Health

Eating out? Best, worst choices

Updated 10:58 AM ET, Tue January 14, 2014
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Between oversized portions and the dizzying number of menu options, eating out can wreak havoc on your waistline, not to mention your overall health. David Zinczenko, who served as editor-in-chief of Men's Health for more than a decade, has a new book, "Eat It to Beat It!" We asked him to give us the best and worst options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and, of course, dessert. Zinczenko spoke about this topic with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on "Sanjay Gupta MD." "Eat It to Beat It" / Ballantine Books
Best hot restaurant breakfast: Panera Bread's Breakfast Power on whole grain has 340 calories, 15 grams fat, 920 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar and 16 grams protein. "A good balance of calories, protein and carbs, with more fiber than you find in most breakfast sandwiches," Zinczenko says. "Eat It to Beat It" / Ballantine Books
Worst hot restaurant breakfast: Perkins' Granny's country omelette has 1,980 calories, 78 grams fat, 5,790 milligrams sodium, 15 grams fiber, 50 grams sugar and 57 grams protein. "We're not sure where Granny's country is, but we think she may have spent her formative years in Fatslavia," Zinczenko says. "With a day's worth of calories and three days' worth of sodium, it may be time to revoke Granny's visa." Perkins Family Restaurant & Bakery declined to comment to CNN. "Eat It to Beat It" / Ballantine Books
Best "healthy" pizza: Pizza Hut's hand-tossed Veggie Lovers has 180 calories, 6 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat and 410 milligrams sodium per slice. "You'll need to exercise Pizza Hut's 'made to order' option," says Zinczenko, "but we chose the hand-tossed pie over Pizza Hut's thin-crust option. With the same number of calories per slice, the hand-tossed delivers less sodium, less sugar and more protein than its thinner cousin." "Eat It to Beat It" / Ballantine Books
Worst "healthy" pizza: Sbarro's broccoli, spinach and tomato pan pizza has 640 calories, 30 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat and 1,300 milligrams of sodium per slice. "Look at those nice Sbarro folks, offering up a healthy slice for mall shoppers everywhere! But don't be fooled," says Zinczenko. "You can put a stick of asparagus on a doughnut, but it's still a doughnut." Asked to comment, Sbarro told CNN: "We offer a variety of menu options to satisfy the appetites of all of our guests, from those seeking healthy options to those looking to indulge their cravings. While the Broccoli Spinach & Tomato Pan Pizza contains vegetable toppings, we never claimed or marketed this particular pizza as 'healthy.' For consumers looking for a lower calorie pizza option, we introduced the Sbarro Skinny Slice in January 2013, a 270 calorie slice made with a New York thin crust and premium vegetable toppings." "Eat It to Beat It" / Ballantine Books
Best restaurant burger: Wendy's junior cheeseburger deluxe has 350 calories, 19 grams fat, 830 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber, 7 grams sugar and 17 grams protein. Zinczenko says, "Swapping out a Dave's Hot & Juicy with cheese for a junior cheeseburger deluxe will save you 770 calories and more than 1,000 milligrams of sodium, the latter of which will be good for your blood pressure!" "Eat It to Beat It" / Ballantine Books
Worst restaurant burger: Ruby Tuesday's bacon cheese pretzel burger has 1,759 calories, 105 grams fat, 3,257 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber and 68 grams protein. "Order a burger at Ruby Tuesday and prepare for regret Wednesday," says Zinczenko. "Every burger there tops 1,200 calories, even their turkey burger. But the pretzel burgers deserve their own circle of hell. Consider that Jake's Wayback offers a triple triple burger with nine patties and nine slices of cheese and holds a contest every year challenging people to down one of these monstrosities. Yet Jake's creation has only 140 more calories and a third less sodium than Ruby's everyday entrée!" Multiple attempts at reaching Ruby Tuesday for comment were unsuccessful. "Eat It to Beat It" / Ballantine Books
Best restaurant dessert: Au Bon Pain's chocolate dipped cranberry almond coconut macaroon has 290 calories, 16 grams fat, 110 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber, 25 grams sugar and 4 grams protein. "Under 300 calories, with 2 grams of fiber and less than 30 grams of sugar. This is a restaurant dessert miracle," says Zinczenko. "Eat It to Beat It" / Ballantine Books
Worst restaurant dessert: Cheesecake Factory's chocolate tower truffle cake has 1,679 calories, 49 grams saturated fat, 970 milligrams sodium and 206 grams carbs. "'Trouble cake' is more like it," says Zinczenko. "This date-topper has as many calories as three Big Macs." The Cheesecake Factory told CNN: "With more than 250 menu items and more than 50 legendary desserts, The Cheesecake Factory has always been about choices. Many of our guests come in and want to celebrate without being concerned about calories. Others want to share their meals and their desserts. We love it when guests share -- that's a great sign that our portions are generous -- and a large percentage of our guests take home leftovers to enjoy the next day. For our calorie-conscious guests, we have our award-winning SkinnyLicious® Menu, featuring more than 50 delicious choices with 590 calories or less -- which is actually larger than many restaurants' entire menus. We believe there is truly something for everyone on our menu." "Eat It to Beat It" / Ballantine Books