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America’s Unhealthy Restaurants.. We’re Surprised?

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Check out this article scoring the healthiest of America’s Restaurants. See below the jump for our take on some of their scoring.

Denny’s (they rated D+)
They’re awfully hard on these guys. First of all, they’re a good place for value, which in this economy, is trumping calories across the board. They focus on the double cheeseburger being one of the worst in the country? Er, has anyone ever come up with a healthy double cheeseburger? Just because Denny’s has a few more grams of fat than another comparably bad-for-you burger, they deserve a D+? We think they’ve got a very decent selection of healthy choices and they probably sell a decent amount.

Applebee’s, IHOP, Outback, T.G.I. Friday’s (they all rated F)
They’re crucifying these guys because they don’t make it easy to find the nutritional information, but they didn’t comment on their menus at all. Clearly, there’s lots of bad stuff there, but seriously.. Fs? I know Friday’s probably does a fair amout of business with their ‘right portion’ menu, which features such egregious items like grilled chicken and broccoli. They probably sell a lot of it, too. If you’re ranking DAIRY QUEEN a D+, hard to see why these guys deserve to be thrown under the bus.

McDonald’s (they rated B+)
So the company that invented artery-clogging fast food gets a high score because they offer apple wedges and salads in addition to supersized fries and whoppers? Give me a break. I guarantee you Denny’s and Fridays sells more of their ‘healthy’ choices than McDonalds, as a percentage of sales. I know when I think of fresh fruit and crisp salads, I’m not heading to the golden arches.

Let’s not forget that with the economy the way it is, cheap protein is where it’s at. McDonalds, for example, actually increased sales in the first quarter. People aren’t going there because it’s suddenly healthy; it’s just cheaper to buy a bunch of burgers for the kids as opposed to $10 dinners at casual restaurants. Take a look at Darden Restaurants, which owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and Bahama Breeze, among others.. their sales were down 3.2% in the first quarter.

Health writers may have an uphill battle – the public doesnt have the luxury of counting calories anymore. I would be more interested in seeing a compilation of the cheapest way you can feed a family of four (let’s say.. 8,000 calories?). Then you can take a group of some of those restaurants and give some preference to nutritional value. What are your thoughts?

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