Has Cheesecake Factory gone off the deep end?
One of their pasta dishes – the Bistro Shrimp Pasta, cooked with butter and cream sauce and topped with deep-fried shrimp – has been dubbed one of this year’s Xtreme Eats by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Coming in at a whopping 3,120 calories, 89 grams of saturated fat, and 1,090 milligrams of sodium, this is one of the unhealthiest things the CSPI has ever seen.
"The Cheesecake Factory has always been about choices. Many of our guests come in and want to celebrate and not be concerned with calories," Cheesecake Factory marketing director Donald Evans told Reuters.
But, when over one third of Americans are obese, and about 10% of the nation’s healthcare bills are the result of obesity-related conditions, this kind of portion and caloric excess is irresponsible.
“You'd think that the size of their profits depended on their increasing the size of your pants,” said CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson. To put it in perspective, here's a list of disgusting fast-food items with the same caloric content as this Cheesecake Factory dish:
- 10.4 Egg McMuffins. (And this morning, I was a little unsure whether one was too much.)
- 22.28 Popeye’s Spicy Chicken Wings.
- 5.11 KFC Double Downs – yes, that’s the sandwich made entirely of fried chicken, bacon and cheddar.
- 13.56 Taco Bell Volcano Tacos.
- 11.5 slices of grease-drenched Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza.
- 4.87 Boston Market rotisserie chicken halves.
- 4.65 12 oz. ribeye steaks from Applebee’s.
- 6.63 large Dairy Queen banana sundaes.
- 1.41 Outback Steak House Bloomin’ Onions – a dish meant for 3-4, previously nominated as the worst food for you in America.
Here are some of the other dishes which topped the list as the worst foods in America:
1. IHOP’s Country Fried Steak and Eggs
This breakfast monster weighs in at 1,760 calories, 23 grams of saturated fat, and 3,720 mg of sodium.
2. Johnny Rocket’s Bacon Cheddar Double Burger
Guess what? This burger has 1,770 calories, 50 grams of saturated fat, and 2,380 mg of sodium.
3. Uno Chicago Grill’s Deep Dish Macaroni & 3-Cheese
Rather innocuous looking, this dish nonetheless tops in at 1,980 calories, 71 grams of saturated fat (3 and a half days’ worth), and 3,110 mg of sodium.
4. Smoothie King’s Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie
A 40 oz serving has 1,460 calories and 3.5 days’ worth of sugar, or 22 teaspoons. Then add in another 3 days of sugar from the grapes.
5. Maggiano’s Little Italy's 18 oz. Veal Porterhouse
A big, tender steak which tops in at a wondrous 1,900 calories and 40 grams of saturated fat – and that’s without the additional 810 calories that come with the buttered red potato side.
6. Chili’s Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs, with both sides
Are you kidding me? This comes to a whopping 2,330 calories – or more than two 10oz Chili’s sirloin steaks with sides, and an additional third steak on the side.
To be honest, I don’t even know how you can cram that much fat, salt, and sugar into some of these dishes – what, are they boiling pasta in pure-rendered pork fat now? Seems to me like any of these dishes could easily be prepared with half the bad stuff and more flavor.
But that's the deal: you get fat-crammed food for relatively low prices, in exchange for quality and your health.
There’s nothing like looking at some of these to make you feel better about your own diet – but keep in mind that just four years ago, the CSPI highlighted the Cheesecake Factory’s Fried Macaroni and Cheese as one of the worst dishes in America, with 1,570 calories. That dish was referred to as worse than “eating an entire stick of butter.”
Today, that dish would practically be considered a healthy alternative. You could eat two of those and still come in at around the same caloric weight as the Bistro Shrimp Pasta.