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The Worst Meal in America: Long John’s “Big Catch”

Update Date: Jul 02, 2013 03:13 PM EDT

When one thinks of the worst meal in America, the word fried most likely comes into mind first. Despite how delicious deep-frying makes everything, it is one of the worst ways to cook a meal and now, The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has named a fried food meal as the worst meal one could eat in the United States. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is an organization that monitors nutrition and health ranging from policies to food items. This year, this watchdog group has named the "Big Catch" meal from Long John Silver's as the worst thing one could eat.

Long John Silver, a restaurant chain that primarily sells seafood, introduced the "Big Catch" meal this past May. The meal includes the main catch of "7-8 ounces of 100 percent premium Haddock caught in the icy waters of the North Atlantic." Although the fish portion of this meal may sound harmless, those who eat the entire meal, which includes fried onion rings and hushpuppies intake over two weeks' worth of trans fat that is recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA). The entire meal equals 33 grams of trans fat.

"No one here has ever seen this much trans fat in a meal," Jeff Cronin, the director of the group said according to NPR.

"In our mind, this is the worst [meal]. It's the Mount Everest of trans fat," Michael Jacobson, the executive director of CSPI said.

On top of the trans fat count, the entire meal contains 19 grams of saturated fat, 1,320 calories and nearly 3,700 milligrams of sodium. All of the extra fat from the meal is most likely due to the fact that Long John Silver's fry their fish in an oil mixture with hydrogenated oil, which has lost its popularity after studies revealed that this type of oil can lead to heart diseases. The group also visited several stores throughout Washington, D.C. and the group discovered that the breading accounts for three to four ounces of the "7-8 ounces" of fish.

When Long John Silver's was contacted, their response stated, "We stand behind our published food data and will review any requests from CSPI that raise questions about our data. [The "Big Catch"] delivers tremendous value to value hungry consumers."

Despite the company's lack of concern, the watchdog group is not convinced that this meal is something people should want to eat. The meal is nothing more than a "heart-attack on a hook." 

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