‘Extreme’ Restaurant Foods Boast High Calorie Content, Pose Risks to Health


The Center for Science in the Public Interest has released its top 2017 Xtreme Eating Awards. (NBC)

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UNITED STATES  --  The Center for Science in the Public Interest has released its top 2017 Xtreme Eating Awards, and the meals are filled with excessive calories and fat.

These "extreme meals" are becoming more typical in many restaurants and pose a number of risks to Americans' health, as NBC's Erika Edwards reports.

Most people wouldn't dream of eating five bacon double cheeseburgers from Burger King all at once, but at Buffalo Wild Wings, customers would consume even more calories by eating just one cheese curd bacon burger and fries.

"We're seeing high calorie mash-ups from restaurants all over their menus," said Lindsay Moyer, senior nutritionist at CSPI.

Winners of the Xtreme Eating Awards include the carnivore pizzadilla from Dave & Buster's, the cheeseburger omelet with a side of three pancakes from IHOP, and the ultimate smokehouse combo served at Chili's.

"All of the entrees we looked at have about a day's calories or more. That's 2,000 calories," said Moyer.

At well over 2,000 calories, The Cheesecake Factory's Pasta Napoletana is topped with Italian sausage, bacon, pepperoni, and meatballs.

"These meals are extreme, but even the typical restaurant meals are a threat to American's health because they increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease," said Moyer.

In response, the National Restaurant Association offered a statement saying the group has "led the effort to implement a national standard for menu labeling so that our customers can make informed decisions on their dining choices."

Dietitians say to watch out for portion size.

"You don't have to eat the whole thing yourself. You can share it with other people or you can bring it home with you and enjoy the next day," said Lindsay Malone, clinical dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic.

The Cheesecake Factory agrees. A spokeswoman provided a statement saying, "we love it when guests share. That's a great sign that our portions are generous. And a large percentage of our guests take home leftovers."

Looking up menus online ahead of time can help formulate a plan before you arrive at the restaurant.


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