red robin burgers
July 31, 2014

Consumer Group Releases List Of Unhealthiest Restaurant Meals In America

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is home to one of the unhealthiest meals in America – a “Monster” sized A1 Peppercorn hamburger served with Bottomless Steak Fries and a Monster Salted Caramel Milkshake that boasts a total of 3,540 calories – according to advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

According to the CSPI who released the “winners” of its 2014 Xtreme Eating Awards on Wednesday, the Red Robin meal boasts over 3,500 calories, which would require the average person to complete 12 hours of brisk walking to work it off. In addition, the dish has a reported 69 grams of saturated fat, more than 6,200mg of sodium, and nearly 3/4 of a cup of added sugar, the organization said.

This year marks the sixth time that CSPI has compiled nutritional statistics from over 200 of the leading chain restaurants in America in search of the highest fat, highest sodium, highest sugar and/or highest calorie items on the menu, explained Jessica Wohl of the Chicago Tribune. This year’s list comes as some eateries have started making nutritional information about their products available either in their menus or online, she added.

Nine of the awards were handed out this year, the CSPI said, and three of the dubious honors were presented to a single restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory. One of their offerings, Bruléed French Toast, is described as a plate of bread that has been soaked in custard, topped with powdered sugar, and then served with maple-butter syrup and bacon. It contains 2,780 calories, 93 grams of saturated fat, 2,230mg of sodium and 24 teaspoons of sugar.

Another offering from The Cheesecake Factory is deceptively unhealthy, as the Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic features mushrooms, tomato, peas, and caramelized onions. However, it is also served with a cream sauce that the Center says ups the caloric content of the dish to 2,410 calories, 63 grams of saturated fat, and 1,370 mg of sodium. To burn off that many calories, a person would need to jog for five hours after they were finished eating.

“In the past, our winners have usually had about 1,500 calories. Most of these have at least 2,000,” Paige Einstein, a registered dietitian affiliated with the CSPI told Kim Painter of USA Today. She added that while many of the restaurants also offer lighter, healthier meal choices, those items comprise “smaller parts of the menu.”

“You can expect about 1,000 calories in any typical appetizer, 1,000 calories in a typical entrée and 1,000 calories in a typical dessert. It’s not just these extreme items that people need to be aware of when dining out,” she said in an interview with Wohl. Einstein added that she expects there will eventually be “a higher demand for healthy items. People may not be ordering the healthy items now because they just don’t know how bad the other items are.”

Another offender singled out by the CSPI was The Big “Hook” Up platter at Joe’s Crab Shack, which they called one of the highest calorie entrees they had ever seen. The meal includes seafood and crab balls filled with jalapenos and cream cheese, coated in panko breadcrumbs, and served with ranch dressing – as well as fish, fries, coconut shrimp, crab stuffed shrimp, hushpuppies and coleslaw. In all, it has 3,280 calories, 50 grams of saturated fat, and 7,610 mg of sodium.

The other “winners” in the Xtreme Eating Awards included the Big Slab of St. Louis-Style Spareribs at Famous Dave’s (2,770 calories), the Prime New York Steak Contadina style at Maggiano’s Little Italy (2,420 calories), the Signature Deep Dish Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse (2,160 calories), Chevys Super Cinco Combo at Chevys Fresh Mex (1,920 calories) and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory (1,500 calories).

“When French toast is ‘Bruléed,’ fries are ‘bottomless,’ and steaks are now garnished with not just one, but two Italian sausages, it’s clear that caloric extremism still rules the roost at many of America’s chain restaurants,” said Einstein. “Two out of three American adults are overweight or obese and one in 10 adults has diabetes, thanks in part to The Cheesecake Factory, Chevys Fresh Mex, Maggiano’s Little Italy, and much of the rest of America’s chain restaurant industry.”