Brace yourself, America. Now look at what you've done.
Image Credit: Red Robin
From the seventh circle of culinary hell comes the Monster Burger combo, a 3,540-calorie behemoth that was recently named the "unhealthiest meal" in America.
This heart attack on a plate includes something called the Peppercorn Monster Burger, a double-pattied stroke machine served with "bottomless" steak fries and a Monster Salted Caramel Milkshake. Altogether, the meal boasts a staggering 69 grams of saturated fat, 6,280 milligrams of sodium and 205 grams of sugar (roughly equal to nine cans of Pepsi).
For perspective: To burn all the calories accrued with this meal, a fully grown adult would need 12 hours of brisk walking.
Image Credit: USA Today
That's 36 miles, or approximately the distance from Lower Manhattan to Stamford, Conn.
Image Credit: Google Maps
WebMD suggests 2,700 calories per day for a "moderately active" male age 19-30, while the USDA recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium. The Monster Burger combo would eclipse those in a single meal, with 840 calories to spare and enough sodium to last another three days.
Image Credit: The Chic Site
The "unhealthiest" tag was bestowed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest's Xtreme Eating Awards, which annually calculate the most noxious foods one can order at an American chain restaurant.
Observers point out that past winners normally fall in the 1,500-calorie range, meaning Red Robin has taken this insanity to new and horrifying heights (or depths).
Needless to say, the awards focus on meals "especially high in calories, fat, sugar and salt," according to USA Today. This year's runners-up include Bruléed French Toast, Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic, and Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake, all available at your local Cheesecake Factory restaurant.
The (really) big picture: That any of these even exist is a testament to the sheer amount of garbage we're willing to stuff our faces with.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the United States has more obese people than any country in the world, at a rate of 34.9%. The medical cost of this condition was an estimated $147 billion in 2008, while the average obese patient cost $1,429 more than patients of “normal” weight.
Reasons for obesity vary, but the rampant availability of frighteningly unhealthy food isn't helping anyone. And only in the coming months will restaurants be required to start listing calorie counts next to menu items.
Meanwhile, just wow. America has a lot to explain for this one.