Why Chipotle Can Make You Fat

After examining thousands of online orders, the New York Times finds that meals from "fast casual" restaurants pack a lot of calories.

A New York Times report on “fast casual” restaurants shows that the meals from such establishments can really pile on the calories. In fact, one meal might have a day’s worth of calories or more.

The times looked at restaurants like Chipotle, which are a growing trend of restaurants where people can customize their orders by adding ingredients and toppings to sandwiches, burritos, and other meals.

Sampling 3,000 online orders from GrubHub.com to such stores, the Times tried to discern what people actually order at such restaurants and how healthily they eat. At Chipotle restaurants, they found that the typical order has about 1,070 calories, more than half of the calories that most adults are supposed consume a day. It found that a typical burrito, with the addition of cheese, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, rice and beans, can really pack on the calories. Even small orders, such as bowls and tacos can easily surpass 570 calories, says the Times. Additionally, such orders can really pack on the sodium and saturated fat.

The Times found that it was easy to surpass 2,000 calories when ordering at Chipotle and such orders are not unheard of, but said that 98% of the orders had less than that amount. Says the Times: 

"The easiest way to get there is to order chips and guacamole: 770 calories. You’ll also need to say yes to the toppings – like both cheese and sour cream on a burrito. After a meal like that, you typically will have already reached your daily recommended amount of saturated fat and salt. In most cases, you’ll be well on your way to tomorrow’s recommended intake, too."

Read the New York Times report here.

Cliff Weathers is a former senior editor at AlterNet and served as a deputy editor at Consumer Reports. Twitter @cliffweathers.

 

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