PHOENIX- Warning, this may or may not break your heart- especially if you love places like Sonic, Jimmy John’s and/or Cheesecake Factory.
But in all seriousness, a lot of people are unaware of the things they are putting in their body when they eat out and the topic is a very serious health concern in today’s society.
“Pancakes with syrup or cheeseburgers are never a health food, but it seems like The Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s, and other chains are trying to outdo each other to make them worse,” Lindsay Moyer, CSPI senior nutritionist, said in an announcement. “With a third of our calories eaten away from home, restaurant meals warp our perspective of what constitutes a normal serving, and contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.”
CSPI found “winners,” or in other words, the worst products from all of our favorite places, and ranked them to be within anywhere between 1,500 to 2,300 calories. They also found the “winning” products to contain AT LEAST a day’s worth of sugar, salt or saturated fat.
What’s a days worth of calories, sodium, saturated fat and added sugar, you ask? According to CSPI, the average “day’s worths” are 2,000 calories, 2,300 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of saturated fat and 50 grams of added sugar. Now keep that in mind as you read through the following nutrition facts.
Alright you’ve been warned so here it goes.
The 2019 Xtreme Eating list includes:
Sonic’s Oreo Peanut Butter Master Shake is more like a disaster shake. The 32 oz., or large, size contains 1,720 calories, 48 grams of saturated fat and an estimated 62 grams of added sugar. Drinking the shake compares to eating 15 Oreos blended with half a cup of lard
The Country Boy Breakfast from Cracker Barrel is stacked with three eggs, fried apples, hash brown casserole, grits, sirloin steak, two pork chops AND country ham. It’s even served with biscuits, gravy, butter and jam. This “breakfast” dish contains 1,520 calories, 25 grams of saturated fat and… 4,730 mg of sodium. CSPI said eating this dish is like eating three McDonald’s Egg McMuffins and four hash browns.
Maggiano’s “Today & Tomorrow Pastas” allow guests to get two dishes for a good deal. CSPI looked at the Braised Beef al Forno and the Taylor Street Baked Ziti. The braised beef pasta dish alone clocks out at 1,760 calories, 41 grams of saturated fat and 2,990 mg of sodium. That is the same as eating three Pizza Hut Personal Pan Cheese Pizzas.
Topgolf’s Injectable Donut Holes are sure to get any sweets lover. The donut holes are served with plastic syringes full of chocolate, raspberry jelly and/or Bavarian cream. Talk about a sugar rush. The donut holes contain 1,970 calories, 37 grams of saturated fat, 1,880 mg of sodium and an estimated 100 grams of added sugar. Eating the donut holes is like eating four Burger King Double Cheeseburgers with a large Coke.
Jimmy John’s 16-inch Giant Gargantuan is a sight that’s hard to miss. It’s full of salami, capicola, turkey, roast beef, ham, provolone cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato, mayo and oil & vinegar- not to mention the 2,190 calories, 29 grams of saturated fat and… 7,720 mg of sodium! WHAT! CSPI said it’s like eating three Subway Cold Cut Combo foot long subs.
The Cheesecake Factory’s Cinnamon Roll Pancakes are full of all the yummy bad things. The ingredients include cinnamon-brown sugar, icing, white flour and butter-infused syrup. This 3-tier pancake contain 2,040 calories, 51 grams of saturated fat, 2,950 mg of sodium and an estimated 137 grams of added sugar. That is almost four days worth of added sugar in just three pancakes! It is like eating 11 Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnuts.
Chili’s The Boss Burger is full of surprises. It is stacked with five meats: smoked brisket, rib meat, jalapeno-cheddar smoked sausage, a half-pound beef patty; as well as, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, house BBQ and house-made ranch. Add that all together and you get a whopping 1,690 calories, 50 grams of saturated fat, 3,040 mg of sodium and 53 grams of carbs, according to Eat This, Not That! It’s like eating 3 McDonald’s Triple Cheeseburgers with a large fry.
Last but not least, Dave & Buster’s Chicken & Waffle Sliders. These sliders top off at 2,340 calories of white flour, sugar and “better” ingredients like fried chicken, bacon, mini Belgian waffles, syrup and tater tots, according to CSPI. Eating these sliders is like eating eight Eggo waffles AND eight Jimmy Dean pork sausage patties soaked in 1/2 cup of maple syrup.
“Although the 2019 Xtreme Eating winners are nutritional nightmares, plenty of other dishes are as bad or worse,” Moyer said. “The good news is that all chains with 20 or more outlets are now required to list calories on menus and menu boards, and expanded nutrition information upon request.”
Check out CSPI’s website to learn more.