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11 Shocking Salads

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11 Shocking Salads

Oh Salad, how did it ever come to this? Experts say that eating a salad every day may be one of the healthiest eating habits to adopt, but did they know what kind of beasts are being created in the name of the salad? It’s fascinating how language shapes our perceptions. Even though I spend much of my life exploring food and decoding nutrition, I am still sometimes swayed by the subtle messaging that says that anything called a “salad,” regardless of its reckless ingredients, is still a healthy choice! Restaurant menu-development teams are definitely on to this phenomenon.

So, what are the problems with this collection of shocking salads found on the menus of our nation’s most popular restaurants? My biggest gripe is the sky-high calories, simply for their shock value–followed by the seriously exuberant sodium levels, and finishing up with some pretty surprising fat counts.

In the new set of Dietary Guidelines proposed for the 2010 USDA Food Pyramid, the average recommended daily calorie intake is 2100, and total fat intake should be 20 to 35 percent of your total daily calories. (At 9 calories per gram of fat, 30 percent would roughly equal about 70 grams of total fat daily for a 2100-calorie diet.) The crazy thing here is sodium: The new guidelines reduced the recommended amount of salt healthy people should consume to 1,500 milligrams (mg), from the previous amount of 2,300 mg. Each one of these salads has more than the daily recommended level of sodium, some of them have more than double that. Salty!

Even so, aside from all the ills of these non-salad salads, I’ll still opt for the salad more than not. Even though most of those listed here have similar calorie counts to a burger and fries (or two), the saturated fat is generally less, and you do get the benefit of the vegetables. Just remember that any of these salads should be your big meal of the day, and forget about eating another grain of salt until tomorrow (or the day after).

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

158 comments

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6:29PM PDT on May 18, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

6:17PM PDT on May 18, 2014

never heard of any of those not even queensland one and i liev in australia

8:23AM PDT on May 22, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

7:53AM PDT on Oct 2, 2011

You mean people go to places like Burger King or Applebee's and believe anything they order there is going to be "healthy"?

Really???

If this is true, Americans have a truly frightening ability to fool themselves and/or are really ignorant about their food and how it's made..







6:03AM PDT on Oct 2, 2011

thanks

3:34AM PDT on Sep 3, 2011

Gee the article on the worst coffee drinks and this one on salads is tough.I love the fast food salads and those fun fattening coffee drinks!

5:47PM PDT on Sep 2, 2011

GO THE HOMEMADE SALAD - you know the old fashioned one with lettuce (of any kind), tomato, cucumber, olives, carrot,
fennell anything that comes from a vege patch... some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinigar - laughing...

10:38PM PDT on Sep 1, 2011

Another great article. Thanks for sharing, lost my appetite a bit

6:37PM PDT on Sep 1, 2011

Well, fast food and salads don't really mix well anyway in my opinion. So is it really a stretch that they are so bad?

6:57AM PDT on Aug 26, 2011

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

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