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Friday, January 06, 2012

Fast Food Wars: Uno Chicago Grill

Uno Chicago Grill (formerly known as Pizzeria Uno) is the fifth and last pizza restaurant to be subjected to analysis in the Fast Food Wars. I decided to enter them into the competition because it is a place where many people across the U.S. go for pizza, despite the fact that they do not deliver. Of all the pizza restaurants that will be analyzed in the Great Pizza Battle, Uno Chicago Grill is the one that most typifies a standard sit-in dining restaurant with a broad menu. To keep the analyses fair and on the same level with the traditional pizza chains reviewed, the analyses listed below are limited to all pizzas (deep dish and thin crust pizza), appetizers, and deserts.
As a reminder, the analyses conducted below are based on a formula I created called the UHI (UnHealthy Index). The UHI is calculated by taking the six most common nutritional concerns that people have (total calories, saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and carbohydrates), adding them together, and dividing by six. Higher UHI scores reflect unhealthier foods and scores closer to zero (i.e., water) reflect healthier foods.

First, a word about pizza serving sizes at Uno Chicago Grill, which can be confusing if you examine the nutritional menu. The serving sizes for deep dish pizzas state Ind: 3 or Reg: 6. “Ind” means individual and “Reg” means regular. An individual pizza is 7 inches and a regular pizza is 10 inches. Each is sliced into 6 pieces. Thus, the serving size for an individual pizza is 2 slices and for a general pizza is 1 slice. For thin crust pizzas, the serving size is two slices.

UNHEALTHIEST FOODS OVERALL:

First, let’s start with the five foods on the Uno Chicago Grill menu with the highest UHI scores. The unhealthiest food you can purchase at Uno Chicago Grill in the above categories is the...

1. Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza. This is a pizza that contains sausage and pork. Each serving has 770 calories, 18 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 75 mg of cholesterol, 1640 mg of salt, and 40 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI score: 423.83

2. Numero Uno Deep Dish Pizza. This pizza contains sausage, pepperoni, pork, and brick. Total calories: = 640, saturated fat = 12 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 45 grams, sodium = 1200 mg, carbohydrates = 41 grams. Total UHI = 323.

3. Lobster BLT Thin Crust Pizza. Total calories = 510, saturated fat = 10 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 85 grams, sodium = 1160 mg, carbohydrates = 33 grams. Total UHI = 299.66.

4. Prima Pepperoni Deep Dish Pizza. Total calories = 610, saturated fat = 12 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 40 grams, sodium = 1040 mg, carbohydrates = 39 grams. Total UHI = 290.16.

5. The Chi Town Tasting Plate. Contains buffalo wings, avocado egg roll, chicken thumbs, crispy cheese dippers, and French fries. Total calories = 470, saturated fat = 6 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 85 grams, sodium = 1030 mg, carbohydrates = 28 grams. Total UHI = 269.83. Serving size = 5.

WORST ITEMS BY NUTRITIONAL CATEGORY:


Highest calories: 770 (Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza)

Highest saturated fat: 18 grams (Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza; Uno Deep Dish Sundae [serving size = 2]; Banana’s Foster [serving size = 1; Mega Sized Deep Dish Sundae [serving size = 5])

Highest trans fat: 0.5 grams (Cheeseburger Deep Dish Pizza). All other items analyzed in the above categories have no reported trans fat.

Highest cholesterol: 145 mg (Bread Pudding with caramel sauce, serving size = 2)

Highest sodium: 1640 mg (Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza)

Highest carbohydrates: 96 grams (Mini White Chocolate Chunk Deep Dish Sundae, serving size = 1)

UNHEALTHIEST APPETIZERS:

1. The Chi Town Tasting Plate. Contains buffalo wings, avocado egg roll, chicken thumbs, crispy cheese dippers, and French fries. Total calories = 470, saturated fat = 6 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 85 grams, sodium = 1030 mg, carbohydrates = 28 grams. Total UHI = 269.83. Serving size = 5.

2. Three Way Buffalo Wings. Total calories = 430, saturated fat = 8 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 135 grams, sodium = 970 mg, carbohydrates = 3 grams. Total UHI = 257.66. Serving size = 3.

3. Three Way Buffalo Bites. Total calories = 320, saturated fat = 2 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 60 grams, sodium = 1070 mg, carbohydrates = 20 grams. Total UHI = 245.33 Serving size = 3.

4. Muchos Nachos. Total calories = 460, saturated fat = 8 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 45 grams, sodium = 810 mg, carbohydrates = 54 grams. Total UHI = 229.5. Serving size = 3.

5. Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas. Total calories = 350, saturated fat = 8 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 40 grams, sodium = 890 mg, carbohydrates = 36 grams. Total UHI = 220.66. Serving size = 3.
   
UNHEALTHIEST DESSERTS:

1. Mini White Chocolate Chunk Deep Dish Sundae. Total calories = 660, saturated fat = 14 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 80 grams, sodium = 390 mg, carbohydrates = 96 grams. Total UHI = 206.67. Serving size = 1.

2. Uno Deep Dish Sundae. Total calories = 700, saturated fat = 18 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 70 grams, sodium = 310 mg, carbohydrates = 95 grams. Total UHI = 198.83 Serving size = 2.

3. Mega Sized Deep Dish Sundae. Total calories = 700, saturated fat = 18 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 70 grams, sodium = 310 mg, carbohydrates = 95 grams. Total UHI = 198.83 Serving size = 4.

4. Bananas Foster. Total calories = 640, saturated fat = 18 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 90 grams, sodium = 260 mg, carbohydrates = 82 grams. Total UHI = 181.66. Serving size = 1.

5. Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce. Total calories = 450, saturated fat = 16 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 145 grams, sodium = 330 mg, carbohydrates = 46 grams. Total UHI = 164.5. Serving size = 2.

KIDS MENU:

If you are going to get pizza from the Kids menu, the most unhealthy items is the Kids Pepperoni Pizza (UHI: 250.33) and the Kids Deep Dish Pepperoni Pizza (UHI: 249.83). The healthiest pizza on the kids menu is the Kids Cheese Pizza with a UHI of 219.83. The Kids Deep Dish Pizza comes in a close second with a UHI of 219.67.

SAUCES:

Uno Chicago Grill has eight sauces to choose from. The unhealthiest sauce is the Asian sauce, with a UHI of 139. This is because the sodium level is 710. The 2nd unhealthiest sauce is the Buffalo Garlic (UHI = 96.3) and the 3rd unhealthiest is the Buffalo Wing (UHI 88.83). The other sauces are relatively equivalent with UHIs in the 40s to 60s range. The healthiest sauce is the tamarind cashew sauce, which has a UHI of 41.66and is the only sauce with a UHI in the 40s. The serving size for the tamarind cashew sauce is 57 grams and the other sauces have a serving size of 43 grams.

HEALTHIEST FOODS OVERALL: (excluding sauces)

1. The healthiest item you can purchase at Uno Chicago Grill in the pizza, appetizers, or desert section is the

house made guacamole. It has only 235 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 230 mg of salt, and 32 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI: 82.25. Serving size = 2.

2. Mini Bananas Foster. This dessert has 350 calories, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 mg of cholesterol, 140 mg of salt, and 46 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI: 98.33. Serving size = 1.

3. Mini All American Apple Crumble. This dessert has 320 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 50 mg of cholesterol, 250 mg of salt, and 44 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI: 112. Serving size = 1.

4. Mini Hot Chocolate Brownie Sundae. This dessert has 370 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 mg of cholesterol, 190 mg of salt, and 54 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI: 113.66. Serving size = 1.

5. Avocado Egg Rolls. Each egg roll has 270 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 mg of cholesterol, 350 mg of salt, and 38 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI: 114.08. Serving size = 2.

HEALTHIEST PIZZAS OVERALL:

Now that you have a sense of which appetizers and desserts to steer towards, let’s move to the pizzas. The healthiest pizzas on the menu are all in the thin crust domain. According to the Chicago Uno restaurant I called, these pizzas are about 9 inches. For these pizzas, the serving size is two out of six slices. Rankings are as follows:

1. Thin Crust Roasted Eggplant Spinach & Feta . Total calories = 290, saturated fat = 3.5 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 15 grams, sodium = 560 mg, carbohydrates = 38 grams. Total UHI = 151.08.

2.Thin Crust Cheese & Tomato . Total calories = 280, saturated fat = 5 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 20 grams, sodium = 590 mg, carbohydrates = 33 grams. Total UHI = 154.66.

3. Thin Crust BBQ Chicken Multigrain. Total calories = 330, saturated fat = 4.5 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 40 grams, sodium = 550 mg, carbohydrates = 39 grams. Total UHI = 160.58.

4. Thin Crust BBQ Chicken. Total calories = 340, saturated fat = 5 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 40 grams, sodium = 660 mg, carbohydrates = 39 grams. Total UHI = 180.66.

5. Thin Crust Gluten Free Veggie. Total calories = 320, saturated fat = 4.5 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 15 grams, sodium = 710 mg, carbohydrates = 43 grams. Total UHI = 182.08.

Note: Soft drinks were not subject to analysis.

From the Uno Chicago Grill website:

All nutritional information is derived from a computer analysis of recipes with the help of "Genesis R&D SQL", nutrition and labeling software, from ESHA Research in Salem, Oregon and data from our suppliers. The nutrition information provided is based on standard recipes that may vary based on portion size, regional and seasonal differences in products or substitution of ingredients. This information is not to be used by individuals with special dietary needs in lieu of professional medical advice. The nutritional information is subject to change.

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