PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New research out of Philadelphia shows that a meal at a sit-down restaurant may be just as bad — or worse — for your health than eating fast food.

The study, which focused on chains such as Ruby Tuesday and Applebee’s in the Philadelphia area, aimed to assess the nutritional value of restaurant meals.

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Researchers from Drexel and Penn say they analyzed the nutritional content of 2,615 items from 21 chains and then compared them to United States Department of Agriculture guidelines.

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The typical restaurant meal (including an entrée, a side and half an appetizer) clocked in at a whopping 1,495 calories and 28 grams of saturated fat. And while meals deemed “healthy” options by the restaurants fared slightly better, they were still well over the guidelines for daily sodium intake and low in fiber.

The researchers’ conclusions? “Foods served at full-service restaurant chains are high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Standard definitions are needed for ‘healthy choice’ tags and for entrees targeted to vulnerable age groups.”

To see the full study, click here.

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