Filed Under: Food Police Food Scares

Italian-Food Freakout From a Familiar Face

Food Police BadgeWe’ve criticized the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in the past for its propaganda tactics. CSPI is home to wild, press-bait claims, like its classic scare that fettuccine alfredo is a “heart attack on a plate.” Repeated cries of “wolf on your plate” mean CSPI is now known more for its laughable claims than its science.

The latest scare comes in CSPI’s “Chow Italiano” report, a hit-job against Italian-style dining. In its typical fashion, CSPI highlights high-calorie, high-fat dishes, as if the helpful waiter is shoving cheese and pasta down diners’ throats.

But in keeping with its Puritanical agenda CSPI fails to emphasize that restaurants give you a choice. Olive Garden, bashed in the report, has a “Lighter Italian Fare” menu with (among other dishes) a 440 calorie filet mignon, and a lasagna primavera with chicken for just 560 calories. And besides, as a Maggiano’s spokesperson noted, take-home boxes exist for a reason.

No restaurant is forcing fatty foods down your throat, but restaurateurs are giving you the option to eat what you want. Different people like different dishes, and some people can afford the extra calories because they have an active lifestyle. Restaurants stay in business by offering food that people want to order. If they only offer “CSPI approved” menu items, we doubt they’ll be in business for long.

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