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CNN Today

Center for Science in the Public Interest Finds Much Greek Food Is Too Fatty

Aired October 24, 2000 - 1:09 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, if it's lunchtime for you, we want to tell you that the healthy-eating police are targeting yet another food favorite.

Elizabeth Cohen is here to tell us that the Center for Science in the Public Interest has dissected the Greek cuisine, and put down that Greek salad, huh, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it just never stops, does it?

ALLEN: It doesn't. You know, we have got to be educated.

COHEN: That is right. Another day, another ethnic food being on the chopping block.

Let's go right to the numbers for the fat and calorie numbers for various Greek dishes. For example, if you take a look at spinach pie, spina kopita (ph), 410 calories, 24 grams of fat. That is as much fat as a Burger King bacon cheeseburger. Take a look at a gyro sandwich, 760 calories, 44 grams of fat. That's as much as one of those new hefty McDonald's Big Extra hamburgers.

But, now take a look at chicken kebobs. Breathe a sigh of relief, 260 calories, eight grams of fat. That's about as much as a fast food broiler chicken sandwich, hold the mayo.

ALLEN: Of course.

COHEN: And even salads didn't stay out of the fray. If you take a look here at this entree-sized Greek salad, you will see two things of dressing. That has about 30 grams of fat, which is about the same as a Quarter Pounder with cheese.

ALLEN: Just the dressing?

COHEN: No, the whole thing with the dressing. So, of course, what you can do is you can just not use all of this dressing. Or not use any of it and take off some of the feta cheese. So, that's what CSPI suggests. Take off the fatty stuff or share portions with a friend.

ALLEN: That is the whole fun of the Greek salad. COHEN: I know. I know. It just depends how much you need to lose weight or how much you want to avoid artery clogging fat.

ALLEN: Usually, though, you said kebobs are usually your safe bet, no matter what.

COHEN: Right, and some of it stands to common sense. I mean, if you see something with lots of salad dressing, you can pretty much bet that that is not a good thing. However, a kebob, just those, you know, naked pieces of chicken with tomatoes or whatever else, that is not so bad.

ALLEN: Or have a luscious Greek salad with lettuce, tomato and cucumber and a little piece of feta.

There is no stopping these people that are out there trying to help us out, is there? I mean, they have conquered a lot of battles for people.

COHEN: They have, movie popcorn, Chinese food, Italian food. This group, Center for Science in the Public Interest, their theory is that there is no labels at restaurants. You can't ask: Gee, how much fat in this moussaka. You actually have to have someone go to a lab, take it to a lab and analyze it for you, which is what they have done.

So, even though people get extremely annoyed with them, their theory is that Americans are eating out more and more often. And so, they went and took some of the most popular foods and then sent them to a lab and analyzed them. And they say they are helping us.

ALLEN: And you can imagine, for the people at home, if the Greek salad is this dangerous, what the desserts are like.

COHEN: We won't even go there.

ALLEN: They're all just awful. So, if you go to a Greek festival, just do a lot of dancing.

COHEN: Right, exactly, dance for an hour, eat for five minutes.

ALLEN: Thanks, Elizabeth.

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