Every year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest reveals the winners and losers of the annual Xtreme Eating Awards. These awards aren't for the healthiest fast food meals and chain restaurants out there; no, if you're a winner in the awards, it means you are one of the unhealthiest in America. While the usual suspects seem to grace the list every year, like Cheesecake Factory, 2017 saw some interesting additions to previous lists.
Some people enjoy eating out and going to fast food restaurants for the convenience and indulgence of eating a meal that you didn't cook in your own kitchen. Whether it's a pizza at Domino's or a Crispy Chicken Sandwich at the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A, it's always nice to eat a delicious meal that you didn't work for. However, some of us aim to eat healthy and avoid huge amounts of calories and carbs when eating out, and this means that some menu items just aren't worth it.
So to help you make better health decisions while you're out, or simply to just ogle at the calorie counts on these menu items, here are the categories and the respective winners of the Xtreme Eating Awards. Before we begin, CSPI notes that "a day's worth of calories is 2,000, 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." Keep all of that in perspective as we go through these heart-busters.
1. The Worst Adapted Pasta
Of course this list of unhealthy restaurant meals wouldn't be complete with The Cheesecake Factory's Pasta Napoletana. It's a heaping plate of Italian sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, and bacon on pasta that's coated in a buttery, creamy sauce. This is, as CSPI points out, a meat lover's pizza in pasta form.
The dish packs 2,310 calories with 79 grams of saturated fats and 4,370 milligrams of sodium. Essentially, this could be your one meal of the day and you'd still have blown your saturated fat allowance for the week.
2. Worst Cocktail Design
Again, the Cheesecake Factory pulled out in front with this chocolate banana milkshake. The Flying Gorilla cocktail is the boozy shake offering that took home this top prize with 950 calories, 26 grams of saturated fat, and about 60 grams of added sugar. Oh, and it's the equivalent of a 20-ounce Budweiser over five scoops of Breyer's Chocolate ice cream. It should be Blue Bell, but we won't get picky with this monstrosity.
3. Least Original Breakfast
Which would you bet on to win this one: Waffle House or IHOP? If you picked the latter for the winner of the Xtreme Eating Awards, then you would be correct. Per CSPI, IHOP's Cheeseburger Omelette covers all of the burger bases. With hamburger patty pieces, hash browns, tomatoes, onions, American cheese, ketchup, mustard, and pickles, the Cheeseburger Omelette definitely lives up to its name.
If you add the three Buttermilk Pancakes you receive on the side with butter and syrup, that's a meal that'll set you back 1,990 calories, 45 grams of saturated fat, 4,580 milligrams of sodium, and about 44 grams of added sugar. Goodness gracious.
4. Most Damage from a Supporting Vegetable
Texas Roadhouse slid into the list with their Loaded Sweet Potato that packs 770 calories with its casing of mini marshmallows and caramel sauce. If you add that as a side to the 16-ounce Prime Rib with 1,570 calories and include a Caesar salad, your steakhouse dinner packs 2,820 calories with 72 grams of saturated fat, 5,330 milligrams of sodium, and about 51 grams of added sugar.
As CSPI points out, "it's like eating two of the chain's 12 oz. New York strip steak dinners (with mashed potatoes and vegetables), plus a slice of strawberry cheesecake."
5. Most Visceral Effects
The title might be misleading, but this really comes down to the most ridiculous food you can fit on a plate. Chili's Ultimate Smokehouse Combo certainly fits that title, especially because it's served on a tray. Choose any three meats, and let the games begin.
CSPI chose the sausage, the Crispers, and the Texas Dry Rub ribs with the sides of roasted street corn, homestyle fries, chile-garlic toast, and garlic dill pickles. The total calorie count was the equivalent of three 10 oz. sirloin steaks topped with garlic butter, and three orders of loaded mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Clocking in at 2,440 calories with 41 grams of saturated fat and 7,610 milligrams of sodium, this is a seriously a gut-buster.
6. Worst Cheese in a Leading Role
Buffalo Wild Wings' Cheese Curd Bacon Burger takes cheese over the top with this burger mentioned in the Xtreme Eating Awards. Battered, deep-fried cheese curds cover a bacon-topped patty with cheese and a mayo-based sauce. The side of fries will put you over the edge with 1,950 calories, 53 grams of saturated far, and 4,700 milligrams of sodium.
Talk about feeling cheesy.
7. Worst Original Appetizer
The Carnivore Pizzadilla from Dave & Buster's seems like a full meal, but unfortunately for all of us, it's an appetizer. This extremely cheesy 12-inch quesadilla is served sliced in eight slices and stuffed with Manchego and cheddar cheeses. It also has pepperoni and Italian sausage inside, and is topped with more pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, marinara, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses.
CSPI compared this to "100 slices of pepperoni layered atop Taco Bell Cheese Quesadillas, or half a stick of butter melted over three McDonald's Quarter Pounders with Cheese." With 1,970 calories, 67 grams of saturated fat, and 4,440 milligrams of sodium, this is one meal that will seriously make you regret ordering it.
8. Most Ridiculous Ending
2017's Most Ridiculous Ending award goes to the Ridiculously Awesome, Insanely Large Chocolate Cake. With about 168 grams of added sugar, 1,740 calories, 32 grams of saturated fat, and 770 milligrams of sodium, this is just so unnecessary, it's best split between 6 people to even make it remotely worth ordering.
This post was originally published on January 10, 2019.