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Nine mega-calorie meals that will totally blow your diet

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
high calorie meals, sugar, saturated fat, obesity, healthy diet

A typical adult should consume about 2,000 calories and no more than 20 grams of saturated fat and 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day; however, one can consume a day’s worth of calories in a single meal at many restaurant chains. On January 16, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) announced the winners of its seventh annual Xtreme Eating Awards for food extremely high in calories, saturated fat, and salt or sugar. The mega-calorie meals include a 3,120 calorie plate of pasta, a 1,760 calorie breakfast, and a 2,710 calorie veal porterhouse.

CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson notes, “It’s as if IHOP, The Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano’s Little Italy, and other major restaurant chains are scientifically engineering these extreme meals with the express purpose of promoting obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. You’d think that the size of their profits depended on their increasing the size of your pants.”

The Xtreme Eating dis-honorees include:

Maggiano’s Veal Porterhouse: This monstrous 18 ounce chunk of veal comes with roasted, fried, and garlic-buttered Crispy Red Potatoes making for a bomb of a meal with 2,710 calories, 45 grams of saturated fat, and 3,700 mg of sodium. CPSI notes, “You’d be better off eating four Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizzas.”

The Cheesecake Factory’s Bistro Shrimp Pasta: Seafood and pasta dishes are generally regarded as healthy, but not this one. Despite some of healthy ingredients like shrimp, tomato, arugula, the astoundingly large 3.5 cups of pasta, battered and fried shrimp, and a butter-and-cream-sauce makes this meal an unbelievable 3,120 calories and 89 grams of saturated fat. That is the equivalent of three orders of Olive Garden’s Lasagna Classico plus an order of Tiramisu.

The Cheesecake Factory’s Chicken Costoletta: One would think twice before downing an entire KFC 12-piece Original Recipe bucket (2,550 calories); however, the Chicken Costletta (cost a lotta calories?), with 2,610 calories, 89 grams of saturated fat, and 2,720 mg of sodium, has three pieces of fried chicken, and 3/4 of a pound of mashed potatoes with butter and cream. In addition to out-calorieing the KFC bucket it has twice the saturated fat.

Maggiano’s Chocolate Zuccotto Cake: This hefty dessert for the hefty contains 1,820 calories, 62 grams of saturated fat and 26 teaspoons worth of sugar. CSPI notes that few would consider eating an entire, eight-serving Entenmann’s Chocolate Fudge Cake; however a single slice of this cake is roughly equivalent.

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IHOP’s Country Fried Steak & Eggs combo: This hungry man’s breakfast includes a deep-fried steak with gravy, two fried eggs, deep-fried potatoes, and two buttermilk pancakes might be okay for a farmhand before embarking on a day of toil in the fields but not for a secretary headed for a day at the office. The meal clocks in at 1,760 calories, 23 grams of saturated fat, 3,720 mg of sodium, and 11 teaspoons of added sugar. According to CSPI, this is the equivalent of five McDonald’s Egg McMuffins sprinkled with 10 packets of sugar.

Johnny Rocket’s Bacon Cheddar Double Burger: Just the burger alone accrues 1,770 calories, 50 grams of saturated fat, and 2,380 mg of sodium before you add in Johnny’s Sweet Potato Fries (590 calories and 800 mg of sodium) and a Big Apple Shake. The meal adds up to 3,500 calories, 88 grams of saturated fat and 3,720mg of sodium; this is equivalent to three 3 McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with Cheese, a large Fries, a medium McCafé Vanilla Shake, and two Baked Apple Pies.

Uno Chicago Grill’s Deep Dish Macaroni & 3-Cheese: This cheesy pasta delight contains an incredible four cups of pasta. The three-cheese sauce is made with heavy cream, rendered chicken fat (yuck!), and butter. With its included topping of crushed Ritz Crackers, it weighs in at 1,980 calories, 71 grams of saturated fat, and 3,110mg of sodium. CSPI says you would be better off downing a Family Size box of Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese (with half a stick of butter melted on top).

Chili’s Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs with Shiner Bock BBQ Sauce: These ribs alone contain 1,660 calories; however, the meal comes with a side of Homestyle Fries (400 calories) and Cinnamon Apples (270 calories); this hefty combination brings this meal to a grand total of 2,330 calories, 45 grams of saturated fat, and 6,490 mg of sodium. Thus, the meal is equivalent to eating two Chili’s 10 oz. Classic Sirloin Steak dinners (each with Loaded Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli), with a 10 oz. Classic Sirloin Steak on the side.

Smoothie King’s Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie: This smoothie is a smooth way to put on some pounds. To begin with, it comes in a 40 ounce container. Filled with peanut butter, banana, sugar, and grape juice, it has 1,460 calories and 22 teaspoons of added sugar, in addition to the 17 teaspoons of naturally occurring sugar in the grape juice and the 12 teaspoons of sugar coming from the banana and nonfat milk. Hey, it’s not all bad—it’s made with nonfat milk.

About the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
Since the early 1970s, CSPI has focused educating the American public on nutrition, food safety, health, and other issues during a boom of consumer and environmental protection awareness in the early 1970s. In addition, the organization advocates government policies that are consistent with scientific evidence on health and environmental issues.

Reference: Center for Science in the Public Interest

See also:
Junk food linked to asthma, other allergic disorders in children
Government study explains why Americans have shorter lives, poorer health
Current status of the war against child obesity