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Restaurants and the Low Carb Craze

National restaurant chains are eager to feed the need for healthy foods that weight-conscious diners can choose while they lose weight. So where are these great choices?

If you're counting on restaurants to guide you to the perfect menu choice that will help you lose weight, you've got a long wait ahead of you. Nearly all of the "chain" restaurants are scrambling to offer some form of "low carb" or "lite" menu items in an effort to keep you coming back while you're on a diet, and many are hooking up with diets like Atkins or Weight Watcher's to offer compatible choices. The problem is that this is no guarantee that you'll get a meal that meets your personal health or weight loss needs. Here are some examples:

Denny's has a line of "carb-watch" menu items. The problem is that their "carb-watch" breakfasts contain 610-653 Calories, and range from 44 to 53 grams of fat, much of it saturated animal fat from sausage, bacon, and eggs. Even if you're devoted to eating high fat animal foods, you're not going to lose weight when one meal takes up about 1/2 of your total calories for the day! On the other hand, Denny's has a "carb-watch" grilled chicken entree that only contain 314 Calories, and 8 grams of fat - that's more like it.

TGI Friday's has jumped on the Atkin's bandwagon and has a full line of "Atkins-Friendly" choices, low-carb with "good fats" so they say. Unfortunately, there is no nutritional information other than the "net carb" info - so you have no idea how many total calories, sodium, saturated fat, total fat, and protein you're getting. For those watching their weight and their heart health, there's nothing "friendly" about a large NY steak with Bleu Cheese!

Low Carb Dieting?So, on the surface it looks like restaurant dining has become healthier, but take a closer look - there's no consistency in labeling ("lite" doesn't mean anything!) and there's not enough information to make good selections. At Personal Dietitian, we do understand that most people dine out several times a week and need help with making the best possible choices at their favorite restaurants. Our personal diet plans include individual help from the nutrition experts, registered dietitians. We'll give you some easy rules that you can use to figure out what to eat anywhere, and if you have a particular restaurant choice you want to fit into your plan, we'll help you figure out what to do. Eating out with your family and friends is an important social event, and sometimes a necessity. With the support and help you get on your personal diet program, you'll know just what to do to reach your diet and health goals and still enjoy dining out with your friends and family.