Meals from chain restaurants that contain a full day’s calories on one plate

The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest has just released the results of its 2017 Xtreme Eating Awards.

"Leave it to America’s chain restaurant industry to market a stack of pancakes as a side dish, or to lard up quesadillas and pasta with pizza toppings, or to ruin a perfectly good sweet potato," Moyer said.

Based on a daily eating allowance of 2,000 calories, 20 grams of saturated fat, 2,300 milligrams of sodium, and 50 grams of added sugar, the CSPI found several meals from chain restaurants that contain an entire day's worth of calories in one sitting. (Though we wonder if one person alone could really eat these entire portions in one meal alone. Sharing meals or taking home leftovers are highly likely with these mass amounts of food.)

EDITOR'S NOTE: All nutritional information compiled by Leah Ettman and Jennifer Urban at CPSI. We have included a link with each meal listed below for each restaurant's nutritional information.

"Winners" listed in order from highest to lowest calories include:

TEXAS ROADHOUSE - 2,820 calories, 72 g. saturated fat, 5,330 mg. sodium, 51 g. added sugar:

Pair a 16 ounce prime rib with two sides - CSPI chose a loaded sweet potato topped with mini marshmallows and caramel sauce and a Caesar salad. These calories do not include the free peanuts, rolls, and butter that also come with Texas Roadhouse meals.

 

CHILI'S - 2,440 calories, 41 g. saturated fat, 7,610 mg. sodium:

With the Smokehouse Combo's "Choose any 3 meats" option, CSPI picked jalapeño-cheddar smoked sausage, hand-battered Chicken Crispers (with honey mustard sauce,) and a half baby back ribs.  The combo also comes with roasted corn on the cob, homestyle fries, chile-garlic toast, and garlic dill pickles.

CHEESECAKE FACTORY - 2,310 calories, 79 g. saturated fat, 4,370 mg. sodium:

CSPI says the Pasta Napoletana is like a meat-lover's pizza with three cups of pasta and a cup of heavy cream. The entree comes piled with Italian sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, and bacon on a bed of butter and cream-soaked pasta. (Because this is a new menu item, the nutritional value is not yet available on the company's website.) CSPI is also calling out Cheesecake Factory's Flying Gorilla cocktail, with comes with dark chocolate and banana liqueurs, along with 950 calories, 26 g. saturated fat, and 60 g. of added sugar.

Like many restaurants, Cheesecake Factory prides itself on its large portions. A spokesperson says, "We love it when guests share. That's a great sign that our portions are generous. And a large percentage of our guests take home leftovers."

IHOP - 1,990 calories, 45 g. saturated fat, 4,580 mg. sodium, 44 g. (estimated) added sugar

 

The Cheeseburger Omelette combines eggs with hamburger patty pieces, hash browns, tomatoes, onions, American cheese, ketchup, mustard, and even pickles. However, it also comes with a side. CSPI chose a stack of three buttermilk pancakes and added butter and two tablespoons of syrup to the nutritional estimate.

DAVE & BUSTER'S - 1,970 calories, 67 g. saturated fat, 4,440 mg. sodium

Dave & Buster's Carnivore Pizzadilla is a giant quesadilla served like pizza in eight slices, then is both stuffed and topped with different cheeses, pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, and marinara.

BUFFALO WILD WINGS - 1,950 calories, 53 g. saturated fat, 4,700 mg. sodium

The Cheese Curd Bacon Burger includes battered deep-fried cheese curds, with extra cheese, two bacon strips, and slathered with a spicy-mayo sauce. Along with a side of fries, CSPI compares the nutritional value of this one meal to five Burger King Bacon Double Cheeseburgers.

UNO PIZZERIA & GRILL - 1,740 calories, 32 g. saturated fat, 770 mg. sodium 168 g. (estimated) sugar

The restaurant is primarily located in the northeastern U.S. with no Oklahoma locations, but if you find your way to one of their eateries, the "Ridiculously Awesome, Insanely Large Chocolate Cake" is just as it's described.

"These meals are extreme, but even the typical restaurant meals are a threat to American's health because they increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease," Moyer says.

The National Restaurant Association also offered a statement, saying the group has "led the effort to implement a national standard for menu labeling so that our customers can make informed decisions on their dining choices."

A pasta dish that has more than a day’s worth of calories and a pizza with more than three-days worth of saturated fat are just two of the meals featured in the 2017 Xtreme Eating Awards.

The annual awards were announced by the Center for Science in the Public Interest on Friday and published in the group’s latest Nutrition Action Healthletter. Each meal is given an award-themed title like “Worst Cocktail Design” or “Worst Adapted Pasta.

“Leave it to America’s chain restaurant industry to market a stack of pancakes as a side dish, or to lard up quesadillas and pasta with pizza toppings, or to ruin a perfectly good sweet potato,” said CSPI senior nutritionist Lindsay Moyer.

Before we get to the “awards,” keep in mind — the average “day” includes 2,000 calories, 2,300 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of saturated fat and 50 grams of sugar.

Editor’s note: All nutritional information compiled by Leah Ettman and Jennifer Urban at CPSI. 

And the awards go to:

Worst Adapted Pasta

Credit: Center for Science in the Public Interest

 

“With 2,310 calories, 79 grams of saturated fat, and 4,370 mg of sodium, the dish is like eating a Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s Personal Pan Pizza topped with three cups of pasta and a cup of heavy cream.” – CPSI

Editor’s note: The nutritional information for this item was provided by the CPSI. Because it’s listed as a new menu item, the nutritional information is not available on the Cheesecake Factory’s official website.

Least Original Breakfast

Credit: Center for Science in the Public Interest

 

“When you go with 3 Buttermilk Pancakes (with butter and syrup) as your side, the breakfast has 1,990 calories, 45 grams of saturated fat, 4,580 mg of sodium, and an estimated 44 grams of added sugar.” – CPSI

Editor’s note: Nutritional information for this item can be viewed on IHOP’s official website.

Most Damage from a Supporting Vegetable

Credit: Center for Science in the Public Interest

 

“By itself, the massive 16 oz. Prime Rib at Texas Roadhouse has 1,570 calories.  That’s before you choose your two sides.  One of them—for an extra 99 cents—is a doozy.  CSPI is ordinarily a fan of sweet potatoes, but the Roadhouse’s Loaded Sweet Potato (770 calories) comes entombed under a pile of mini marshmallows and caramel sauce.” CPSI

Editor’s note: Nutritional information for this item can be viewed on the official Texas Roadhouse website.

Most Ridiculous Ending

Credit: Center for Science in the Public Interest

 

“It’s called the Ridiculously Awesome, Insanely Large Chocolate Cake. “Nuff said,” says Uno Pizzeria & Grill’s menu. Ditto that.” – CPSI

Editor’s note: Nutritional information for this item can be viewed on the official UNO Pizzeria & Grill website.

Worst Original Appetizer

Credit: Center for Science in the Public Interest

 

“To your arteries and waistline, a Carnivore Pizzadilla looks like 100 slices of pepperoni layered atop two Taco Bell Cheese Quesadillas, or half a stick of butter melted over three McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with Cheese. Mmm…”‘ – CPSI

Editor’s note: Nutritional information for this item can be viewed on the official Dave & Buster’s website.

Some of the other “winners” include “Worst Cheese in a Leading Role” and “Worst Visceral Effects”. To view the full list, visit cspinet.org/xtreme-eating-2017.

The FDA is currently accepting public comments regarding a decision to delay menu labeling. Food retailers are pushing for legislation that would allow companies to use “arbitrary serving sizes” and allow pizza chains to avoid disclosing calories on menu boards, according to the CPSI.