Burgers topped with pork bellies and fried eggs. Grilled cheese stuffed with fried mozzarella sticks. Creamy fettuccine topped with provolone-filled meatballs.
These health-unfriendly indulgences are available at some of America’s top chain restaurants.
And we’re not safe from the worst either. Some dishes are available in Canada.
The winners — or losers, if you care about your health — of this year’s Xtreme Eating Awards are the standout dishes packed with sodium, fat and calories.
The eight awards went to dishes found at The Cheesecake Factory, IHOP, Denny’s, Cold Stone Creamery, Applebee’s, Great Steak and Morton’s.
[Related Slideshow: See the gallery of winning dishes]
Cold Stone Creamery’s PB&C Shake clocks in at a terrifying 2,010 calories. You might want to rethink your beat-the-heat snack choice.
Download the entire list here.
The awards are “dished out” by the pro-nutrition organization Center for Science in the Public Interest.
“If Americans are feeling a little more full when lumbering out of The Cheesecake Factory, Applebee’s, Denny’s, and other chains, it’s not in their heads,” said CSPI nutrition director Bonnie Liebman.
“It’s as if the restaurants were targeting the remaining one out of three Americans who are still normal weight in order to boost their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and cancer.”
These 1,000-calorie-plus dishes aren’t just for consumption south of the border. Some Canadian cities are already home to Denny’s, Applebee’s, Morton’s and Cold Stone Creamery locations.
[Related: The fanciest foods of 2011]
The Cheesecake Factory has been long-rumoured to be on its way — Yorkdale Shopping Centre recently debunked rumours it would host the chain’s Canadian debut.
Fans of The Cheesecake Factory, take this absence as a good thing, waist-wise.
Of the eight awards, two went to menu items from The Cheesecake Factory: the 1,540-calorie slice of Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake and the 1,530-calorie Factory Farmhouse Cheeseburger.
CSPI points out eating the pork-belly-and-egg-topped Factory Farmhouse Cheeseburger is the equivalent of eating three McDonald’s Quarter Pounders. And that’s if you skip the side order of fries — which is unlikely.
It’s a case of “Which came first: obesity or the menu?” Should restaurants be held accountable for their sugary, salty, fatty, out-of-control portions? Or are they merely accommodating our unhealthy demands?