New York City’s Department of Health unveiled a new website to compare nutritional data for 66 chain restaurants. MenuStat allows users to search by chain or food category, comparing results between chains such as McDonald’s, TGI Fridays and Subway.
“With the increased use of mobile technology, this puts a lot of valuable information in the consumers’ hands at the time of their order,” says Fordam Schools of Business Professor Beth Vallen, who specializes in consumer goals and self-control in consumer health.
With the new information comes new surprises. Who knew how many calories were in an IHOP salad or a Jason’s Deli potato? When compared to their competitors, chains’ high-calorie items stand out more than ever for health conscious consumers.Or view as a single page View As Slideshow
If you’re trying to eat healthy at IHOP, don’t get the Chicken and Spinach Salad, which has 1,530 calories and 111 grams of fat. That’s the equivalent of four chocolate chip ice cream cookie sandwiches from Carl’s Jr., which have 360 calories and 16 grams of fat a piece. Or, you could eat almost 13 full Golden Corral Strawberry Shortcakes, at 120 calories a pop.
With 2,320 calories, the Plain Jane Potato is not as simple as it seems in terms of calories. In comparison, the largest size of both McDonald’s’ and Burger King’s famously high-calorie fries have 500 calories.
At 1,800 calories, a large M&M Sonic Blast has almost as many calories as four gallons of Baskin Robbins’ strawberry ice cream. Or, you could eat 20 IHOP chocolate ice creams -- a far more calorie conscious choice than its salads.
A Burger King cheeseburger is 280 calories. A TGI Friday’s cheeseburger is 1,110 calories. On average, TGI Friday’s burgers are about twice as many calories as fast food chains: TGIF averages 1,095 calories, while Dairy Queen clocks in at 588 calories and McDonald’s at 504 calories.
Applebee’s’ Spinach and Artichoke dip can have as many as up to 1,570 calories and 105 grams of fat. Olive Garden is comparatively calorie light, at 650 calories and 31 grams of fat.
Spending more time on MenuStat, it becomes clear that the serving sizes are not always comparable. How else can one explain Ci Ci's Pizza's 15-inch Hog Fest pizza only having 241 calories? Upon closer investigation, it becomes clear that the 241 calories only account for one slice of the pie. Still, no matter the comparison, Domino's upper limit of 4,590 calories for an extra large, hand tossed, feast pizza is nothing to scoff at.