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Restaurant Calories: 'Extreme Eating'

Sky-High Calories, Fat, and Sodium Cited by Consumer Group
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 27, 2007 -- Need a reality check about restaurant calories? A consumer group says so; but the restaurant industry says diners have many healthy options.

The spat about fat and calories in restaurant food started with an article published by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in its Nutrition Action Health Letter.

The CSPI has, in the past, criticized unhealthy Chinese, Italian, and other restaurant fare.

The CSPI's new article, titled "X-Treme Eating," highlights eight menu items from chain restaurants with sky-high calories, saturated fat, and salt.

Here's a look at those items:

  • Ruby Tuesday Colossal Burger (two large patties, bun, and melted American and Monterey Jack cheese): 1,940 calories and 141 grams fat.


  • UNO Chicago Grill Pizza Skins (deep-dish pizza with mozzarella, mashed potatoes, crispy bacon, cheddar, and sour cream: 2,050 calories with 48 grams fat and 3,140 milligrams (mg) sodium.


  • On the Border Double-Stacked Club Quesadillas (two white-flour tortillas with fajita chicken, cheese, crumbled bacon and avocado, served with sour cream and ranch dressing): 1,860 calories, 52 grams saturated fat, and 3,140 mg sodium.


  • Ruby Tuesday Fresh Chicken & Broccoli Pasta (white-meat chicken, broccoli, and penne pasta in a parmesan cream sauce topped with cheddar cheese and baked): 2,060 calories and 128 grams fat.


  • On the Border Ranchiladas (an 8-ounce steak served with two cheese enchiladas, chile con carne, rice, and either refried or black beans with cheese): 1,870 calories, 46 grams saturated fat, and 3,810 mg sodium.


  • Cold Stone Creamery Gotta Have It Founder's Favorite (a large waffle bowl with 14 ounces of ice cream with pecans, brownie pieces, fudge, and caramel): 1,740 calories, 48 grams saturated fat, and 4 grams trans fat.


  • Romano's Macaroni Grill Twice-Baked Lasagna With Meatballs (six layers of pasta stuffed with meatballs, three cheeses, and Bolognese sauce): 1,360 calories, 38 grams saturated fat, and 3,900 mg sodium.


  • The Cheesecake Factory Chris' Outrageous Chocolate Cake (layers of chocolate cake, brownie, coconut pecan filling, and creamy chocolate chip coconut cheesecake): 1,380 calories, 32 teaspoons sugar, 33 grams saturated fat, and 5 grams trans fat.


The nutritional breakdowns for these items "come from the companies themselves, though obviously not from the companies' menus," states a CSPI news release.


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