Fast food chains may, deservedly, get flack from public health advocates for their menus filled with salty, breaded, greasy grub, but most fast food meals have nothing on their sit-down restaurant cousins across the parking lot. A bacon cheeseburger may look like a healthy snack compared to the winners of this year’s Xtreme Eating awards.
These awards are given out annually by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in the hope of reminding diners (and lawmakers and regulators) that your favorite local lunch, dinner, or dessert spot might be serving you up some real calorie-bombs without you realizing.
Once again, the Cheesecake Factory dominates the list, responsible for two of the eight menu items (neither of them cheesecake). Other popular eateries on the CSPI’s roundup include IHOP (but not for pancakes), and Uno Pizzeria (but not for pizza).
Enough talk. Let’s get to the awards!
Least Original Breakfast
IHOP: Cheeseburger Omelette with side of Buttermilk Pancakes
• Calories: 1,990
• Saturated Fat: 45g
• Sodium: 4,580mg
• Added Sugar: 44g (estimated)
• Cholesterol: 1,0005mg
Are you an early starter who likes to get as much done before noon as possible? IHOP has a way for you to get a full day’s worth of calories, two full days’ of saturated fat and sodium, and enough cholesterol for four days.
This IHOP omelette has hamburger patty pieces, hash browns, tomatoes, onions, American cheese, ketchup, mustard, and pickles. Throw in that side of buttermilk pancakes (and their attendant butter and syrup) and CSPI says you’ve eaten the equivalent of four McDonald’s Sausage Egg McMuffins… drizzled with 2 additional tablespoons of syrup.
(UPDATE: In response to the CSPI report, a rep from IHOP emailed a statement to Consumerist.
“While we applaud the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s efforts to educate Americans on making healthier food choices, it’s misleading to single out the highest meal combinations without informing people of the wide range of choices offered at IHOP restaurants, including the ability to customize any item to meet a variety of dietary needs,” reads the statement, which also points out that IHOP’s nutritional information is available on the chain’s website, though it is one huge, confusing sheet of data for all menu items and not on the web page for each menu item.)
Worst Cheese in a Leading Role
Buffalo Wild Wings:
Cheese Curd Bacon Burger
• Calories: 1,950
• Saturated Fat: 53g
• Sodium: 4,700mg
How do you take a bacon cheeseburger, which will range from around 400 calories to 800 or so calories at your typical fast food chain, and convert it into nearly 2,000 calories?
Top it with battered, deep-fried cheese curds and whatever “cool heat sauce” is.
If you eat that burger and the side of fries, CSPI says that’s the same as roughly five Burger King Bacon Double Cheeseburgers.
You could also eat an entire large order of hot wings at BWW and still have a couple hundred calories left over before reaching the calories of this sandwich and fries.
Worst Original Appetizer