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JLeslie's avatar

Are you tired of restaurants having fatty foods?

Asked by JLeslie (56542points) September 23rd, 2018 from iPhone

This is partly me griping, and partly true curiosity wondering how others feel about the topic.

I’m so tired of so much oil and butter in restaurant food. I not only am fearful of how it is most likely shortening my life, but I don’t even like how it tastes. Do you feel the same way?

Examples you might not even be aware of: Outback’s steamed vegetables are steamed in butter! Most steak places finish their steaks by putting a hunk of butter on top before serving. Grilled fish is often basted with butter. The Japanese fried rice at hibachi places is often made with a hunk of butter added. Omelets are often made with a lot more fat than you would expect. Some restaurants butter the pasta before adding red sauce on top.

Do you know anyone who consistently eats out 5 times a week or more who isn’t overweight?

I worry more about my cardiovascular system than my waistline, and I’m just annoyed. Some cities have better and more options than others.

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39 Answers

Kardamom's avatar

I guess I really never think about it. Being a vegetarian makes eating out a challenge most of the time. At “regular” restaurants, I usually have to resort to the iceberg lettuce salad with mealy pink tomatoes and overly thick cut slices of cucumbers, and stale croutons. If I am lucky, there will be a veggie burger on the menu.

When it’s my choice to eat out somewhere, I usually pick a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, or a restaurant that specializes in some sort of “ethnic” fare that has a lot of vegetarian options such as Indian, Lebanese, Greek, or some Vietnamese restaurants (think vegetable filled fresh spring rolls). There’s not a lot of butter or fat in these types of foods, although there can be ghee in Indian food, but it is loaded up with so much fiber and veggies, that it probably isn’t too much of a problem.

My go to cuisine is Mexican. I have to be careful and ask lots of questions when I go to a new Mexican restaurant, because most beans contain lard, most rice contains chicken broth, and sometimes even the tortillas have lard. My biggest problem with Mexican cuisine is that the vegetarian options usually contain lots of cheese, but at least I am aware of that up front.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

No. Thats the whole point of ordering out for me.

Zaku's avatar

I think I probably have been avoiding the type of restaurant you mean most/all of my life. My parents learned about good food around the time I was born and developed progressively better taste in food, and I did too and spent most of my time in places with good restaurants.

I’ve never been to Outback.

I tend to try to go to really good and relatively healthy restaurants, for the most part.

JLeslie's avatar

@Zaku I rarely go to Outback, it was just an example, but my guess is a lot of restaurants do similar.

Last night I went to a very nice seafood restaurant. Everything was soaking in butter. Even my rice was greasy, but I don’t know if it was all butter, or if they use a lot of oil. My MIL uses a lot of oil in her rice compared to me. Here’s last nught’s restaurant link It doesn’t claim to be healthy or health food, but it’s not chain level food like Chili’s or Outback.

The Japanese restaurants can be chain or mom and pop, they all seem to use butter in their fried rice, so I now almost always get steamed rice. Sometimes, I order fried rice no butter if they are cooking in front of me. Mind you it’s not fried in butter, the butter is added somewhat towards the end of cooking. Most of the time I think most patrons have no idea how much fat is in the restaurant food they’re eating.

mazingerz88's avatar

All this buttering is bothering.

JLeslie's avatar

@Kardamom I meant to write to you that for me a lot of butter and fat doesn’t get balanced out or negated just because there is a lot of fiber in a dish. All the fat and butter I might as well eat a grilled steak and veggies on the side when it comes to health (I assume you are vegetarian mostly for humane reasons, but I’ve never asked you).

When I eat vegetarian food that doesn’t have obvious animal fat, I especially want it to be healthier, and hopefully not add too much to my waistline, so if it’s not I find it annoying. For instance dishes with lots of cheese, or a heavy cream sauce, it’s obvious it’s got a lot of animal fat, but items that you have no idea they are adding a quarter stick of butter, that’s what bothers me.

snowberry's avatar

Not a problem. I’m allergic to dairy, most grains, vinegar, mushrooms, and cane sugar, to name a few. I always order my cooked vegetables steamed with no butter. Likewise the baked sweet potato. I order it naked. I have learned that squeezing lemon or lime all over the baked sweet potato is pretty tasty.

I generally don’t enjoy going out to eat.

canidmajor's avatar

What restaurants do to prepare their food doesn’t bother me (unless it violates the health codes, obviously) because I choose where and what I eat (when out) carefully.

Unless you live in a place with a dearth of restaurants such choice should be feasible for anyone.

And yes, I know a number of people who, because of their work circumstances, eat at restaurants at least 5 times a week and are not overweight.
Again, it’s about choice. I don’t eat at rib joints or steak houses, I don’t order fried rice.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor The point is ordering something that should seemingly not have ingredients that add fat or cholesterol.

If you ordered steamed vegetables do you assume it was made in butter if the menu doesn’t say it? Or, you just know everything about how each restaurant prepares their food? If you order grilled fish do you expect that it’s basted in butter? I think of grilled as sans addition fats unless it was marinated, which sometimes has some oil in the marinade.

Most Americans don’t fry white rice in oil before adding the water, my MIL does, and so do some restaurants. That’s her plain white rice. I do add a little oil to my boiling rice, but the difference in the amount of oil is quite a bit. Asian fried rice is a different thing altogether. That is fried once the plain rice is already prepared. It’s well known Chinese food has a ton of fat, I don’t think Japanese food in necessarily quite as heavy a hand with the oil for cooking, maybe it is, but then they add butter for flavor, in my opinion totally unnecessary, but even if people would miss the flavor, the amount is always much more than necessary in my opinion.

So, you know all of that already? Or, you ask at every meal how is it prepared? Do they add butter? Etc.

Where are you eating? Asian, Greek? Vegan? Where are these restaurants that you know they prepare everything without extra fat that you don’t know about?

Plus, my point is, I’m sick of it at mainstream restaurants, I don’t want to have to go to a vegan restaurant for low cholesterol low fat, and even vegan restaurants can be incredibly greasy. There is a restaurant in Winter Park, FL that has a lot of deep fried and otherwise greasy foods, and it’s a very popular vegan restaurant. The menu and food is very good and interesting except for too greasy.

The omelet line here in a popular buffet breakfast they put a ton of oil, then the veggies, then more oil, then the egg. I bet restaurants all over make it like that in the back. They are using many times more fat than necessary for the egg not to stick. You don’t know how much fat they are using if you don’t see them cook it.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, @JLeslie, I answered your Q, I’m not going to spend a half hour listing the places I eat.
Where I eat, the steamed veg are steamed. I can tell that butter or oil is not added.
I also know that I have no idea how/where they source their food. I expect that there is more butter/oil in restaurant food (it enhances the flavor, after all) so I compensate.

Unless they specify that no butter/oil has been added, I don’t assume that no butter/oil has been added.

So, to reiterate, no, I am not tired of restaurants having fatty foods, because I mostly choose not to eat at places where I don’t have enough choices.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor The steamed vegetables at Outback are steamed in butter. It’s not an obvious butter flavor, because it has additional flavoring with salt and spices. When you wrote steamed in italics do you mean you know it might be steamed in butter? Maybe you can tell by taste once you have the veg on your plate, but my point still is it’s misleading and frustrating, because steamed to me means steamed using water without fat added, not even added afterwards before being served to me, and everyone I ask seems to assume the same thing. Maybe you’re different.

Edit: I just went through this with a friend and she insisted I was wrong, until the restaurant confirmed I was right. She likes Outback, we just went last week. I hadn’t been there in two years.

chyna's avatar

I very seldom eat out. This seems to really bother you, so stop eating out so much.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna I eat out 1–2 times a week. I order similar to @snowberry usually. Baked potato dry, sauce on the side, etc.

canidmajor's avatar

I don’t eat at Outback. I have never had steamed veg anywhere that weren’t steamed in water, unless they specified.
I have a lot of restaurant choices near me.
Maybe you don’t, I don’t know, but I covered that in my first post.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor My point is sometimes it’s very far from obvious how foods are prepared.

Think about it like this, people seem to be upset school lunches don’t have healthier options, and that low income areas have trouble getting healthy foods in grocery stores and restaurants, and now I’m pointing out even middle and upper income can be fattening and unhealthy too, even when it’s not obvious.

chyna's avatar

Then why do you seem very angry about this?

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna I don’t know if I’m very angry, but how much do you like to go to dinner with someone who asks the waitress a lot of questions, or changes a meal a lot to make it healthier?

Also, why is it so hard for the restaurants to have a reasonable hand with fats? I know chefs are taught to add fat for satiety factor, but it seem extreme to me. America is fat and dying or at minimum needing a lot of pills and medical help to stay alive.

Look at my second paragraph just above your last answer to me that I wrote @canidmajor, the second paragraph.

canidmajor's avatar

From my second post: “Unless they specify that no butter/oil has been added, I don’t assume that no butter/oil has been added.”

Really, that covers it. I eat in restaurants to enjoy a meal out with friends. On the rare rare occasions that I am compelled to eat in a restaurant, I just don’t spend time worrying about how the food is prepared, as long as it’s at all palatable. I assume that they add much more fat and salt than I do at home, then I compensate with how I eat the rest of the time.

My first post covered this. I simply didn’t agree with you, I wasn’t arguing.

Stuff that bothers you doesn’t bother me. That simple.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor Ok. So, I interpret that as steamed vegetables that have butter are just fine with you and not surprising. Got it now.

canidmajor's avatar

Oh, for pete’s sake, @JLeslie, interpret whatever you want as you want. I never said that, but you don’t want anyone to disagree with you.
And, BTW, comparing the school lunch programs for poor kids to having enough money to have choices when one eats in restaurants, is just, flat-out, egregious.

My first post answered your Q. That’s enough. I am out.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

My cholesterol is not out of normal range, I’d rather butter than margarine.

Starch, over-processed food and sugar are bad.

janbb's avatar

You can’t steam in butter. Steaming by definition is cooking in hot water; that’s what makes the steam. I don’t eat out that often and when I do, I figure the food has more fat than I usually eat and so, like @canidmajor, I compensate by what I eat at home.

Perhaps a vegan restaurant would be more to your taste @JLeslie ?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Maybe a Japanese diet would be best, a diet high in grains and vegetables, with moderate amounts of animal products and soy but minimal dairy and fruit.
Japanese diet is traditionally high in soy and fish !

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb I agree you can’t steam in butter. What they do from what I understand is steam the veggies in a bag (I guess) and the flavoring is in the butter. Like when you buy frozen food and there are pieces of frozen sauce or butter. It’s total bullshit that they call it steamed on the menu, but they do. It misleading to me, because that implies to me no added fat (are you agreeing with that?). When I ask they say “steamed in butter” or “steamed with butter,” depending on who you ask. I’ve asked three times now at Outback, the original time a few years ago when I could tell they weren’t simply steamed in water, another time when I ordered veg I asked if it can be no butter, and now recently with my girlfriend who insisted I was wrong, but we both were curious to see if I had misunderstood, so we asked.

I don’t like vegan restaurants very much typically, but I can always find something. Plus, they aren’t conducive for eating out with a lot of people. Moreover, I linked a vegan restaurant I’ve been to several times, they use a lot of oil too at that particular restaurant, I know that’s not always the case. I just would like excess oil and fat not used so much. It’s not good for anyone. I do really like having vegan options on a menu though.

You’re making me remember one time I went out with my BIL’s and my sister to a steak restaurant in NYC. The place had cows on the window, my BIL had suggested it. My sister has been vegan for almost 30 years. My BIL assured me there were items on the menu for her. She got a bell peoper salad of sorts (not a lettuce salad) and it was DELICIOUS. She loved it, and I took a taste and couldn’t believe how good it was. Very light dressing. Who’d a thunk it there. Except that it’s NYC.

@canidmajor You can’t get mad at me for how I interpret what you said. I’m not accusing you of stating anything, I’m paraphrasing to clarify. If I understood incorrectly it’s not something to be angry about, I’m trying to understand your answer not argue with you.

Maybe someone else can explain to me what you meant.

Another jelly at the top said he doesn’t mind and that’s why he eats out. That’s fine with me. I’m not annoyed if someone disagrees with me.

raum's avatar

I think you’re eating at the wrong restaurants.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

We don’t eat out much, I actually enjoy cooking. There are so many restaurants here and it seems like an absurd number of families eat out every day (and it shows). There are a couple very good local places that tell you exactly how they source their food and aside from the Benton’s bacon they serve with some meals it’s all as healthy as you can get.

janbb's avatar

I just got reminded of an old Jewish joke:

One woman says to another, “We just got back from the Catskills.”

Her friend asks, “Really? And how was the food?”

“Terrible! And such small portions!”

Kardamom's avatar

I guess you just have to act like me and my friends, one of whom has multiple food allergies, and is also vegetarian.

You ask lots of questions. You get used to asking lots of questions.

Most wait staff are happy to answer, or if they aren’t sure, I have them ask the chef to find out. I explain why, my friend with the food allergies explains why. No ine has ever screamed at us or tried to have us thrown out because we asked about how a dish was prepared.

Then you keep a running list of restaurants that have “safe” dishes. It shouldn’t be as big as a problem as this seems to be.

Or, move to Los Angeles or San Francisco. There are tons of restaurants that serve delicious, healthy, farm to table food, and the menus are designed to make you understand what is actually in them.

And you can just ask.

snowberry's avatar

I am learning to frequent restaurants that are happy to re-invent dishes to accommodate my food allergies. IHOP is the worst, by the way. If it isn’t on their menu, do not expect them to alter the recipe in any way. Apparently their “chefs” just don’t have the brain capacity. Or maybe it’s their policy to never accommodate people with allergies. Ha!

Kardamom's avatar

One of my favorite restaurants on earth is a vegan Chinese restaurant in Arcadia (Los Angeles County) called Bean Sprouts:

There is no butter being used here and all of the Chinese delicacies are similar to what you would find at a “regular” Chinese restaurant. You could easily bring “normal” people to this restaurant, if they like Chinese food. People are pleasantly surprised to find out that not all vegan food is a jiggling block of tofu sitting on a bed of alfalfa sprouts.

Another excellent vegan restaurant is in North Hollywood, called Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen: No raw carrot sticks in sight.

And then there’s M Cafe in Hollywood. This place serves up some of the most beautiful plates of food I have ever seen, and it is one of the healthiest restaurants I have ever eaten at. This place is mostly vegan/vegetarian with some fish dishes. And it’s a geeat place to spot celebrities. It’s in Hollywood, and just a nice unassuming little place. M Cafe:

Maybe yours and your husband’s next venture could be to start a healthy, but delicious restaurant or food truck.

josie's avatar

Exactly the reason I cook for myself
I rarely eat out

JLeslie's avatar

@Kardamom Oh, I do ask, that’s how I know these things. Other people live in ignorant bliss, which is fine. Those people might have great genes, or just not care when they eat out, or don’t have any dietary concerns. All fine, their prerogative.

You can watch a cooking show, like one of those with Chef Ramsay, and see how much butter is dumped into so many dishes even in fine restaurants, it’s not like it’s only because I mentioned moderate level chain restaurants.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Butter is not bad @JLeslie. It is only bad in your opinion.
Low fat diets cons
Reduced fat in youngsters diets can cause neurological damage because nerves need fats to insulate the nerves.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I’m not talking about children, don’t worry they eat plenty of chicken tenders and hot dogs, and they are not at Ruth’s Chris eating a steak topped in butter, or eating the trout with asparagus and rice that I had the other night. I don’t even mind that Ruth’s Chris puts butter on their steak, because they are known for it, but I do really mind “steamed” veggies being doused in butter. It’s misleading.

Americans on average eat a ton of fat. I’m not talking about low fat, just not wanting excessive fat.

Pretty much most cardiologists are going to tell you Americans eat too much fat and cholesterol. I know the knew thing is cholesterol won’t hurt you, but a whole bunch of people are on cholesterol lowering drugs, so there is all sorts of disagreement on the topic. Cardiologists and internists in America still overwhelmingly are not ok with high cholesterol numbers.

If people cut out fat and add in sugar and carbs, and the calories are still up there, of course they still gain weight, and the whole insulin thing seemingly comes into play.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Carbs are BAD !

Your fat obsession is your opinion.

JLeslie's avatar

^^My opinion not only for my health, but the opinion of my taste buds (I’ve never liked very greasy or butter food) and the opinion of most doctors. However, I do agree that there is a whole portion of the population who can eat all sorts of fatty foods and seem to have no problem with it, including their cardiac blood tests.

Meanwhile, my main disgust throughout the Q is marketing foods one way, and it’s not obvious what is in the food to the point of it practically being deceptive, but deceptive might be too strong a word.

Steamed implies just water vapor. Someone reminded me that people had assumed for years McDonald’s French fries were a vegetarian choice in the McD’s menu back in the day, but they used beef in the fat way back in the day. It’s up to the consumer who has food restrictions to find out what is in the food, but some things just annoy me more than others. The steamed thing annoys me more than the French fries, because McD’s never marketed the fries as vegetarian, but it’s still kind of annoying, because I think most people had assumed they were. I guess the vegetarian community probably knew better.

Anyway, you are entitled to your opinion, that’s what my Q is about, and you obviously don’t have a problem with all the fat added in restaurants, so that’s fine.

notsoblond's avatar

I haven’t had this problem dining out but then I don’t frequent national chain restaurants. We visit locally owned restaurants.

Dutchess_III's avatar

MOST people respond favorably to added fats. Usually they don’t even consciously realize it. Ergo, restaurants are going to keep serving those dishes that sell to the majority. I am sorry, but your preferences don’t overrule the majority, and I don’t understand why you complain about this so much, like they need to change how they serve the food.
The fix is very easy: If you don’t want the fat content, order your foods accordingly. Research them on line before you go out.

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