Every summer, just as we’re lamenting how we never reached our “beach bod,” the good people over at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) take a moment to remind us all why, handing out their Xtreme Eating Awards featuring nine of the most calorie-filled chain restaurant meals.
First, let’s flashback to how gross we were in 2015, when Red Lobster’s Create Your Own Combination platter took the top spot at a substantially filling 2,710 calories. Apparently, someone over at Applebee’s was like “A ridiculous combination platter! Why didn’t we think of that?!” because for 2016, “your neighborhood grill & bar” blew Red Lobster out of the water with its 3,390 calorie “Build Your Own Sampler.” Granted, CSPI probably built the most calorific sampler possible, but I dare you to look in the mirror and say you wouldn’t have done the same damn thing.
For the record, CSPI’s list isn’t really a calorie-for-calorie competition. Instead, the group tries to select a broad assortment of items that they feel represent just how ludicrous some of these menu items have become. “Unfortunately, these extreme meals are more like the rule, not the exception,” said CSPI dietitian Lindsay Moyer on the organization’s website. “America’s restaurant chains are serving up meals that seem engineered to promote diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and strokes. The 3,000-calorie burger platters of today make McDonald’s Quarter Pounders look like sliders.” Hey, don’t give anyone any ideas!
Other chains that made the list include Maggiano’s with its “Marco’s Meal for Two” which, even when split in half, can still come out to 2,830 calories each, Dave & Buster’s with their “Short Rib & Cheesy Mac Stack” which, let’s be honest, definitely never sounded like health food to begin with, and Uno Pizzeria & Grill which now serves up a 2,850 calorie Whole Hog Burger.
Dessert can also prove problematic. For instance, Buffalo Wild Wings landed on CSPI’s radar with its “Dessert Nachos.” An unhealthy dessert nacho? Well I never.
Basically, CSPI uses this list ever year to remind us not to be idiots when it comes to deluding ourselves into thinking something like Sonic’s Grape Slush with Rainbow Candy might be anything less than 970 calories. As CSPI points out, this time next year, most chains will be required to post calorie counts on their menus. It would probably behoove us to use them.