A slab of cheesecake that has a day's worth of calories packed into it and a plate of pasta that exceeds the recommended daily calorie intake are among the worst offenders in the Center for Science in the Public Interest's 2014 Xtreme Eating Awards.
Every year since 2007, the group has been scouring the country for restaurant meals that pack the heaviest calorific punch. This year, three of the nine awards went to the Cheesecake Factory. "(They) may have reformulated a few dishes in response to being named a 'winner' of Xtreme Eating Awards in years past," the prize announcement read. "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."
The chain's Bruléed French Toast with a side of bacon contained 2,780 calories (more than a day's worth), 93 grams of saturated fat (or about a week's worth), and 24 teaspoons of sugar (or about four times the daily recommended intake of added sugar).
The French toast is only rivaled by the chain's creamy farfalle pasta with chicken and roasted garlic, which held 2,410 calories and 63 grams of saturated fat. The CSPI warns that it'd take about five hours to jog that one plate of pasta off.
Other chains didn't fare much better. At BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, the deep dish chicken bacon ranch pizza "dumps 2,160 calories, 30 grams of saturated fat, and 4,680 milligrams of sodium (three days’ worth) in your lap."
Meanwhile, a "monster meal"—including a double burger, fries, and a shake—at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers burst with nearly two days’ worth of calories (3,540), almost four days' of saturated fat (69 grams), and four days’ of sodium (6,280 milligrams). This, the CPSI said, is the "single unhealthiest" meal they found. To burn it off, you'd need to walk briskly for 12 hours.
"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," CSPI dietitian Paige Einstein said.
"Two out of three American adults are overweight or obese and one 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."
Let his be a reminder that if you're trying to manage your weight, it's better to eat at home.