Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
The worst restaurant meal in America? Nutrition advocates say it’s Long John Silver’s Big Catch
First Published Jul 02 2013 03:28 pm • Last Updated Jul 02 2013 03:30 pm

Los Angeles • The Center for Science in the Public Interest rarely makes friends in the nation’s chain restaurants. The advocacy group frequently calls out foods it finds nutritionally objectionable.

And on Tuesday, it put Long John Silver’s Big Catch meal, with hush puppies and onion rings, in its spotlight, calling it the worst restaurant meal in America — even though plenty of other choices have more calories.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The CSPI says laboratory tests show the Big Catch has 33 grams of trans fat, "the most powerful promoter of heart disease in the food supply," and an additional 19 grams of saturated fat and nearly 3,700 milligrams of sodium - more salt than is recommended for a day.

The Big Catch has 1,320 calories. The dish, the Louisville-based company says, is a temporary menu addition it will offer through July, "or while supplies last."

Long John Silver’s, which was founded in 1969, issued a statement in response to the CSPI’s assertions, saying that at $4.99, the Big Catch "delivers tremendous value to value hungry consumers."

Diners don’t have to take the hush puppies and onion rings, the company says. Other side choices include corn, green beans, rice and cole slaw. The Big Catch is a wild-caught whitefish three times the weight of the company’s usual uncooked whitefish, the company says.

The trans fat in the Big Catch, the CSPI says, comes from the partially hydrogenated frying oil. The American Heart Association recommends that people consume no more than about 2 grams of trans fat per day - which could be found naturally in milk and meat.

"Long John Silver’s Big Catch meal deserves to be buried 20,000 leagues under the sea," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. And in another play on words he added, "Instead of the Big Catch, I’d call it America’s Deadliest Catch."

Most major chains have stopped using partially hydrogenated oil altogether, in response to bad publicity, lawsuits and local government restrictions on its use, the CSPI says.

"Trans fat from partially hydrogenated oil is a uniquely damaging substance that raises your bad cholesterol, lowers your good cholesterol, and harms the cells that line your blood vessels," Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a statement.

story continues below
story continues below

The CSPI also alleged that Long John Silver’s website "greatly overstates" the amount of fish in the Big Catch, and understates the amounts of trans fat and sodium in the side orders.

Long John Silver’s says the fish is 7 to 8 ounces; the CSPI says it’s 4 1/2 ounces, with the rest being breading or oil.

"We stand behind our published food data and will review any requests from CSPI that raise questions about our data," the company’s statement says.

The CSPI said it asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to revoke its approval of partially hydrogenated oil, and it said it would sue Long John Silver’s if it continues to use that oil and "continues to misrepresent" ingredient information.


©2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.