WASHINGTON - You'd never walk into a restaurant and order 88 grams of fat, unless it's under the guise of a bacon cheddar double and a big apple shake at a burger joint.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest is out with its "Xtreme Eating Awards". It lists some of the unhealthiest meals, based on calories, fat, sodium and sugar.
The Cheesecake Factory has two menu landmines. Order the crispy chicken costoletta and you'll get more calories than you need in an entire day, along with four and a half days worth of saturated fat.
The same goes for the chain's bistro shrimp pasta, which is one of the worst offenders. The meal weights in at 3,120 calories, 89 grams of saturated fat and 1,090 milligrams of sodium.
If it's shocking, it's supposed to be.
"We try to take Americans by the lapels and shake them and say, you know, be careful," said Michael Jacobson with the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "If you want to eat these meals, fine, but you should know what you're getting."
Order a full rack of Chili's baby back ribs and you'll also get homestyle fries and cinnamon apples. Add it all up for a grand total of 2,330 calories, 45 grams of saturated fat and 6,490 mg of sodium. That's four days worth or sodium.
Dietitians say there are ways to eat out and avoid gastronomic gluttony.
"Instead of starting your meal with a bread basket or fatty appetizer, choose a broth-based soup or even hot tea," said Lisa Cimperman, RD with the UH Case Medical Center.
Some studies show people who start their meals with a warm liquid consumer fewer calories.
The National Restaurant Association released a statement that says it is committed to taking a proactive role in helping the restaurant industry address food and healthy living.
The Association is also in favor of a nutrition standard that will soon require thousands of chain restaurants nationwide to provide nutrition information at the point of purchase.
Click here for the CSPI's full "Xtreme Eating Awards" report.
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