Imagine sitting down to a breakfast of 11 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts. Even if you have an incurable sweet tooth, that probably sounds like a bit much.
But at least nutritionally, ordering a breakfast of The Cheesecake Factory’s Cinnamon Roll Pancakes is no different from gorging on all those doughnuts, according to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
For that reason, that Cheesecake Factory meal is among eight restaurant offerings that have earned the dubious honor of a 2019 Xtreme Eating Award from the CSPI.
Each year, the nonprofit releases a list of restaurant meals that qualify for the award based on their unimpressive nutritional content.
CSPI spares no ugly detail when describing what’s wrong with each of these meals. Here is the list of this year’s winners and their nutritional breakdown:
The Cheesecake Factory’s Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
This meal contains 137 grams of total sugar — and CSPI estimates that total “is all or nearly all added sugar.”
- A day’s worth of calories (2,040)
- Two and a half days’ worth of saturated fat (51 grams)
- More than a day’s worth of sodium (2,950 milligrams)
- Almost three days’ worth of added sugar (137 grams, estimate)
It’s like eating: 11 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts
Topgolf’s Injectable Doughnut Holes
This treat — 24 doughnut holes per order — is served with syringes “so you can inject chocolate, raspberry jelly, and/or Bavarian cream goo into each donut hole,” CSPI says.
- A day’s worth of calories (1,970)
- Nearly two days’ worth of saturated fat (37 grams)
- Nearly a day’s worth of sodium (1,880 milligrams)
- Two days’ worth of added sugar (100 grams, estimate)
It’s like eating: four Burger King Double Cheeseburgers plus a large Coke
Jimmy John’s Giant Gargantuan
This sandwich, which comes with salami, capicola, turkey, roast beef, ham and provolone cheese, is “by far the saltiest of the 2019 winners,” CSPI says.
- A day’s worth of calories (2,190)
- A day and a half’s worth of saturated fat (29 grams)
- More than three days’ worth of sodium (7,720 milligrams)
It’s like eating: three Subway Cold Cut Combo footlong subs
Chili’s The Boss Burger
Red and processed meats like those in this sandwich — a half-pound beef patty, smoked brisket, rib meat, jalapeño-cheddar smoked sausage, bacon — “boost the risk of colorectal cancer,” CSPI says.
- A day’s worth of calories (2,020)
- More than two days’ worth of saturated fat (47 grams)
- Nearly two days’ worth of sodium (3,900 milligrams)
It’s like eating: three McDonald’s Triple Cheeseburgers plus a large order of fries
Sonic’s Oreo Peanut Butter Master Shake
CSPI offers a rundown of unhealthy items in this treat, including “real ice cream mixed with rich peanut butter and Oreos into a thick and creamy shake, finished with whipped topping and a cherry.” Figures are for the 32-ounce “large” treat.
- A day’s worth of calories (1,720)
- More than two days’ worth of saturated fat (48 grams)
- More than a day’s worth of added sugar (62 grams, estimate)
It’s like eating: 15 Oreos blended with half a cup of lard
Cracker Barrel’s Country Boy Breakfast
CSPI notes the add-ons — biscuits, gravy, butter and jam — that add to the dubious nutritional value of a meal containing “three eggs, fried apples, hashbrown casserole, grits … plus sirloin steak, two pork chops or country ham.”
- Nearly a day’s worth of calories (1,530)
- More than a day’s worth of saturated fat (25 grams)
- Two days’ worth of sodium (4,730 milligrams)
It’s like eating: Three McDonald’s Egg McMuffins plus four hash browns
Maggiano’s Today & Tomorrow Pastas
CSPI says this meal deal — which gives you one pasta entree to eat in and a second to take home — is a double dose of trouble.
- Nearly a day’s worth of calories (1,760)
- Two days’ worth of saturated fat (41 grams)
- More than a day’s worth of sodium (2,990 milligrams)
It’s like eating: three Pizza Hut Personal Pan Cheese Pizzas
Dave & Buster’s Chicken & Waffle Sliders
Chefs turn “white flour, sugar, and other ‘better’ ingredients” into more than a day’s worth of calories, CSPI laments. Maple syrup tops sliders of fried chicken and bacon tucked in between mini Belgian waffles, with a pile of tater tots tossed in for good measure.
- More than a day’s worth of calories (2,340)
- Two days’ worth of saturated fat (38 grams)
- More than a day’s worth of sodium (3,420 milligrams)
- Two days’ worth of added sugar (98 grams, estimate)
It’s like eating: eight Eggo waffles plus eight Jimmy Dean pork sausage patties doused in a half-cup of maple syrup
Poring over the gory details of these “hall of shame” meals can be amusing, but the end result is deadly serious. As CSPI senior nutritionist Lindsay Moyer says:
“With a third of our calories eaten away from home, restaurant meals warp our perspective of what constitutes a normal serving, and contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.”
Will you steer clear of the meals on this list? Or is life too short not to dig into your favorites? Sound off in comments below or on our Facebook page.