Long John Silver’s: Turning a Healthy Protein Into a Deep-Fried Disaster

Fish can be a wonderfully healthy and delicious meal when prepared properly. However, not all fish dinners are created equal. Long John Silver’s Big Catch meal, for example, is loaded with trans fats and chemicals, which greatly outweigh the health benefits of the fish.

While no ‘fast food’ meal is entirely healthy (the very nature of the processing involved negates the nutritional value of even the healthiest ingredients), the Big Catch meal really takes the cake.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently analyzed the nutritional content of this meal, and found that it contains a whopping 33 grams of trans fat, and 3,700 milligrams of refined sodium.

The extensive trans fat content of this meal is due to Long John Silver’s deep-frying everything on the plate in partially hydrogenated oil. Many restaurants have stopped using this oil, due to lawsuits and public outcry. The great majority of doctors and nutritional experts agree that there are no safe levels of trans fats.

In a truly ironic statement, Long John Silver’s describes their Big Catch meal as ‘lean.’ This is greatly misleading. While the haddock used is itself a ‘lean’ fish, CSPI researchers found that underneath the breading, the fillet was approximately 60 percent fish, and 40 percent grease and batter.

Another danger of this entirely-deep fried meal is the acrylamides produced by deep-frying. Acrylamides are industrial chemicals which are used in paper and fabric manufacturing, as well as waste water treatment.

They are also produced when foods are cooked at high temperatures, such as in the case of deep-frying, especially if the oil is reused. Foods high in starch, such as grains and potatoes, have a high potential for acrylamide production.

Acrylamides have been linked to nerve damage, as well as cancer in lab animals. The Big Catch meal contains both flour batter and potatoes, so the dish is proverbially swimming in acrylamides. Long John Silver’s famous ‘Crumblies,’ found at the bottom of most of their plates, are nothing but deep-fried batter, an acrylamide base for an acrylamide-laden meal.

Another potential risk of dishes such as the Big Catch is the high gluten content of the wheat used for batter. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, gluten can cause health issues in a great number of people, even if they do not suffer from celiac disease.

Three million people in the United States suffer from celiac disease, or severe gluten intolerance, but Dr. Hyman suggests that up to one third of the entire American population may experience some level of gluten sensitivity, and many do not realize it.

fishA paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 conditions that could potentially be traced back to gluten. These include anemia, osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, fatigue, depression, schizophrenia, cancer, epilepsy, and a number of autoimmune diseases, to name only a few.

So, what’s a fish lover to do? The good news is, there are a number of ways to cook fish at home that celebrate its health benefits, including rich omega-3 fatty acid content, without adding dangerous chemicals to your dinner. Baking fish at a low temperature (around 350 degrees Fahrenheit), along with a few fresh herbs and a drizzle of organic coconut oil, is a wonderful and delicious option.

Another great summertime idea: grilling! Fish can be marinated in a mix of organic coconut or organic olive oil and herbs, perhaps with a little apple cider vinegar in the marinade, wrapped in foil, and tossed on the grill for a truly scrumptious outcome. Cedar planking is another great method of grilling fish. Add a few of your favorite vegetables, and you’re in for a treat!

-The Alternative Daily


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