Report Claims 'Xtreme Eating Running Amok'; IHOP, Chili's, Uno Top List

The Center for Science in the Public Interest issued a detailed examination of extreme eating in chain restaurants.

Information courtesy of the Center for Science in the Public Interest

A milkshake with a slice of apple pie blended right in. A 3,000-calorie plate of pasta. A breakfast that includes deep-fried steak and pancakes (and hash browns and eggs and gravy and syrup). Obesity rates may show signs of leveling off, but it looks like America’s major restaurant chains are doing everything possible to reverse the trend, according to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest. The group unveils the latest "winners" of its Xtreme Eating Awards in the current issue of its Nutrition Action Healthletter. 

"It's as if IHOP, The Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano's Little Italy, and other major restaurant chains are scientifically engineering these extreme meals with the express purpose of promoting obesity, diabetes, and heart disease," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. "You'd think that the size of their profits depended on their increasing the size of your pants."

The Xtreme Eating dis-honorees include:

IHOP serves a breakfast consisting of deep-fried steak with gravy, two fried eggs, deep-fried potatoes, and two buttermilk pancakes. The Country Fried Steak & Eggs combo has 1,760 calories, 23 grams of saturated fat, 3,720 mg of sodium, and 11 teaspoons of added sugar. CSPI says that's like having five McDonald's Egg McMuffins sprinkled with 10 packets of sugar.

Chili’s serves 20,000 miles’ worth of Baby Back Ribs every year, says the Web site of Brinker International, the chain’s corporate parent. It’s “almost enough to wrap around the globe!” And a good start if you want to look like one. A Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs with Shiner Bock BBQ Sauce (made with Shiner Bock Beer) packs 1,660 calories, 39 grams of saturated fat, and 5,025 milligrams of sodium. Toss in the Homestyle Fries (400 calories) and Cinnamon Apples (270 calories) that come with the ribs and you’re talking a real ribs dinner.

The Cheesecake Factory Crispy Chicken Costoletta doesn’t sound like much of an indulgence. Sure, the chicken breast is “lightly breaded and sauteed to a crisp golden brown,” but it is chicken breast, after all. And the dish comes with mashed potatoes (not fries) and fresh asparagus (a green veggie!). So you might be a tad surprised to learn that, according to the company, the meal packs 2,610 calories (more than a day’s worth), 89 grams of saturated fat (enough for almost a full work week), and 2,720 milligrams of sodium (your limit for today and most of tomorrow).

Others on the list include Johnny Rockets, Chili's, Smoothie King, Maggiano's and Uno Chicago Grill. Find the list, and full descriptions of the meals, here.

Calorie counts will soon be required on chain restaurant menus, thanks to the landmark health care reform legislation signed by President Obama in March 2010 and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

Do you eat any of these "extreme options?" If so, which ones? How often? How do you feel about restaurants serving these?

Jonathan Friedman (Editor) January 24, 2013 at 04:22 PM
I support unhealthy eating as long as you don't do it in excess.
Roxanne Houghton January 24, 2013 at 04:25 PM
We are told how to eat - how to think - how to feel - where does government intervention into our personal lives end?
Bill K. January 24, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Roxanne, It ends at the ballot box. While some realize this, the majority (especially in Ma. ) want the govt to run their lives; thus the liberal, BIG BROTHER, BIG GOVT on both the State and Federal levels. The truth sometimes stings.
Amy January 24, 2013 at 05:46 PM
This wouldn't have gone to the Supreme court if it wasn't shoved down our throats. How do they expect to confiscate more tax money if they keep making it impossible for businesses? "Calorie counts will soon be required on chain restaurant menus, thanks to the landmark health care reform legislation signed by President Obama in March 2010 and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June". Intervention will end when voters decide they've had enough of a Nanny State.
deb of see-attleboro January 24, 2013 at 06:35 PM
I think it is good if restaurants inform us of fat, sodium, calorie counts. I don't think they should be required to. It is best to prepare our own meals as much a as possible. What I do take issue with are fundraisers and events that have grown men and women stuffing their faces like barbarians. That is the epitome of excess.
Avon Barksdale January 24, 2013 at 07:16 PM
This article doesn't mention the government at all, except for a note at the end stating that calorie counts will be available on fast-food menus ... which doesn't tell you how to eat, think or feel, just provides you with more information. Apparently the answer to your question is "never, because I'm stuck on the idea that we live in a nanny-state and I've allowed it to take over my mind. I will repeat this to everyone I meet and when they sake their heads and groan I will call them sheep and tell them they love to be led by the nose."
Avon Barksdale January 24, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Why is requiring calorie counts "making it impossible for business"? What else should be eliminated - perhaps food companies can stop listing ingredients and paint companies can go back to using lead.
Amy January 24, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Avon led paint, really? Your such a silly! Don't businesses have enough restrictions and requirements? Ok, I'll concede, impossible wasn't the right word to describe another requirement for business by the Nanny Gvm't. But if you're ordering heart attack potatoes, chances are the calories are up there. I'm assuming most people know what they should and shouldn't eat.
Anne Delaney January 25, 2013 at 09:29 AM
Calorie counts help you make a better choice. It causes no hardship, and it is already done in other states. It just helps someone make healthier choices.
Terese Bohaxiu-Dicastiglione January 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM
The food industry has has gone way overboard - why can't a pizza just be a pizza without stuffing the crust with cheese, and including glazed dough sticks and fake chicken 'wyngz'? And Dunkin' Donuts adding Oreos to coffee drinks - really necessary?
Amy January 25, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Why can't people take responsibility for what they eat? Do you really need someone to tell you how many calories are in fatty foods? If it’s a concern to you then don't eat the big fat pizza crust or glazed donuts or coffee with oreos. Feel free to eat in states that show how many calories they contain. You’ll pay at least double for that knowledge. If your choice is to drink green tea, tofu and lettuce then bona petite ! I don't want to eat tofu and I'm not going to!
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) January 25, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Because stuffed crust pizza is awesome, especially when you add that artificial butter sauce that comes with the order.
Avon Barksdale January 27, 2013 at 05:18 PM
It makes the food cost twice as much to post ts calorie content? Wow, imagine how much duct tape and plastic sheeting could we afford if only this awful law did not exist,
Tina Mqs January 27, 2013 at 08:40 PM
when they stop trying to control health care. until they do, you're out of luck.
Tina Mqs January 27, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Amen to that! As to the article, no it's not talking about government intervention, but there is more legislation to make ingredients and calorie counts visible (and reliable). I don't have any problem with that. But it's all heading towards the day when whomever is holding your health care can say "you had the info, and you still ate/drank/smoked/never exercised, so you're being sent to the back of the line for that heart job you wanted". Fair? Probably, but I'm just pointing it out.
Tina Mqs January 27, 2013 at 08:49 PM
"And Dunkin' Donuts adding Oreos to coffee drinks - really necessary?"....um, yes? :D
Schnitz February 05, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Barksdale, I adore you. An intellectual, coherent conversation may not be possible with "led paint…Your a silly" Amy. Progress is impossible as long as we keep treating that as an opposing opinion rather than what it is, stupidity. Children's table it. We need intelligent adults to start fixing things.
Amy February 06, 2013 at 01:32 PM
What's to fix Schnitz? What I eat? That's none of you business, that's just silly! Now really, how can you not adore Avon.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something