While The Cheesecake Factory’s farfalle pasta with chicken and roasted garlic sounds delicious, is the 2,410-calorie dish worth the five-hour jog you’d need to burn it off?
The Cheesecake Factory has the dubious honor of taking home three of the nine awards in the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Xtreme Eating contest for 2014.
The Cheesecake Factory may have reformulated a few dishes in response to being named a “winner” of Xtreme Eating Awards in years past. “I was sick of winning that prize,” Cheesecake Factory founder and chief executive officer David M. Overton told The Wall Street Journal. Nevertheless, the chain still sports numerous highly qualified Xtreme contenders, including a 2,800-calorie brunch item, a 2,400-calorie pasta, and a 1,500-calorie slice of cheesecake.
“Mr. Overton may be tiring of the prize, but he’s certainly making sure that The Cheesecake Factory remains the most calorically extreme chain that we’ve seen,” said CSPI dietitian Paige Einstein.
In addition to The Cheesecake Factory’s pasta dish, the remaining Xtreme Eating Award winners include, according to CSPI:
- Monster-sized A.1. Peppercorn burger, Bottomless Steak Fries, and Monster Salted Caramel Milkshake – Red Robin. It’s 3,540 calories, 69 grams of saturated fat, 6,280 mg of sodium, and 38 teaspoons of sugar. A brisk 12-hour walk is the exercise necessary to work off this meal, which was coined “the single unhealthiest meal CSPI found,” the release said.
- The Big Slab of St. Louis-style spareribs – Famous Dave’s. If you add the fixings, which include fries, beans and a corn bread muffin, the meal comes in at 2,770 calories, 54 grams of saturated fat, 4,320 mg sodium, and 14 teaspoons of sugar.
- The Big “Hook” Up platter – Joe’s Crab Shack. One of the highest calorie meals at 3,280, with 50 grams of saturated fat and 7,610 mg of sodium. This deep-fat-fried seafood basket would take 11 hours of golf (no cart or caddie) to burn off.
- Bruléed French Toast – The Cheesecake Factory. It’s 2,780 calories, 93 grams of saturated fat, 2,230 mg of sodium, and 24 teaspoons of sugar. “To neutralize the calories in your brunch, you’d have to swim laps for seven hours,” the CSPI said.
- Signature Deep Dish Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza – BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. The count is 2,160 calories, 30 grams of saturated fat, and 4,680 mg of sodium. Want to burn off all those calories? Grab your bike and start pedaling nonstop for 5.5 hours. “Think of it as a fresh layer of deep belly fat with your name on it,” the CSPI said.
- Super Cinco Combo – Chevys Fresh Mex. At 1,920 calories, 36 grams of saturated fat, and 3,950 mg sodium, it would take 3.5 hours of singles tennis to burn through the calories in this Mexican feast.
- Prime New York Steak Contadina Style – Maggiano’s Little Italy. It’s 2,420 calories, 66 grams of saturated fat, and 5,620 mg of sodium. “To burn off its calories, you’d have to hit the rowing machine for 7.5 hours,” the CSPI said.
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake – The Cheesecake Factory. At 1,500 calories, 43 grams of saturated fat, and 21 teaspoons of sugar, this cheesecake sounds amazing. Too bad a slice of it equals 4.5 hours of aerobics.
I think most (if not all) of these dishes sound amazingly delicious. However, the high calories, fat, sodium and sugar are not appetizing.
“When French toast is ‘Bruléed,’ fries are ‘bottomless,’ and steaks are now garnished with not just one, but two Italian sausages, it’s clear that caloric extremism still rules the roost at many of America’s chain restaurants,” Einstein said. “Two out of 3 American adults are overweight or obese and 1 in 10 adults has diabetes, thanks in part to The Cheesecake Factory, Chevys Fresh Mex, Maggiano’s Little Italy, and much of the rest of America’s chain restaurant industry.”
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