I stared at the menu and there seemed to be more than enough choices. Yet there was much missing in order to make an informed decision. I won't mention names, but it is a local seafood chain that ends in Grill. Local, in that the parent company started and still hails from St. Petersburg, but it has over 200 locations in the US. So there were shrimp, but where were they from? Our server could not assure me that they were from the Gulf of Mexico rather than Thailand or Vietnam. From the health perspective, the former is good and the latter bad. Then there was tilipia, which by now everyone should know is quite unhealthy due to being "farmed" raised. That means raised in its own excrement and then fed antibiotics to counter act the ill effects. The ratio of its omega fatty acids is opposite to those of natural steam or lake or ocean caught fish, and therefore it has a high percentage of pro-inflammatory fats. Next was "Chilean Sea Bass", which is actually Pantagonian or Antartica toothfish, but who would market it with that kind of a name? It was over-fished until 2008 when tighter regulations were born. However, illegally caught fish still enters the US and I am certain that neither the chef or server would know the difference. Therefore I never order it. Well how about the "Atlantic Salmon"? It is kind of hybrid-not farmed raised but not wild-caught either. It is farmed from "open pens" so as to not be as unhealthy as those raised in a small closed environment. To be safe, I only order wild-caught Alaska salmon which is kind of redundant since Alaska no longer has farmed salmon.
Besides these sticky questions, there are also much simpler ones that restaurants could provide; that is calories. Anyone who has read my blogs know that I lean towards libertarian. And I am generally opposed to businesses facing more regulations. However, to truly be free to make a decision on what I buy and eat, I don't think it is too onerous to have restaurants post calorie counts for their dishes. Does it make a difference in what consumers order? I believe it does. For example, an appetizer of fried calamari has, depending upon the serving size, anywhere from 200-500 calories. Contrast that with a dozen large shrimp in a shrimp cocktail. It comes in at only 120 calories.
How fish is prepared makes a big difference also. Order it fried and you are adding a big wallop of fats and calories. Go for poached, baked or grilled instead if you can. If it is sauted or has a butter or cream sauce, that adds to the taste for sure, but also ups the calories and fat count. Ask for sauce on the side if you can.
Multiple studies show that the more you go out to eat, the harder it is to diet and lose weight. This is no surprise since the temptations and portion sizes are working against you. Added to that is you have no idea how much of the big ugly three ingredients you are ingesting: salt, sugar, and fat. Chefs use these liberally to cheat when their preparation and food quality are lacking. Want to lose more weight? Then cook more meals at home. Short of that, and I get why many people can't, or won't do this
But at least give us information when we dine out to make an enlightened decision.