(NaturalNews) The Applebee's website is puzzlingly mum on the nutritional content of its food. On the surface, the franchise restaurant chain, with over 1,500 locations and a lengthy menu of mainstream American dishes, hardly seems mysterious. Yet on a nutritional level, advanced detective skills and a testing laboratory are needed to ferret out information about Applebee's food. Lacking those things, we gleaned what we could from their website to share information with readers. Decide for yourself whether Applebee's food can provide your body with the nutrition it deserves.
Although no one expects fried food to be healthy, you might be surprised at just how far those calories and fat grams can add up. Applebee's Crunchy Onion Rings appetizer contains 1,290 calories and 56 grams of fat. The chain's New England Fish and Chips meal comes in at 1,930 calories with 138 grams of fat. A further surprise is the sodium content for all these items: 3,620mg for the onion rings; 3,180 for the fish and chips.
Cheese and Meat
Most people know that red meat and cheese based dishes are rarely the healthiest choice on any menu. The chain's website lists their 12-ounce Ribeye Steak as containing 670 calories, 47 grams of fat and 950mg of sodium. Applebee's Riblets Basket holds between 1,050-1,180 calories along with 71-74 grams of fat and 2,720-3,340mg of sodium. Spicy Chili Cheese Nachos deliver 1,610 calories, 103 grams of fat and 4,270mg of sodium.
Applebee's has a section of entrees listed as "unbelievably great tasting and under 550 calories." Their Asiago Peppercorn Steak is only 380 calories but has 14 grams of fat and 1,520mg of sodium. On the same section of the menu, Applebee's Grilled Shrimp and Island Rice has a similar calorie count at 370, a much lower fat count (4.5g) but a whopping 1,990mg of sodium. Elsewhere on the menu, Applebee's offers Weight Watchers Chipotle Lime Chicken: 490 calories, 12 grams of fat and 4,990mg of sodium.
Soups and Salads
At most restaurants, soups and salads are relatively safe bets for healthy eating. Although Applebee's website lists 7 soup selections with a reasonable calorie range of 110-360 per serving, the sodium contents for the soups range from 860-1,400mg. The restaurant offers an impressive range of salads, available in half portions, with or without dressing. The lowest sodium content is in their house salad, at only 380mg. Many of their salads, even without dressing, are listed as containing 500mg of sodium or more. Some salads have a sodium content of over 3,000mg.
The items on Applebee's Kid's Menu show a similar nutritional profile to the rest of the chain's offerings. Fried Shrimp are 230 calories, 14 grams of fat and 540mg of sodium. The Chicken Tenders are 240 calories, 14 grams of fat and 600 mg of sodium.
What are you really eating at Applebee's? It's a mystery...
Strangely, Applebee's website fails to provide any information about whether they use ingredients like MSG, partially-hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup or if they use GMO products. They also do not list sugar content for any items, including desserts. This means dining at Applebee's is a bit like walking blind through a nutritional minefield.