Fast food restaurants get a bad reputation and for good reason — have you seen what’s in a chicken nugget? But casual dining chain restaurants often get a free pass from customers. Perhaps it’s because there are no drive-thru’s and the food doesn’t come in a paper bag, but consumers often believe that chain restaurants are a healthier option than McDonald’s or other fast food joints.
But there’s more to these restaurants than meets the eye. And while the food might sound fancier or more healthy, there are simply some chain restaurants you should never eat at.
What Is a Chain Restaurant?
While it’s easy to detect a fast food restaurant, what is a chain? For our purposes, a chain restaurant is similar to a casual dining one. These moderately priced restaurants are found throughout a variety of states and offer more of a traditional restaurant experience, where you’re encouraged to sit down, enjoy your meal and maybe even order more. Most are served by a waitstaff.
Chain restaurants have become synonymous with American culture. These are the places you see near shopping centers, at malls and on highway strips. They look a little fancier than your local takeout spot, but they offer meal deals that make dining out easier on the wallet than more upscale restaurants. Chain restaurants are good at what they do, too. A customer might turn their nose up at the mall food court, but might happily sit down and order at a casual chain restaurant.
What’s Wrong with Most Chain Restaurants? (Let Us List the Ways!)
But what is actually the problem with eating at these chain restaurants? Are they really that bad or worse than fast food restaurants? In one word: yes.
One of the main problems with chain restaurants is that they often give the illusion that they’re healthy. Most people know that if they’re stopping by a Burger King, their meal isn’t going to be a health food. But with carefully chosen, descriptive words on the menu like “fluffy,” “fire-roasted” and “hand-crafted,” an illusion of health is created.
That’s not the only problem, of course. There’s plenty to be scared with when it comes to chain restaurants:
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, you can be pretty sure that the ingredients you’re eating at a chain restaurant are full of GMOs. These genetically modified organisms have been altered to withstand pesticide use (yum). Eating GMO foods has been linked to an increase in allergies, an increase in antibiotic resistance, disorders in the reproductive system and more.
The most common GMO foods are corn, soy, canola, alfalfa and sugar beets. Corn and canola oils are often used in chain restaurant cooking, and corn is often used as a filler in low-quality foods. Your chain restaurant French fries are almost certainly made with GMO oils.
Factory-farmed animals live in terrible, squalid conditions; this Rolling Stone feature is a terrific, if horrifying, look at the conditions these animals are raised in. Animals who are depressed and living in this manner are much likelier to become sick than animals living in humane conditions. But a sick animal isn’t a useful animal. Enter antibiotics.
The World Health Organization has named antibiotics resistance an increasingly serious threat to global health. Life-changing drugs that were once effective are now powerless against bacteria that’s learned to modify itself in order to survive antibiotics.
“But I don’t take antibiotics!” you protest. Unfortunately, the meat that you’re eating at a chain restaurant was once likely treated with medication. And as the old saying goes, “you are what you eat.” Some fast food restaurants are tackling antibiotics use, but this tactic isn’t spreading as fast as it should.
3. Farmed fish.
Farmed fish is cheaper than wild-caught varieties. In this case, you get more than what you paid for, mainly toxins and pesticides. Eating farmed fish actually contributes to overfishing and shrinks our ocean’s biodiversity. And if the factory-farmed fish includes fish like swai, which isn’t subject to the same inspection as other types of fish, you could be ingesting antibiotics, pesticides and microbes behind shellfish poisoning.
4. Gluten galore.
So. much. gluten. If you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, a chain restaurant is probably not for you. That’s because even in foods that might not normally include gluten, other ingredients are added in to improve the taste and texture of inferior products. In fact, if you have any type of food allergy or intolerance, I’d steer clear of chain restaurants.
5. Excessive calories.
One chain restaurant meal can easily weigh in at your entire day’s worth of calories, and that does not include a heap of veggies. But these foods aren’t going to keep you full all day. In fact, you might be hungry shortly after eating them.
Since they’re full of sugar, starch, refined carbohydrates and low-quality meats and cheeses, there’s not much staying power in these dishes. After the lethargic feeling that comes after indulging at a chain restaurant, you might feel hungry (and thirsty, thanks to all the sodium), much sooner than you’d expect.
The 10 Chain Restaurants to Avoid
So who are the worst offenders on the list? Here are the top 10 chain restaurants to avoid when you’re going out to eat.
1. Applebees. This chain restaurant specializes in overfeeding people, as quite a bit of their appetizers come in at nearly 1,000 calories. Their sweet potato fries, a food that should be relatively healthy, tops in at 1,160 calories before a main is ordered. Stay away!
2. The Cheesecake Factory. The Cheesecake Factory’s massive menu is overwhelming. The amount of cheesecakes alone is in the dozens. This chain restaurant makes an effort to appeal to health-conscious eaters with its Skinnylicious menu, where all the dishes are under 590 calories.
As long-time followers know, however, calories are only part of the story. Even this lightened-up menu is still full of refined carbs, pork and shrimp, some of the worst foods for you. And would you really go to a place named after cheesecake and not try a piece?
3. Chili’s. Another sneaky menu! A smoked chicken burrito with a quinoa blend sounds like it might be an okay option — but it’s 866 calories. A chipotle chicken bowl, another seemingly good-for-you option, comes in at 870 calories. And if you opt for the classic turkey sandwich, you’ll be enjoying 930 calories before the fries arrive.
4. Cracker Barrel. With the offerings on the menu, “homestyle” at Cracker Barrel is closer to “heart attack.” Unfortunately, it’s impossible to double-check, as Cracker Barrel’s website doesn’t offer nutrition or allergen information. A chain restaurant that’s unwilling to spill the beans on what it’s serving? Pass.
5. Denny’s. The late-night favorite is packed with processed ingredients, as evidenced by appetizers like “Red Velvet Pancake Puppies” served with cream cheese icing and bacon cheddar tots. The Slam Burger, one of the chain restaurant’s signature burgers, is topped with hash browns, eggs and bacon — to the tune of 1,010 calories. Do you really want fries with that?
6. iHop. This chain restaurant uses cute pancake faces made of whipped cream to get kids excited by its offerings. Parents won’t be as happy. With sodium levels that reach 50 percent of an adult’s daily recommended value, packed with sugar and very little fiber, you’ll want to keep the kiddos out of here.
7. TGI Friday’s. When a chicken salad comes in at over 1,000 calories, you have to wonder if there’s a better option. The burgers are a calorie bomb; even the turkey option comes in at 960 calories. Alcoholic cocktails are also a selling point in the menu, taking the first spot in the menu, but sadly, there’s no nutrition information if you want a beverage. Plus, the only seafood on here is shrimp. No thanks.
8. Olive Garden. Bowls of white pasta, unlimited breadsticks and no way of getting calorie counts before visiting? Stick to making your own Italian feast instead.
9. P.F. Chang’s. Kudos to P.F. Chang’s for having a gluten-free menu. Two thumbs down for the insane amount of calories, fat and sodium even in these “better for you” dishes. I’m not quite sure how a gluten-free vegetarian coconut curry dish managed to reach 1,270 calories, 90 grams of fat and more sodium than you’d need in a day, but you can find it at this chain restaurant.
Healthy Chain Restaurants?
Yikes! That was some list of chain restaurants you should never eat at. What’s most frightening about these chains is that even when you think you’re choosing the “right” option, it’s still loaded with unsavory ingredients.
So are there any chain restaurants doing it right? Yes! Places like Noodles & Co., Sweetgreen, Veggie Grill and Lyfe Kitchen allow you to build healthy meals with real food ingredients. These restaurants make it onto my list of best chain restaurants. But as always, the best option is cooking at home, where you can control exactly what you’re eating and even indulge in some favorites in a healthy way.
A quick note from our founder-
20 Million Americans Have A Thyroid Condition
...And 60% Of Them Don't Even Know It.
AND... Women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.
Scary, right? Unfortunately, a long-term, untreated thyroid condition can lead to:
+ Fatigue + Brain fog + Weight gain + Diabetes + Heart disease
+ High cholesterol + Depression + Goiter + Infertility
The good news is that once you recognize the signs and symptoms you can take the necessary steps to save yourself...
Help us create more awareness! Please SHARE this article...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
P.S. Make sure you check out the next page to get to know the 10 simple moves that will bring vitality back into your life!
To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
However I promise what you'll discover today will be completely worth it.
Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
...suffocating tissue, restricting blood flow, damaging joints and infecting your healthy cells.
Shockingly, that nightmare is a reality for most:
64% of women and 74% of men carry too much body fat according to the National Institutes of Health.
It's choking their organs, assaulting their metabolism and sucking their energy dry.
But here's the worst part:
For most, this bodyfat has become "calorie-resistant":
It's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
This zombie fat is essentially... "dead tissue".
That's important for those who have 10, 25 or 50 or more pounds to lose...
AND for those who aren't technically overweight, but have what's called "pocket obesity"...
...unsightly patches of fat that cling to specific places, like:
just above your hips, lower belly, where your butt and legs meet... and even arms, neck and face.
However, there's good news:
Obesity researchers have now discovered a "metabolic jumper cable":
It jolts dead bodyfat back to life.
This allows your metabolism to burn it as calories and re-energize your entire body.
First though, here's the #1 reason why bodyfat becomes calorie-resistant:
It lacks blood flow. This has 3 effects:
- Not enough oxygen or nutrients reach fat cells, so they become unresponsive..
- Released fat can't be sent to other tissues to be burned, so fat cells suck it back in...
- 3) Metabolic hormones carrying the "burn calories" message don't reach the fat cell...
All this means one thing:
Your body can't transform into energy, the 135,000+ of calories the average person stores as fat!
You become a metabolic zombie: NO energy to think. NO energy to move. NO energy to motivate.
Update: calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
The discovery of this "metabolic jumper cable" can now reverse this process:
- It wakes up un-responsive bodyfat with a powerful calorie-burning hormonal jolt....
- It pops open fat cells, sucks out the fat, sending it off before its yanked back in...
- It shuttles fat to your brain, heart, lungs, kidneys - even your bones - to be burned as energy.
Not only do those layers of "zombie fat" start coming off, but your entire body just works better.
Plus, as your whole body burns more calories, those patches of pocket obesity whittle away.
This "metabolic jumper cable" isn't any exercise, machine or pill.
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive.
It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know.
And on this next page, you'll find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
PS - Studies show that not only can healthy levels of this powerful calorie-burning hormone devour bodyfat and fortify soft muscle, but it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
If you haven't heard of Claude Davis yet do yourself a huge favor and watch this video. He's going to be the talk of 2016.
One of the smartest guys I ever had the pleasure of meeting, Claude set-up a unique system that changed his life forever.
I already tried it myself and let me tell... you I was completely blown away... His surprising tactics could make your life easier and give you the peace of mind you deserve.
Don't just take my word for it... watch his short video and decide for yourself.
Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
Secret #1: Enjoy real food. Don’t fall for the lie that you have to deprive yourself to lose weight.
Secret #2: stop eating out. You will automatically eat less without even noticing.
Then start detoxing your body with tasty, nourishing smoothies that are just as easy on your wallet as they are easy to make.
Because a single day of enjoying Liz’ smoothies demonstrated the radical power of her superfood-packed red smoothies to make me feel incredibly good.
Now prepare yourself for one of the biggest weight loss secrets there is. A secret that, when you use it properly, can transform your body and your health.
You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…
What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”
So that’s why I’m losing weight without going hungry.
Watch Liz’ free presentation. It’s packed with revolutionary weight loss information—information that works. Because it’s based on how nature.
Click the button only if you want to wear smaller clothes, breathe easier, move more freely and just plain feel better.
- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
- The “diet” foods…some of them vegetables…that lead to weight gain and diabetes…
- The “low-fat” foods that can dramatically increase your risk of cancer.
- And the superfoods that rescue your body from this assault by detoxing you…
Revitalizing your metabolism so you can Shed pounds as well as toxins, renew your body and reset your internal clock by up to 7 years.
Because until now, the Red Smoothie Detox Factor has been available only to Liz’ private clients. But now that she’s perfected it to work for almost everyone, almost every time, Liz is sharing it with rest of us so we can feel better and look better.
Get Red Smoothie Detox Factor before the price goes back up.
Because Liz offers a ridiculously good guarantee. You have 60 days to decide you love the Red Smoothie Detox Factor. If you don’t love it—for any reason, or even no reason at all —Liz will refund your money. 100%. No questions asked.
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.