Though we often think of restaurants chains like McDonald’s and Burger King as the most unhealthiest in the country, a roundup of America’s most caloric dishes reveals most Americans are probably clueless as to what spots are the most harmful to their health.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest hosted its Xtreme Eating Awards, which awards the American chain restaurant dishes with the highest calories, fat and sodium counts. Turns out the Cheesecake Factory, a popular family dining spot, topped the list thanks to its Pasta Carbonara menu option. The dish contains a whopping 2,500 calories and 85 grams of saturated fat.
“That’s the fat equivalent of four days of heavy-duty meals. If that didn’t shock you into swearing off the chain for at least a year, here’s another analogy: Eating just one plate of Pasta Carbonara at the Cheesecake Factory is like eating five, yes, five Double Downs at KFC,” reports Slate.
But Cheesecake Factory isn’t the only restaurant considered a master deceptor when it comes to undetected calorie-high dishes. California Pizza Kitchen’s Pesto Cream Penne is worth 1,350 calories and 1,920 mg of sodium--that’s almost as much salt as one would eat in an entire day. Another dish from the pizza favorite, the Tostada Pizza--which has strips of lettuce, fresh tomato salsa and black beans--may sound rather health in theory, it actually carries 1,680 calories and 3,300 mg of sodium.
However, it seems that it’s not the calories that are actually shocking, but rather the way in which American restaurant chains seemingly disguise such options as dishes that are not only delicious but healthy, in whatever capacity one may consider healthy. While a Burger King Triple Stacker and McDonald’s Big Mac are the usual culprits targeted as America’s most destructive meals in the country, consumers very rarely consider the more subtle dishes that don’t necessarily stick out on menus as glaringly harmful.
Or as Slate points out, “what you perceive can sometimes be very far from what you eat.”
So the next time you go to a take out or dine in to pick out your meal of choice, be sure to ask, if possible, for the calorie intake before ordering. Also, begin to educate yourself with the wealth of online resources on what is considered high in calorie, sodium, sugar, saturated fat, etc. The more knowledge we acquire and share, the better we know and the smarter decisions we make.
Eat with caution.
(Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for The Cheesecake Factory)