Oct 04 2015

Informed Healthy Choices for Dining Out

Published by at 9:24 am under General

The hidden costs to dining out.
Eating out at restaurants brings us pleasure and convenience…but at what price to our waistlines and our overall health?

Eating out at restaurants brings us pleasure and convenience. Whether it is grabbing a quick bite due to busy schedules or enjoying the social and relaxing aspect of enjoying a good meal, it has become much more popular than it was 50 years ago. In fact we are eating out four to five times per week. For that reason more than ever, we need to pay attention to what we are eating to ensure we stay healthy even when someone else is doing the cooking.1*

According to the National Institute for Health regarding eating out at fast food restaurants: “…After 15 years, those who ate at fast-food restaurants more than twice each week compared to less than once a week had gained an extra ten pounds and had a two-fold greater increase in insulin resistance, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease…”2*

It is not just fast food that is the problem. In general, meals eaten out contain more fat, saturated fat, calories and sodium then meals prepared at home. Portions are larger and fryers are available. It is a recipe for weight gain and metabolic syndrome. Additionally, food quality may not always be the best, as restaurants use ingredients that taste good but are not good for us, and there is a public drive to keep things affordable. *

If you eat out frequently, and aren’t paying close attention to what you are ordering, you could be setting yourself up for weight gain and metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that increase our propensity for heart disease and other health problems including high cholesterol and diabetes.*

And to add insult to injury, researchers are looking at US restaurant chains’ use of antibiotics in their supply chain. “…Most top US restaurant chains have no publicly available policy to limit the regular use of antibiotics in their meat and poultry supply chains…” according to the Chain Reaction Report by Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council and four other consumer interest, public health and environmental organizations.3*

A score card was created to look at the commitments of US restaurant chains on antibiotic use and transparency in their supply chains. “…Each restaurant was graded on its antibiotics use policies, including the strength of the policy and whether it applies to all types of meat; its implementation of policies, including the estimated availability of meat produced without routine antibiotics; and transparency about its policies, including third-party audits, whether its policy was listed online and whether it responded to the survey. The authors reached out to restaurants in person, via email or via traditional mail. The total number of possible points was based on the restaurant’s menu offerings….”4*

Only two out of those surveyed are serving meats from animals raised without the regular use of antibiotics. Those two are Panera Bread and Chipotle and our hats go off to them. But how did the rest do?

Chick-fil-A received a B.

Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds received Cs.

Subway, Wendy’s Burger King, Denny’s, Dominos, Starbucks all received Fs with one point.

Those receiving an F with zero points were: Olive Garden, Taco Bell, Little Caesars, Outback, Jack in the Box, Chilis, Arby’s, Applebees, KFC, IHOP and Dairy Queen. (3,4)*

For more information on the different responses from these restaurants and what their plans are for change or research in the future, visit resources 3 and 4.


In response to growing public concern about where their food is coming from, many restaurants are starting to reveal the source of the meat they serve, down to the farm name. In past posts, we’ve talked before about the growing danger of antibiotic resistance and the fact that many meat suppliers are opting for probiotics in raising their cattle and poultry as opposed to antibiotics for this very reason. Unfortunately, this study shows that many of the most popular food chains are not stepping up to the plate. “…The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have repeatedly warned about the not-far-off public health threat of antibiotic resistance. The CDC estimates at least 2 million Americans contract antibiotic-resistant infections every year, and that 23,000 die as a result…”4*

It is up to us to take control of our own diets. If you go out to eat often, choose healthy options. Avoid fried foods. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side. Watch the portion size and take half home in a doggy bag. Support the restaurants that serve organic and antibiotic free meat. Do your research and make your voice heard. This is imperative for your health, now and for the long term. Continue to ensure the health of your gut with a daily dose of Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ because despite our best efforts, most of us don’t eat right all the time!

Until next week,

Healthiest wishes,






  1. http://news.health.com/2013/02/28/eating-out-can-hurt-heart-health-expert-warns/
  2. http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/dec2004/nhlbi-30.htm
  3. http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/15/health/fast-food-meat-antibiotics-grades/
  4. http://fox43.com/2015/09/16/the-20-restaurants-that-received-f-grades-for-their-meat-supply/

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