Cheesecake Factory pasta tops nation's unhealthiest restaurant meals

Does this plate of food make my butt look fat?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest puts out an annual list of the most egregious caloric offenders to be found in popular restaurant chains.  Released yesterday, the Xtreme Eating "winners" were announced.

Readers beware: This is the food version of watching Hoarders. It's best to read with a side of raw carrots and a head of iceberg lettuce.

Thumbnail image for CheesecakeFactory Shrimp pasta.jpg
Cheesecake Factory
As God is your witness, you will never be hungry again

Pull on your buffet pants and head to the Cheesecake Factory, the list's "winner." Diners need not head straight for the caloric confection for which the restaurant is named if they want to go fatty. Fondle the out-sized menu and consider the shrimp dish. It's seafood -- can't be that bad, right? The Bistro Shrimp pasta consists of deep-fried shrimp atop a creamy pasta, and it clocks in at 3,120 calories and 89 grams of saturated fat. Unfortunately, the presence of arugula and mushrooms does nothing to make this healthy. That's an average adult's day and a half worth of calories.

IHOP chicken fried steak.jpg
Chicken-fried steak all day (with enough sodium for a couple more days)

How about a trucker-style breakfast at IHOP? The Country Fried Steak and Eggs includes a breaded piece of beef that, after its deep-fried fat bath, pops out of the kitchen with 3,720 mg of sodium. That's two and a half days' worth. Rounding out the nutritional count are 1,760 calories, 23 grams of saturated fat, and 11 teaspoons of added sugar. It's a savory dish -- what is that sugar doing in there?

One more for you gluttons out there: Let's go full-on comfort food with the Deep Dish Macaroni & 3 Cheese at Uno Chicago Grill. Four cups of pasta are mixed with cheddar, parmesan, and romano cheese, an Alfredo sauce, and a Ritz cracker topping. This bad boy clocks in at 1,980 calories, 71 grams of saturated fat, and 3,110 mg of sodium. According to the science center, "Eating this entree is like eating a whole family-size box of Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese -- with half a stick of butter melted on top."  Yum.

See you in spin class tonight.

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I am no fan of the Nanny State.

The right to choose what we eat is as much a cornerstone of a free and democratic society as free speech and a free press. Ditto for The Cheesecake Factory's right to pile on the salt, fat, and sugar.
But just because they can, it doesn't mean they should.

The Cheesecake Factory crosses the line.

Chama DeVon
Chama DeVon

Skip the chain restaurants and eat local! They seem to care about the people and the food they serve.

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