The book "Kitchen Confidential" is a behind-the-scenes examination of the restaurant industry by the late Anthony Bourdain that reveals how patrons are unknowingly duped into dropping piles of money for gussied-up, low-quality food.
Clearly, a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition wouldn't have surprised Bourdain.
It finds less than 0.1% of meals served at fast-food and full-service restaurants are of ideal nutritional quality. And around 70% of fast food and 50% of full-service restaurant food is poor quality — meaning it's lacking healthy fats, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins, and filled with saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar.
Those empty calories fuel weight gain and diabetes, as well as emptying your wallet.
The researchers say on average people are spending up to $4,000 annually on restaurant food, dishing up more than 20% of your total calorie intake.
Upgrading your restaurant menu takes some doing, but the rewards are less weight gain and a healthier heart.
To start, go to the restaurant's menu online to see what nutritional information is available in food descriptions and data.
Then, say "yes" to salads with vinaigrette dressing on the side; broiled, grilled, or steamed fish (especially salmon and ocean trout); skinless chicken; and veggies.
In addition, dodge fried foods and choose sauces that are not dairy-based or laced with added sugar.
Remember, at a restaurant you're the one paying; if asked, they'll let you have it your way.
Make your meal healthy, so you don't pay for it twice.