The results are in and they're not pretty. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has released its annual Xtreme Eating Awards, which features nine of the unhealthiest meals from American chain restaurants. This year, nearly all of the winners have more than 2,000 calories (remember, that's per dish!), and one even has a week’s worth of saturated fat.
Since three of of the nine spots went to The Cheesecake Factory, the chain garnered a special mention as the winner of the 2014 XXXtreme Eating Award.
Here are the "winners":
1. Bruléed French Toast from The Cheesecake Factory
It sounds delicious, but this brunch item, described as the “best” French toast ever, has 2,780 calories and a whole week’s worth of saturated fat (93 grams) when ordered with the optional bacon. And don’t even think about all that sugar.
2. Red Robin's A.1. Peppercorn Monster Burger
To start with, the burger is topped with bacon, cheese and crispy onion straws, and you can take this to the next level by adding another beef patty to make it a “monster.” Then, there’s the fact that the burger comes with bottomless steak fries.
If you eat this meal with a Monster Salted Caramel Milkshake (1,500 calories all on its own), the grand total comes to 3,540 calories and four days worth of sodium. We can't even believe this is legal.
3. The Big Slab of St. Louis-Style Spareribs from Famous Dave’s
The ribs come with two sides (such as fries and baked beans) bringing this winner to 2,770 calories and 14 teaspoons of sugar in a single meal. Yikes!
4. Deep Dish Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza from BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
The name really says it all here, but the 2,160 calories and 4,680 milligrams of sodium in this 11-inch “signature” pizza confirms that this is about as bad as it gets.
5. The Super Cinco Combo from Chevys Fresh Mex
If you guessed that eating one beef enchilada, one chicken enchilada, one beef taco, one hand-rolled pork tamale and one Chile Relleno could be overkill for a single meal, you're not wrong. This comes out to 1,920 calories and a whole lot of fat and sodium.
6. Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic from The Cheesecake Factory
This one doesn’t sound so terrible, but remember, it’s from The Cheesecake Factory, which makes it less surprising that this pasta dish turns out to have 2,410 calories and 93 grams of saturated fat. Yuck.
7. The Big “Hook” Up Platter from Joe’s Crab Shack
Remember when you thought seafood was the "healthy" option? Well … when seafood and crab balls stuffed with jalapeños and cream cheese coated in panko breadcrumbs with a side of ranch are served with fish and chips, coconut shrimp, crab stuffed shrimp and sides, the dish has an insane 3,280 calories and FIVE DAYS worth of sodium.
8. Prime New York Steak Contadina Style from Maggiano’s Little Italy
This dish has 2,420 calories, half of which are from the Contadina-style topping. How is this possible?
9. And … we’re back to: Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory
It ends where it begins! With a dessert that packs 1,500 calories and 21 teaspoons of sugar. Crazy.
And there you have it ... the nine unhealthiest meals of 2014. Just nine more reasons to love wonderful, nutrient-dense home-cooked meals.
Here's what Lawrence Williams, CEO of United States Healthful Food Council, has to say about how restaurant chains can do better for American consumers: