Cheesecake Factory, Uno Dishes Earn 'Xtreme Eating' Awards for High Fat, Sodium - NBC10 Boston
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Cheesecake Factory, Uno Dishes Earn 'Xtreme Eating' Awards for High Fat, Sodium

While the dishes come high in fat and sodium, the Health Department's Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Eating 'Xtreme': Restaurant Excess Exposed

    The Center for Science in the Public Interest has released its annual "Xtreme Eating Awards" highlighting some of the most unhealthy menu options in America. (Published Friday, July 27, 2018)

    Imagine eating seven McDonald's Sausage McMuffins in one sitting. That's what it would be like to finish just one breakfast burrito from The Cheesecake Factory, and the massive meal has topped the 2018 list of "Xtreme Eating Awards."

    The list, released Thursday from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, purports to highlight some of the most unhealthy dishes at popular restaurant chains. 

    Cheesecake Factory's breakfast burrito, recognized for being the "Worst Way to Start the Day," comes in at 2,730 calories, 73 grams of saturated fat and 4,630 milligrams of sodium. It's stuffed with eggs, bacon, chicken chorizo, cheese, potatoes, avocado, peppers and onions and smothered in spicy ranchero sauce. Sour cream, salsa and black beans come on the side.

    The Health Department's Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. It also suggests consuming less than 10 percent of daily calories from added sugars and less than 10 percent from saturated fats.

    While daily calorie recommendations vary based on sex and age, a 1,800-calorie diet is suggested for 31- to 50-year-old females and a 2,200-calorie diet is suggested for males in the same age range.

    The Cheesecake Factory defended its menu, saying customers don't have to eat its hearty meals if they don't want to.

    "With more than 250 menu items, The Cheesecake Factory has always been about choices," the company said in a statement to NBC News. "Many of our guests come in and want to celebrate and not be concerned with calories… For our calorie-conscious guests, we have our award-winning Skinnylicious menu…"

    The Chicken Parmesan "Pizza Style" from Cheesecake Factory also won an award: "Worst Adapted Pizza." Its 10-inch, circular chicken breast is breaded and covered in marinara sauce and cheese. Angel hair pasta in Alfredo sauce his piled on top, bringing the dish to a whopping 1,870 calories. 

    The "Worst Visceral Effects" award went to Uno Pizzeria & Grill's Deep Dish Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese. The heaping bowl has 2,320 calories, 59 grams of saturated fat and 4,530 milligrams of sodium — nutritionally equivalent to three orders of cheese ravioli from Olive Garden.

    "For those looking for lighter fare, we have a smaller version of this award-winning Mac & Cheese… at less than half the calories," Uno said in a statement to NBC News. "We offer over 100 menu options, from indulgent treats to more healthful choices, so our guests can have whatever they’re in the mood for…"

    The Bavarian Legend Soft Pretzel from AMC  earned the "Worst Cinematic Snack" with 7,600 milligrams of Sodium, and the Peanut Butter S’mores Pizookie from BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse got the "Worst Makeup" award with an estimated 135 grams of added sugar. The latter is nutritionally equal to a 14-oz. container of Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream and two cups of marshmallow Fluff.

    BJ's also cited its large menu as a reason for customers to enjoy its food, saying, "We have something for everyone."

    "While our very popular ... dessert is high in calories, it ... is perfect for sharing and typically ordered for a party of two or more," the company said in a statement to NBC. "That said, we do offer our Guests a full menu of Enlightened Entree items that are low in calories and made with high-nutrition ingredients for those eating on the healthier side."

    AMC did not immediately return requests for comment. Yard House, Chili's and Shake Shack dishes also received awards, and the companies did not immediately respond to requests for comments as well.