'Extreme eating' report card finds American menus heavy on calories, sodium, sugar

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) issues the list every year. The list reveals several restaurants that offer dishes that far exceed daily recommended amounts of calories, fat, sodium and sugar.

The list notes that while obesity rates have begun to level in the United States, restaurants still sell excessively caloric meals, and do not list calorie counts or other nutritional information on their menus.

"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."

Some of the worst offenders include:

- IHOP's country fried steak and eggs combo, which has 1,760 calories, 23 grams of saturated fat, 3,720 mg of sodium, and 11 teaspoons of added sugar. CSPI compares that to consuming five McDonald's Egg McMuffins sprinkled with 10 packets of sugar.

- The Cheesecake Factory's bistro shrimp pasta contains 3,120 calories and 89 grams of saturated fat.

- The Johnny Rockets bacon cheddar double burger has 1,770 calories, 50 grams of saturated fat and 2,380 milligrams of sodium. With an order of sweet potato fries, there's another 590 calories and 800 mg of sodium. The chain's Big Apple Shake, a milkshake that actually contains a slice of apple pie, has 1,140 calories, 37 grams of saturated fat, and about 13 teaspoons of added sugar. That meal delivers a total of 3,500 calories (nearly two days' worth), 88 grams of saturated fat (four-and-a-half days' worth) and 3,720 mg of sodium (two-and-a-half days' worth). It's like eating 3 McDonald's quarter pounders with cheese, a large order of fries, a medium McCafé vanilla shake, and two baked apple pies.

CSPI recommends implementing federal rules for calories. For more information and the full list, visit the CSPI Xtreme Eating 2013 list.

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