Imagine attempting the 12,000-calorie Michael Phelps diet, only everything deep-fried, sugar-coated, sodium-doused and fat-drenched.
Take the Cheesecake Factory’s list-topping Bistro Shrimp Pasta dish (pictured). It seems so innocent: a bed of veggie-specked spaghettini, overlaid by a handful of battered, fried shrimp, tossed in basil-garlic-lemon cream sauce. Surely not a dish you’d find on the Slim-Fast plan, but who’d guess you’re actually looking at a whopping 3,120 calories, 89 grams of saturated fat and 1,090 mg of sodium (according to CSPI)? That’s 320 to 520 more calories than the average “moderately active” male aged 19 to 30 is advised to eat over the course of an entire day, according to WebMD.
“Nothing about the way The Cheesecake Factory describes its Bistro Shrimp Pasta sounds extreme,” writes CSPI. “Sure, there’s cream and battered shrimp, but they’re mixed in with mushrooms and arugula, for heaven’s sake … It’s like eating three orders of Olive Garden’s Lasagna Classico plus an order of tiramisu for dinner.”
Speaking of dessert, the Chocolate Zuccotto Cake served at Maggiano’s Little Italy made CSPI’s list, a monster five-inch tall by four-inch wide slice “layered with sambuca chocolate mousse, iced with chocolate frosting and dusted with cocoa powder.” Any guesses? Try 1,820 calories, 62 grams of saturated fat, and 26 teaspoons of added sugar: according to the CSPI, it’s the equivalent of shoveling down 15 Hostess Ho Hos (would that we still could).
Also making CSPI’s list of 2013 winners:
- Johnny Rockets’ Bacon Cheddar Double (1,770 calories, 50 grams of saturated fat and 2,380 mg of sodium)
- IHOP’s Country Fried Steak & Eggs (1,760 calories, 23 grams of saturated fat, 3,720 mg of sodium and 11 teaspoons of sugar)
- Maggiano’s Little Italy’s 18 oz. Veal Porterhouse (1,900 calories, 40 grams of saturated fat and 2,860 mg of sodium — with potatoes that total soars to 2,710 calories, 45 grams of sat fat and 3,700 mg of sodium)
- Smoothie King’s Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie (the 40 oz. large has 1,460 calories and 22 teaspoons of sugar)
- Chili’s Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs with Shiner Bock BBQ Sauce (1,660 calories, 39 grams of saturated fat and 5,025 milligrams of sodium — add fries and apples and the total jumps to 2,330 calories, 45 grams of saturated fat and 6,490 mg sodium)
- Cheesecake Factory’s Crispy Chicken Costoletta (2,610 calories, 89 grams of saturated fat and 2,720 mg of sodium)
- Uno Chicago Grill’s Deep Dish Macaroni & 3-Cheese (1,980 calories, 71 grams of saturated fat and 3,110 mg of sodium)