Here's How Long John Silver's Is Tricking You

Fast food fish restaurant Long John Silver's isn't exactly known for serving up healthy meals. While many diners may think that fish is a lower calorie option compared to red meat, when that fish is fried, it loses a bit of its health luster. However, if you're dining at Long John Silver's, things may be even worse than you assume. Long John Silver's Big Catch meal — which includes fried fish, onion rings, and hushpuppies — was, at one point, called the "worst meal in America," all due to its unhealthy contents as uncovered by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), per NPR

The meal comes with 1,320 calories, 19 grams of saturated fat, 3,700 milligrams of sodium, and "more trans fats than you should eat in two weeks" (via CBS). But that's not what makes this meal particularly deceptive. Long John Silver's didn't make any health claims regarding the meal, but it did make claims about the meal's size, saying that the fish fillet included in the combo was a 7 to 8-ounce, 100% haddock fillet. That, the CSPI study found, was a lie.

So what was the fish instead?

Unfortunately, according to the CSPI and as CBS reported, the fillet featured in the Big Catch meal wasn't a 7 to 8-ounce, 100% haddock fillet at all. Sure, if you just plopped your piece of fried fish onto a food scale and weighed it, you'd get a measurement of somewhere around 7 to 8 ounces, but if you dug a little deeper, as CSPI did, you'd find that the fish fillet only made up about 4.5 ounces of the weight. The other 3 or so ounces were all taken up by fried batter and fat.

Beyond this, Long John Silver's was deceiving customers in other ways when it came to the Big Catch meal. CSPI found that the onion rings, which the restaurant's website said contained 7 grams of trans fat, actually contained nearly 20 grams of trans fat. So, what did Long John Silver's do in response? After the CSPI threatened to sue the brand, Long John Silver's discontinued the meal.