Today the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) released its Xtreme Eating Award list. According to the CSPI "Xtreme appetizers, entrées, and desserts at America's chain restaurants are making Americans fatter and sicker, and the trendy thing for chains to do is to make already bad foods even worse."
Most people should not consume more then 2,000 calories a day in an entire day. So, in reaction to the Olive Garden's Tour of Italy, Lasagna, Chicken Parmigiana and Fettuccine Alfredo on one plate, CSPI senior nutritionist Jayne Hurley asked, "Would you like an entrée with your entrée?"
Here are some of the, um, highlights from the Xtreme Eating Awards list. See the full list Xtreme Eating Award "Winners."
Red Lobster Ultimate Fondue:
This retro item is also making comebacks at Olive Garden, Uno Chicago Grill, and at a chain that sells nothing but fondues, The Melting Pot. Red Lobsters Ultimate version, "shrimp and crabmeat in a creamy lobster cheese sauce served in a warm crispy sourdough bowl," is crammed with 1,490 calories, 40 grams of saturated fat and 3,580 mg of sodium. That's two days' worth of both artery-clogging fat and blood-pressure-spiking sodium.
Applebee's Quesadilla Burger:
Chili's Big Mouth Bites:
Four mini-bacon-cheeseburgers served on a plate with fries, onion strings, and jalapeno ranch dipping sauce. ("Mini" is relative: each one is like a Quarter Pounder.) Like the "sliders" available at other chains, Chili's Big Mouth Bites can be an appetizer or an entrée (these numbers are for the latter). 2,350 calories, 38 grams of saturated fat and 3,940 milligrams of sodium.
The Cheesecake Factory Chicken and Biscuits:
Nutrition Action, CSPI's newsletter, calls it "discomfort food." If you wouldn't eat an entire 8-piece bucket of KFC Original Recipe plus 5 biscuits, you shouldnt order this. But unless you live in a city with menu labeling, you wouldnt know that this dish has 2,500 calories.
The CSPI would like to push Congress this year to pass a menu labeling measure, similar measures have been passed in the cities of Nashville, New York, Philadelphia and Portland, OR, and in the states of California and Massachusetts, among other locations. Although it is a personal responsibility to watch what you eat, how would any reasonable diner conclude that the chicken and biscuits dinner on the menu would give you over a days worth of calories?
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