Friday, June 28, 2013

Buffets, Inc. Does Not Want You to Count Carbs

Just about all of the buffet chains have a nutrition chart on their websites. The Buffets, Inc. restaurants' websites do have a nutrition chart but they are missing a very important column - the carbohydrate counts for each of their food items. This is an interesting deletion as all of the other standard counts are there. So why is this a problem? The Buffets, Inc. buffets include Old Country Buffet, Ryan's Buffet, Hometown Buffet, Fire Mountain Buffets, and a chain called Grannies Buffets.

Most Diabetics need to count carbohydrates, whether exactly or approximately. They are necessary to  determine how much insulin a Type I Diabetic needs to take before a meal. They are necessary for Type II Diabetics to know to make positive food choices when they eat.  Many watching their weight or on a weight control diet also count carbs. Lowering one's carbohydrate intake will result in weight loss. There are carbs in many foods - and very often those carbs are hidden or are in prepared foods that one would not expect them to be in. What is a hidden carb - some recipes for "low fat" foods substitute a carbohydrate for the fat.  For example, most low fat salad dressings have much more carbohydrates in them than the regular fat included original. Calorie counts don't help. Many low calorie so called "diet" or "sugar free" foods have high carbohydrate counts. It has to be carbs on the chart to make meaningful choices.

So what is a carbohydrate? The most obvious is sugar, but flour, bread, pasta, potatoes, fruits (fresh or processed), starch, beans, many vegetables and many other foods all have carbohydrates. And a low carbohydrate diet is just that - low - and not no carbs. One can make choices when one knows the quantity of carbs in a food serving to still enjoy many carb containing foods in a reasonable and known quantity. And doing this is not a problem in any of the other buffet chains like Golden Corral or for that matter most of the non-buffet chain restaurants. They all have carb counts per specified quantity  listed on their nutrition charts.

I have no idea why Buffets Inc. has chosen to exclude carbs in their nutrition counts. A number of years ago, carbs were on the Old Country Buffet nutrition chart, and then they were gone. Could it be that if their patrons knew how many carbs are in their foods, they would not come and eat there?

I have found at OCB that foods that do not need to be covered in sweet sauces, are swimming in them - this adds carbs to a food that would be perfectly fine without the sauce - and the sauce could be offered on the side to add to your own taste. Some of these foods would have no carbs on their own, but once the sauce goes on, the carb count (if they revealed it) would be high. Meats that have not been processed (added to like sausage or hot dogs or made part of a recipe) have 0 carbs, but add seasonings with sugar or starch and now a 0 carb meat becomes a food containing carbs. All we need to know is how many carbs to make a proper choice. We were at an OCB recently and one of the meat dishes ran out and out came a tray of smoked sausage which is one of my favorite items at OCB - and often is not put on the dinner menu any longer. Well, the tray of smoked sausage was covered in a thick red/yellow sugar sauce. Now, smoked sausage has some carbs on its own - but with that sauce it became a super high carb dish.

So, if Buffets, Inc. is reading this (and I always suspect that they are - and that is fine!) put carbohydrate counts back on your nutrition charts! Many of us really do need to know!

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