Feeling a little less than svelte lately? It’s no wonder, if you’ve been eating at some of these restaurants. The Center for Science in the Public Interest just released their 2011 list of the most gut-busting foods out there – and the winners definitely made the calories count.
"It’s as if the restaurants were targeting the remaining one out of three Americans who are still normal weight in order to boost their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, and cancer," said CSPI nutrition director Bonnie Liebman.
The eight "Xtreme Eating Award" winners come from a number of national chains, including Denny’s, Applebee’s and The Cheesecake Factory.
This year’s top offender is the PB&C Shake at Cold Stone Creamery. A 24-oz. serving of the shake (the "Gotta Have It" size) packs a walloping 2,010 calories and 68 grams of saturated fat. That creamy concoction of peanut butter, chocolate ice cream and milk is like drinking two 16-oz. T-bone steaks and a buttered baked potato. Ouch.
Second on the list? Another strike for the sweet tooth – The Cheesecake Factory’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake. This monster dessert features multiple layers of red velvet cake and original cheesecake, topped with cream cheese frosting, chocolate shavings and a heaping helping of whipped cream. Weighing in at three-quarters of a pound, this thing is a beast. Not to mention the 1,540 calories and 59 grams of saturated fat.
And you don’t even have to leave The Cheesecake Factory to get to the third offender on the CSPI’s list. The Cheesecake Factory Farmhouse Cheeseburger is topped with grilled pork belly, cheddar cheese, onions, lettuce, tomato, mayo and – wait for it – a fried egg. Of course! This burger boasts 1,530 calories and 36 grams of saturated fat, plus 3,210 milligrams of sodium. (And if you eat the fries, you can tack on an additional 460 calories and 1,460 milligrams of sodium!)
Next on the list, we have an Italian dish, courtesy of Applebee’s. The Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs With Fettuccine includes said cheesy meatballs, plus marinara sauce, parmesan cream sauce, garlic bread and four cups of pasta. That translates to 1,520 calories, 43 grams of saturated fat, 3,700 milligrams of sodium and bigger pants.
Let’s say you want to pack on the pounds, but you don’t want an entrée. No problem at Great Steak, where an extra-large order of King Fries will get you 1,500 calories, 33 grams of saturated fat and 4,980 milligrams of sodium. The King Fries come topped with cheese, bacon, sour cream and chives.
Even the pricey places have their fair share of fattening foods. At Morton’s steakhouse, the porterhouse steak – weighing in at 24 ounces – delivers 1,390 calories, 36 grams of saturated fat and 1,200 milligrams of sodium. And that’s before the sides! If you add some mashed potatoes, you’re looking at another 850 calories, 34 grams of saturated fat and 1,300 milligrams of sodium. Top it off with creamed spinach, and you’ll tack on another 330 calories, 15 grams of saturated fat and 460 milligrams of sodium, bringing your entire meal to a belt-loosening total of 2,570 calories, 85 grams of saturated fat and 2,980 milligrams of sodium.
Over at Denny’s, you’ll find the next offender on the CSPI’s list. It’s the Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt, and it’s basically a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough stuffed with four fried mozzarella cheese sticks. And with a side of fries and dipping sauce, you’re looking at 1,260 calories, 21 grams of saturated fat and 3,010 milligrams of sodium.
Finally, you’ve got the Bacon ‘N Beef Burger at IHOP. This meat-stuffed monster gets its name because the bacon is actually ground into the beef patty. Oh, and it’s a double-meat burger, too, with two slices of cheese and a Romano-parmesan bun. The tab? 1,250 calories, 42 grams of saturated fat and 1,590 milligrams of sodium.
To put those stats in perspective, the typical eater should limit themselves to about 2,000 calories, 20 grams of saturated fat and 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.