Long John Silver’s serves America’s fattiest meal, consumer group charges

Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that a meal of fried fish, onion rings, and hush puppies is bad for you. But a consumer group this week slammed Long John Silver's “Big Catch Meal” as worse for your health than almost anything else you could possibly eat.

Lab tests released Monday found that the fast-seafood joint’s signature meal holds a whopping 33 grams of trans fat and 1,320 calories. That’s 16 times the maximum amount of trans fat that you should get daily, the American Heart Association says. The Center for Science in the Public Interest calls that the quickest way to clog your arteries in the fast food business.

Long John Silver’s uses partially hydrogenated frying oil, which the group says most restaurants have nixed from their ingredients thanks to lawsuits and government restrictions.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Dr. Walter Willett, who runs the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a statement posted on the center’s website that this kind of oil should be obsolete by now:

“It might have been defensible to use hydrogenated oil in the 1980s, before trans fat’s harmfulness was discovered, but no longer. It is outrageous that Long John Silver’s foods are still loaded with artificial trans fat and that the FDA still permits it in foods.”

A refresher on trans fats: they raise bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower good cholesterol (HDL). Your body treats trans fats like saturated fats, which we know can raise your risk of heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

The Long John Silver’s on Veterans of Foreign Wars Parkway in Boston could not immediately be reached for comment. But the food chain posted a statement on its website saying in part, “Big Catch is a limited time only special that delivers tremendous value to value hungry consumers. The Big Catch can be paired with a variety of side items including corn, green beans, rice, cole slaw, fries, onion rings and hushpuppies.”

“Instead of the Big Catch,” Michael Jacobson, executive director of the consumer group, said in its statement, “I’d call it America’s Deadliest Catch.”