The food police have done it again. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has named the annual “winners” of its 2013 annual Xtreme Eating Awards.
When you’re ready to chuck your New Year’s resolutions, throw in the towel and drown your sorrows in sugar and saturated fat, these are the places to go.
Keep in mind as you read below that typical diet advice for a day calls for eating no more than 2,000 calories, 20 grams of saturated fat, 1,500 mg of sodium and six to nine teaspoons of added sugar. Here’s how the winners earned their Xtreme Eating Awards:
1. The Cheesecake Factory’s most caloric entrée is the Bistro Shrimp Pasta with mushrooms, tomato, and arugula. It may sound healthy but at 3,120 calories and 89 grams of saturated fat, CSPI says it’s the nutritional equivalent of three orders of lasagna at Olive Garden - plus an order of tiramisu.
2. Also making the list from The Cheesecake Factory is Crispy Chicken Costoletta, crammed with more than a full day’s worth of calories (2,610), five days worth of saturated fat (89 grams) and a day and a half’s worth of sodium (2,720 mg). The breaded and fried chicken dinner comes with three-quarters of a pound of mashed potatoes with lemon, butter, and cream. The whole meal is equivalent to a 12-piece bucket of KFC fried chicken.
3. Johnny Rockets' Bacon Cheddar Double burger meal could run you 3,500 calories (two day’s worth for most women watching their weight) when you order the Sweet Potato Fries (sweet potatoes are healthy, aren’t they?) and a Big Apple Shake - a milkshake that whirls in a slice of apple pie. According to CSPI, it’s like eating three McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with Cheese, a large fries, a medium shake, and 2 Baked Apple Pies.
4. IHOP won for its Country Fried Steak & Eggs consisting of deep-fried steak with gravy, two fried eggs, deep-fried potatoes, and two buttermilk pancakes. CSPI says that’s like having five McDonald’s Egg McMuffins sprinkled with 10 packets of sugar. Yum.
5. Uno Chicago Grill piles four cups of pasta in its Deep Dish Macaroni & 3-Cheese and tops it with cheddar, Parmesan, and Romano cheeses and an Alfredo sauce made from heavy cream, cheese, chicken fat, and butter. At 1,980 calories and 71 grams of saturated fat, CSPI calculates that it’s like eating a whole Family Size box of Stouffer’s frozen Macaroni & Cheese—with half a stick of butter.
6. Chili’s pairs its Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs with Shiner Bock BBQ Sauce with Homestyle Fries and Cinnamon Apples for 2,330 calories and 6,490 mg of sodium (a four-day supply). That’s like eating almost three Chili’s 10 oz. Classic Sirloin Steak dinners (each with Loaded Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli).
7. Smoothie King combines peanut butter, banana, sugar, and grape juice in its Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie. Smoothies are good for you, right? But this 40-oz. blenderized treat has 1,460 calories and 51 teaspoons of sugar!
8. Maggiano’s Little Italy packs 8 servings of chocolate decadence into one serving of its Chocolate Zuccotto Cake. This dessert is like eating a full day’s worth of calories (1,820) and about four days’ worth of added sugar (26 teaspoons).
9. Maggiano’s was also honored for its 18 oz. Veal Porterhouse, drizzled with butter sauce and accompanied by a half-pound of roasted, fried, and garlic-buttered Crispy Red Potatoes. At 2,710 calories and 3,700 mg of sodium it’s like eating four Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizzas.
When it comes to overindulgence, the hands-down winner seems to be The Cheesecake Factory which has been named to the Xtreme Eating Awards for eight of its menu items in the last four years.
Are they trying to make us fat? CSPI thinks so.
“It’s as if IHOP, The Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano’s Little Italy, and other major restaurant chains are scientifically engineering these extreme meals with the express purpose of promoting obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson in a press release.