Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, said the 33 grams of trans fat found in the Big Catch meal, all came from industrially produced partially hydrogenated frying oil.
The American Heart Association recommends people limit themselves to about 2 grams of trans fat per day and most major fast food chains stopped using partially hydrogenated oil altogether, Jacobson said.
"Trans fat from partially hydrogenated oil is a uniquely damaging substance that raises your bad cholesterol, lowers your good cholesterol, and harms the cells that line your blood vessels," Walter C. Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a statement. "It might have been defensible to use hydrogenated oil in the 1980s, before trans fat's harmfulness was discovered, but no longer."
Jacobson said the group's analysis also found Long John Silver's website overstated the amount of actual fish in the Big Catch meal.
Although the restaurant chain bills the meal as: "The largest fish we have ever offered, weighing in at 7 ounces to 8 ounces of 100-percent premium haddock caught in the icy waters of the North Atlantic," the CSPI found after they removed the batter from the fish, they found an average of about 4.5 oz. of fish and almost 3 ounces of oil-soaked batter.
"It turns out that when Long John Silver's says 7 oz. to 8 oz. of 100 percent haddock, it's more like 60 percent haddock, and 40 percent batter and grease," Jacobson said. "Nutrition aside, that's just plain piracy."