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Fat Lovers Beware!
By : Erica Goodstone, Ph.D.

Are you one of those people who love to eat meals out at restaurants several times every week? Do you justify it by saying that the prices are quite reasonable and there are lots of healthy choices? And are you consciously making healthy choices?
You may honestly believe that you are eating healthy food but fat lovers beware! There is so much unconscionable fat in some of the most appealing and even innocent-looking food.
So, you have a salad at your local pub every day for lunch or dinner. Good for you - maybe! Lettuce, of course, is always good because it has fiber and very few, if any, calories. But if you just have iceberg lettuce and no additional vegetables, you are not getting your much needed vitamins and minerals.
Now, as most of us have become accustomed to doing, you can add all sorts of goodies to make the lettuce more palatable. For example, you might add tuna salad. Seems harmless, right? Wrong. The amount of fat-filled mayonnaise in a simple serving of tuna salad at most salad bars would astound you. It could be equivalent to gulping down 4 or 5 pats of pure butter.
And, why not add to that all sorts of vegetables

  • celery, carrots, cucumber, tomato, peppers (good start)
  • shiny green beans that have been dipped in oil (first hint of fat)
  • savory olives (filled with good fat, so it can't hurt, right?)
  • broccoli doused in delicious cream sauce (filled with, you guessed it, oil!)
  • cole slaw (dripping in fat, perhaps oil rather than mayonnaise)
  • potato salad (high glycemic carbohydrate steeped in mayonnaise or oil)

Add some protein

  • breaded fish or chicken (fried in oil with added carbohydrate)
  • chicken with its skin or piece of steak (more fat)
  • turkey (healthy, right? Perhaps, but it usually has high salt content which helps you to retain water and is certainly not good for high blood pressure)

Now, top it off with some additional items

  • croutons (stale, dried bread with lots of salt and seasonings)
  • bacon bits (if real bacon, filled with fat; if artificial, filled with salt)
  • cheese, lots of diced or shredded cheese (more artery clogging fat)

And finish the salad off with a heaping of several tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing (filled with fat, sugar, salt and artificial chemical ingredients)
Not only have you fooled yourself into thinking you have eaten a truly healthy, diet conscious meal, but you find yourself hungry only a few hours later. What happens then? If you're like me and most of the people I know, when that snack attack comes, you snack. On what? You snack on whatever is available or whatever you have become accustomed to eating when the craving strikes.
If you've been fooling yourself, like I have on numerous occasions, allowing your conscious self to believe that you are eating well and cannot understand why your clothing is tight fitting and the scale numbers keep going up, then it is time to take a look at a good old fashioned calorie counter. Discover for yourself what ingredients you have been consuming in the name of eating a healthy salad, a healthy snack or a nutritionally sound balanced meal.
You may never quite view salad or a salad bar in the same way again.