Fans of the Cheesecake Factory and Cold Stone Creamery Beware: The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) released this year’s Xtreme Eating Awards for the restaurants that have the fattiest, saltiest, calorie-richest, non-healthy foods conceivable. And it isn’t pretty. In their annual tradition of attempting to shame restaurants for their unhealthy choices, CSPI has put together a list of the most indulgent menu items at some of America’s most popular restaurants. CSPI hopes these awards will encourage chain restaurants to stop competing to come up with more and more over the top dishes.
* Remember that the average person should consume about 2,000 calories and 20 grams of saturated fat per day – some of the offenders met, or exceeded that, in one meal.
Among the “Winners”
- Cold Stone Creamery’s “Gotta Have It” PB&C Shake. It sounds innocent, with chocolate ice cream, milk, and peanut butter, but at 2,010 calories and 68 grams of saturated fat, it has enough fat to cover you for 3 ½ days. If you’re not feeling up to consuming an entire day’s calories in one drink, you can get the shake in the small size for only 1280 calories. Drinking one of these shakes is like swallowing two 16-ounce T-bone steaks plus a buttered baked potato.
- Denny’s Cheese Melt. The grilled cheese wrapped around fried mozzarella sticks that is contained between two pieces of fried sourdough bread. The item, served with french fries of course, has 1,260 calories and 21 grams of saturated fat (a full day’s worth). CSPI notes that this one sandwich is the equivalent of eating two Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizzas.
- Cheesecake Factory Farmhouse Cheeseburger. The Farmhouse Cheeseburger is no standard cheeseburger. It’s topped with grilled, smoked pork belly, cheddar cheese, onions, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a fried egg. This ultimate burger tops the scale at 1,530 calories, 3,210 milligrams of sodium and 36 grams of saturated fat. That’s before you touch a french fry, or a piece of Cheesecake (see below).
- Cheesecake Factory Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake. It’s the layers that help this cheesecake rack up the calories. Coming in at 59 grams of saturated fat and 1,540 calories, it consists of two slices of red velvet cake alternated with two slices of cheesecake – plus whipped cream and frosting. But the calorie count in this dessert really shouldn’t be a shocker when you consider that the slice weighs three-quarters of a pound! You could eat three – yes three – McDonalds Quarter Pounders with Cheese instead and still save yourself 10 calories and 23 grams of saturated fat.
- Applebee’s Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs with Fettuccine. Served with a piece of garlic bread, the entree tallies 1,520 calories, 43 grams of saturated fat and 3,700 milligrams of sodium. This is the equivalent of eating two of Applebee’s 12-ounce rib-eye steaks plus a side of its garlic mashed potatoes.
For the complete list, click here.
Fortunately, health-conscious consumers who want nutritional information on the menu will be getting their wish. The Food and Drug Administration is finalizing a set of rules that will require this information. Until then, check out this list of healthier options at the above-mentioned culprits:
- Coldstone Creamery Sinless Fruit Smoothies starting at just 110 calories.
- Denny’s new fitfare grilled chicken and avocado sandwich on a whole-wheat bun served with a side of fresh vegetables. The whole dish comes in at less than 550 calories.
- The Cheesecake Factory Grilled Turkey Burger, combined with fresh mushrooms, garlic and spices and served with grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and a side green salad.
- The Cheesecake Factory Low-Carb Cheesecake served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
- Applebees’s Teriyaki Shrimp Pasta, served with grilled shrimp, broccoli, red peppers, carrots, sugar snap peas, bok choy, water chestnuts and mushrooms on top of whole wheat noodles and coming in at under 550 calories.