Watchdog group hands out awards for unhealthy meals - News, Weather & Sports

Watchdog group hands out awards for unhealthy meals

(NBC) - You'd never walk into a restaurant and order 88 grams of fat unless it's under the guise of a bacon cheddar double and a big apple shake at a burger joint. Learn what the Center for Science in the Public Interest sees as the unhealthiest restaurant meals.

Order either the Bistro Shrimp Pasta or the Crispy Chicken Costoletta at The Cheesecake Factory and you'll get calories than you'd need in an entire day.
That's not all.

"They each have four and a half days worth of saturated fat," said Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

That gut-busting news comes as Jacobson and his team at the CSPI hand out their annual X-Treme Eating Awards to chain restaurants. The awards are based on calorie, sodium and fat content data from each restaurant. The point is to try to shock people into seeing what goes into their mouths.

"We try to take Americans by the lapels and shake them and say, ‘you know, be careful,'" Jacobson said. "If you want to eat these meals, fine, but you should know what you're getting."

You'll get more than 6,000 milligrams of salt - a four-day supply - when you order the full rack of Baby Back Ribs at Chili's. The dish comes with homestyle fries and cinnamon apples.

Dietitians say there are ways to eat out and avoid gastronomic gluttony.

"Instead of starting your meal with a bread basket or fatty appetizer, choose a broth-based soup or even hot tea," said Lisa Cimperman, a registered dietitian at UH Case Medical Center.

Some studies show people who start their meals with a warm liquid consumer fewer calories.

In a statement, the National Restaurant Association said it is committed to taking a proactive role in helping the restaurant industry address food and healthy living, including obesity. Even The Cheesecake Factory offers what it calls a "skinny-licious" menu. The trick is resisting its namesake.

The National Restaurant Association was also in favor of a nutrition standard that will soon require thousands of chain restaurants nationwide to provide nutrition information at the point of purchase.

You can find more winners of the X-Treme Eating Awards by clicking the highlighted link: Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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