are looking for nutrition facts about foods from your favorite restaurant or those on your grocery store's shelves, check out's Nutritional Facts Reference Center. With just the click of a button (you can search by restaurant name or food category), you'll have the nutrition content of your favorite foods at your fingertips. Conduct a quick search before you indulge (or anytime you're wondering about a certain product) to find out how much (or how little) nutrition the item contains. The rest is up to you.

What's Really in These 10 Common Restaurant Foods?

Wondering how to order healthy the next time you're eating out? Here are 10 common menu items with nutrition facts that may surprise you (and that you may be better off avoiding).

  1. Auntie Ann's Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel: One pretzel has 450 calories and 9 grams of fat. Add on caramel dipping sauce and you get an extra 135 calories and 3 grams of fat.

  2. 7-11 Blueberry Muffin: Stop to grab a muffin while filling up your gas tank and you're in for 450 calories and 14 grams of fat (for one muffin!).

  3. Jimmy John's Beach Club Sandwich (on 7-Grain Honey Wheat Bread): The name sounds light and healthy, but if you eat the whole sandwich it's 826 calories, 41 grams of fat, and 70 percent of the recommended daily sodium!

  4. Krispy Kreme Frozen Latte Blend (20 oz.): You think you're being good by going to Krispy Kreme and not getting a doughnut, but if you opt for a frozen latte blend instead, you're in for 730 calories and 26 grams of fat.

  5. Panera Bread Bistro Steak Salad: You're trying to eat light so you order a salad ... this one has 630 calories and 58 grams of fat.

  6. El Pollo Loco Ultimate Pollo Bowl: Even when opting for the "bowl" (which is like a burrito without the tortilla), it's 915 calories, 34 grams of fat, and 134 percent of the daily recommended sodium.

  7. Papa John's Garden Fresh Pizza (14"): One slice has 280 calories and 9 grams of fat (but who eats just one slice?).

  8. Fazoli's Six-Layer Lasagna With Broccoli: One portion has 670 calories and 27 grams of fat. Have a cheesy breadstick too? Add on another 370 calories and 18 grams of fat.

  9. Caribou Coffee Large Low-Carb Skinny 'Bou: Now, everyone knows that big coffee drinks have a lot of calories, but when you're ordering one that's low-carb (and has "skinny" in its name) you'd think it wouldn't be so bad. Not so. This one has a whopping 1,360 calories and 145 grams of fat!

  10. Kenny Rogers Roasters Grilled Chicken Sandwich: It's grilled (not fried) and it's chicken (not beef), but it still has 523 calories, 29 grams of fat and over half of the recommended amount of daily sodium. And that's before you add the cheese, mayo and sides.

- Ryan


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