Would you like a side of obesity or heart disease with that?
That’s what you may be unwittingly asking for if you order any of the restaurant menu items recently “honored” with awards from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, or CSPI. Six meals, one cocktail and one dessert were crowned winners in the nonprofit organization’s latest annual Xtreme Eating Awards.
CSPI senior nutritionist Lindsay Moyer says of the honorees:
“Leave it to America’s chain restaurant industry to market a stack of pancakes as a side dish, or to lard up quesadillas and pasta with pizza toppings, or to ruin a perfectly good sweet potato.”
CSPI judges the nutritional content of these dishes against what an adult should consume in one day, which it says should be no more than:
- 2,000 calories
- 2,300 milligrams of sodium
- 20 grams of saturated fat
- 50 grams of added sugar
These amounts are comparable to the recommended daily limits for adults found on nutrition labels and recommended by the federal government.
The eight restaurant menu items “honored” in this year’s Xtreme Eating Awards are:
- Chili’s Grill & Bar’s Ultimate Smokehouse Combo: This meal comprises a choice of three meats plus roasted street corn, homestyle fries, chile-garlic toast and garlic dill pickles. For the meats, CSPI went with the jalapeño-cheddar smoked sausage, hand-battered Chicken Crispers (with honey mustard sauce) and ribs. That results in a meal with more than a day’s worth of calories (2,440) — not to mention more than two days’ worth of saturated fat and more than three days’ worth of sodium.
- IHOP’s Cheeseburger Omelette with a side of three buttermilk pancakes (plus butter and 2 tablespoons of syrup): CSPI likens this meal to “eating four McDonald’s Sausage Egg McMuffins drizzled with 2 tablespoons of syrup.” It has 1,990 calories as well as about two days’ worth of sodium and more than two days’ worth of saturated fat.
- The Cheesecake Factory’s Pasta Napoletana: Imagine the contents of a meat-lover’s pizza atop a cream-based pasta dish and you’ll more or less have the Pasta Napoletana. It has 2,310 calories — and close to two days’ worth of sodium and nearly four days’ worth of saturated fat.
- Buffalo Wild Wings’ Cheese Curd Bacon Burger with a side of fries: CSPI describes this meal as “the equivalent of roughly five Burger King Bacon Double Cheeseburgers.” It has 1,950 calories and more than two days’ worth of both sodium and saturated fat.
- Dave & Buster’s Carnivore Pizzadilla: This dish is like a cross between a cheese quesadilla and a meat lover’s pizza. It has 1,970 calories, close to two days’ worth of sodium and more than three days’ worth of saturated fat.
- Texas Roadhouse’s 16-ounce Prime Rib with two sides: With the Loaded Sweet Potato (piled high with mini marshmallows and caramel sauce) and Caesar salad sides, this meal clocks in at 2,820 calories, more than two days’ worth of sodium and more than three days’ worth of saturated fat.
- The Cheesecake Factory’s Flying Gorilla: CSPI likens this milkshake-based cocktail to “kicking off your meal by pouring a 20 oz. Budweiser over five scoops of Breyers Chocolate ice cream.” It has 950 calories and more than a day’s worth of saturated fat.
- Uno Pizzeria & Grill’s Ridiculously Awesome, Insanely Large Chocolate Cake: This dessert has 1,740 calories and more than a day’s worth of saturated fat.
Other restaurant meals aren’t a whole lot better, though, as far as CSPI is concerned. Moyer says “even the typical dishes served at restaurants are a threat to Americans’ health because they increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more.”
Case in point: See “5 of the Worst Restaurant Salads for Your Waistline” and “The 5 Worst Fast-Food Salads for Your Waistline.”
What’s your take on this year’s Xtreme Eating Awards winners? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.