To avoid gaining weight, health experts have been telling us for years to simply eat in moderation.
Now, an annual study from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a food watchdog group, says some of America’s favorite restaurant chains aren’t getting the message.
The group has identified menu items that it calls “nutritional nightmares” — packed with calories, fat, sodium and sugar.
The Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s, IHOP top 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,” said CSPI senior nutritionist Lindsay Moyer. “These meals are extreme, but even the typical dishes served at restaurants are a threat to Americans’ health because they increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more.”
Restaurants argue that customers often share these high-calorie meals and healthier options do exist on the menu.
For someone on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, a day’s worth of sodium is 2,300 milligrams, a day’s worth of saturated fat is 20 grams and a day’s worth of added sugar is 50 grams, CSPI noted.
Keep that in mind as you review the “winners” of the 2017 Xtreme Eating Awards…
Chili’s: Ultimate Smokehouse Combo
- Calories: 2,440
- Saturated fat: 41 g
- Sodium: 7,610 mg
IHOP: Cheeseburger Omelette with Pancakes, Butter and Syrup
- Calories: 1,990
- Saturated fat: 45 g
- Sodium: 4,580 mg
- Added sugar: 44 g*
- Cholesterol: 1,005 mg
The Cheesecake Factory: Pasta Napoletana
- Calories: 2,310
- Saturated fat: 79 g
- Sodium: 4,370 mg
Buffalo Wild Wings: Cheese Curd Bacon Burger with Fries
- Calories: 1,950
- Saturated fat: 53 g
- Sodium: 4,700 mg
Dave & Buster’s: Carnivore Pizzadilla
- Calories: 1,970
- Saturated fat: 67 g
- Sodium: 4,440 mg
Texas Roadhouse: Prime Rib, Loaded Sweet Potato and Caesar Salad
- Calories: 2,820
- Saturated fat: 72 g
- Sodium: 5,330 mg
- Added sugar: 51 g*
The Cheesecake Factory: Flying Gorilla
- Calories: 950
- Saturated fat: 26 g
- Added sugar: 60 g*
Uno Pizzeria & Grill: Ridiculously Awesome, Insanely Large Chocolate Cake
- Calories: 1,740
- Saturated fat: 32 g
- Sodium: 770 mg
- Added sugar: 168 g*
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The total number of calories a person needs every day will vary depending on an individual’s age, sex, height, weight and level of physical activity, according to the latest government dietary guidelines.
For a personalized nutrition and activity plan, free online tools like the USDA’s SuperTracker can help.