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."