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Most calorie-packed restaurant meals exposed

The Cheesecake Factory Farmhouse Cheeseburger is seen in this photo. (The Center for Science in the Public Interest)

July 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, an independent nonprofit consumer health group, has released its winners of the 2011 Xtreme Eating Awards. The list highlights the most calorie-packed meals at the nation's chain restaurants.

This year's "dishonorees," unveiled in the current edition of the Center's Nutrition Action Healthletter, include menu items from The Cheesecake Factory, IHOP, Denny's, Cold Stone Creamery, Applebee's, The Great Steak and Morton's.

Two dishes from The Cheesecake Factory made the list: The Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake and the Farmhouse Burger. A slice of red velvet cheesecake, about three-quarters of a pound, has 1,540 calories and three days worth of saturated fat (59 grams). And its Farmhouse Burger -- topped with pork belly, cheddar cheese and a fried egg -- has 1,530 calories and 36 grams of saturated fat, and that doesn't include the side of fries.

Applebee's, whose fettucine alfredo was once called "a heart attack on a plate" by the judges, upped the ante this year by adding provolone cheese-stuffed meatballs to the dish, bringing it to a whopping 1,520 calories and 43 grams of saturated fat (two days' worth).

The Great Steak's extra-large King Fries with cheese, bacon and sour cream has 1,500 calories, 33 grams of saturated fat and 4,980 milligrams of sodium (more than three days' worth). While the extra-large King Fries isn't available at all locations, those who do partake are eating the equivalent of three McDonald's Quarter Pounders with Cheese and two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt.

Morton's Porterhouse Streak, which weighs 24 ounces before cooking, also made the list. The slab of aged prime beef has 1,390 calories and 36 grams of saturated fat. Want to add sides to your plate? An order of mashed potatoes adds 850 calories and 34 grams of saturated fat. And half of Morton's "renowned" Creamed Spinach -- the side serves two -- tosses in 330 calories plus 15 grams of sat fat.

Denny's Fried Cheese Melt -- described as "four fried mozzarella sticks and melted American cheese grilled between two slices of sourdough bread" -- with French fries and a side of marinara sauce has 1,260 calories, 21 grams of saturated fat (a day's worth) and two days' sodium (3,010 milligrams). Without the fries and sauce, you save 470 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat and 350 milligrams of sodium.

IHOP's Monster Bacon 'N Beef Cheeseburger, with hickory-smoked bacon blended into the beef, has 1,250 calories and 42 grams of saturated fat. The burger is comprised of two thick patties, American and provolone cheeses, lettuce, tomato and onion on a Romano-Parmesan bun.

However, it was a dessert that put the cherry on top. Cold Stone Creamery's 24 oz. peanut butter and chocolate shake has 2,010 calories (a full day's worth) and 68 grams of saturated fat.

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