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Cheesecake Factory again a top ‘winner’ in this year’s Xtreme Eating Awards

TexasRoadhouse_primeRibThe Cheesecake Factory "won" double prizes in the 2017 Xtreme Eating Awards.

It placed with a 2,310-calorie entrée that combines the toppings of a meat lover’s pizza with a bowl of pasta, and an alcoholic milkshake with nearly 1,000 calories.

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.

The annual awards were announced Friday by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Here are some of the 2017 Xtreme Eating Award winners: 

  • Worst Adapted Pasta – The Cheesecake Factory’s Pasta Napoletana piles Italian sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, and bacon on pasta that’s been greased with butter and cream. With 2,310 calories, 79 grams of saturated fat, and 4,370 mg of sodium, the dish is like eating a Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s Personal Pan Pizza topped with three cups of pasta and a cup of heavy cream.
  • Worst Cocktail Design – The nutritional equivalent of a 20 oz. Budweiser over five scoops of Breyers Chocolate ice cream, The Cheesecake Factory’s Flying Gorilla is a boozy shake with 950 calories, 26 grams of saturated fat, and an estimated 60 grams of added sugar.
  • Least Original Breakfast – IHOP’s Cheeseburger Omelette combines eggs with hamburger patty pieces, hash browns, tomatoes, onions, American cheese, ketchup, mustard, and pickles. When you go with three Buttermilk Pancakes with butter and syrup as your side, the breakfast has 1,990 calories, 45 grams of saturated fat, 4,580 mg of sodium, and an estimated 44 grams of added sugar.
  • Most Damage From a Supporting Vegetable – By itself, the huge 16 oz. Prime Rib at Texas Roadhouse has 1,570 calories. That’s before you choose two sides. One of them – for an extra 99 cents – is the Roadhouse’s Loaded Sweet Potato, 770 calories, that is topped with pile of mini marshmallows and caramel sauce. Add a Caesar salad as your second side, and the meal has 2,820 calories, 72 grams of saturated fat, 5,330 mg of sodium, and an estimated 51 grams of added sugar. 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.

The list of “winners” for Worst Visceral Effects, Worst Cheese in a Leading Role, and other categories is available at cspinet.org/xtreme-eating-2017.

“Leave it to America’s chain restaurant industry to market a stack of pancakes as a side dish, or to lard up quesadillas and pasta with pizza toppings, or to ruin a perfectly good sweet potato,” said Lindsay Moyer, senior nutritionist for the center. “These meals are extreme, but even the typical dishes served at restaurants are a threat to Americans’ health because they increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more.”

The 2010 Affordable Care Act included provisions requiring calorie counts on the menus and menu boards of chains with 20 or more outlets.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had scheduled the rules to go into effect on May 5 of this year. But less than a week before that deadline, lobbyists for pizza chains, supermarkets, and convenience stores convinced the Trump administration to delay date to carry out the requirement.

That’s why the center also conferred its first Xtreme Putting Profits Before Public Health Award to Domino’s –the loudest industry voice opposing calorie labeling, Moyer said.

“Americans deserve to know what we’re eating, but Domino’s would prefer that we’re kept in the dark,” he said. “Every day of delay means the industry has more opportunity to weaken the law that Congress passed seven long years ago.”

The FDA is accepting public comments until Wednesday, August 2, on its proposal to delay menu labeling, and the center is encouraging Americans to register their opposition with the agency before then. Food retailers opposed to menu labeling are pushing legislation that would weaken menu labeling by letting companies use arbitrary serving sizes and by letting pizza chains avoid disclosing calories on in-store menu boards.

Copyright 2017, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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