For the past 11 years, The Cheesecake Factory has been featured in the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s annual Xtreme Eating Awards. And this year is no different.
As the restaurant chain celebrates its 40th anniversary, it also won two of CSPI’s dubious “awards,” including the “Worst Way to Start the Day” trophy for its Breakfast Burrito. The meal is made up of a warm tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, chicken chorizo, cheese, potatoes, avocado, peppers and onions, and served with sour cream, salsa and black beans. The whole thing comes to 2,730 calories, or almost four days’ worth of saturated fat (73 grams) and 4,630 milligrams of sodium. That’s like eating seven McDonald’s Sausage McMuffins, CSPI says.
The Cheesecake Factory also took home the “Worst Adapted Pizza” award, for its Chicken Parmesan pie. “Chopped chicken breast coated with breadcrumbs, covered with marinara sauce and lots of melted cheese, topped with angel hair pasta in an Alfredo cream sauce,” says The Cheesecake Factory’s menu.
The Cheesecake Factory defended its rich menu. “Many of our guests come in and want to celebrate and not be concerned with calories,” The company said in an email. “Others want to share their dish – and we love it when guests share. That’s a great sign that our portions are generous – and a large percentage of our guests take home leftovers for lunch the next day.”
CSPI senior nutritionist Lindsay Moyer said these types of meals are no longer the “occasional splurge.” And she said they are taking their toll on Americans’ health.
“Americans are eating out more than ever before,” Moyer said in a release. “So when restaurant chains are serving up 2,000 calories or more on a single plate, it’s easy to see why people continue to struggle with overweight, obesity, and diet-related diseases.”
To put the awards into context, a typical daily diet involves about 2,000 calories, 2,300 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of saturated fat, and only 50 grams of added sugars.
Some other 2018 Xtreme Eating Awards:
- The AMC movie chain won “Worst Cinematic Snack” award for or its 1.5 pound Bavarian Legend Soft Pretzel. The 9-inch-wide treat has 1,920 calories, 15 grams of saturated fat and 7,600 milligrams of sodium. According to the CSPI release, it’s like eating six Auntie Anne original pretzels.
- Chili’s wins the “Least Creative Mashup” recognition home for its Honey-Chipotle Crispers and Waffles. It’s like eating five Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts along with 30 McDonald’s chicken nuggets and five packets of barbecue sauce. With this meal, you’re consuming over a full days’ worth of calories, and two days’ worth of saturated fat, sodium and added sugar.
- BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse’s Peanut Butter S’mores Pizookie won the “Worst Makeup” award. The chocolate cookie — with peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, marshmallows and rich vanilla bean ice cream – is like eating an “entire 14-ounce container of Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream plus two cups of marshmallow fluff,” according to CSPI.
- The “Worst Visceral Effects” goes to Uno Pizzeria and Grill for its Deep Dish Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. The 2,320 calorie pasta dish includes three types of cheese and is topped with buffalo chicken. With three days’ worth of saturated fat and two days’ worth of sodium, the dish is similar to eating three orders of Olive Garden’s Cheese Ravioli. The chain has been given an Xtreme Eating Award the past three years.
- The “Worst Revival” award goes to Shake Shack, for its Double SmokeShack, fries and Peanut Butter Shake meal. The double cheeseburger is topped with bacon, chopped cherry peppers and ShakeSauce. CSPI compares it to eating three McDonald’s Quarter Pounder cheeseburgers and three McDonald’s Vanilla ice-cream cones, with a total count of 2,240 calories.
To see the 2018 report, click here.
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