The Cheesecake Factory is making headlines for their newest specialty dish – a 3,120 calorie packed Bistro Shrimp Pasta made with a butter and cream sauce and topped with battered, fried shrimp.
The dish, which also contains 89 grams of saturated fat and 1,090 milligrams of sodium, is among the headliners on this year's Xtreme Eating list of the most unhealthy dishes at U.S. chain restaurants.
Composed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer-focused nonprofit group that promotes healthier eating, the list is made up in an effort to alert consumers to menu items with eye-popping levels of calories, saturated fat, sugar and/or sodium.
"You'd think that the size of their profits depended on their increasing the size of your pants," CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson, as cited by Reuters, said of the industry's Xtreme Eating winners.
While health experts suggest that adults should consume no more than 20 grams of saturated fat and 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, CSPI said it confirmed the overwhelming nutritional data with the companies on the list.
Referring to The Cheesecake Factory's Bistro Shrimp Pasta, CSPI said that it’s “like eating three orders of Olive Garden's Lasagna Classico plus an order of tiramisu for dinner.”
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, as cited by Reuters, one-third of Americans are obese, with about 10 percent of the nation's healthcare bill is tied to obesity-related diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
While Cheesecake Factory is known for its plentiful portions and wide array of cheesecakes, the California based company does give the option of a lower calorie section on their menu.
Since August 2011, the company has made an effort to promote its "SkinnyLicious" menu of entrees with 590 or fewer calories, including salmon rolls and a pear and endive salad.
Jayne Hurley, CSPI's senior nutritionist and an author of this year's Xtreme Eating report, said such lower-calorie items should be recategorized as "normal" rather than "diet".
"It's the steady stream of high-calorie foods that sabotage your diet not just for the day, but for the entire week," Hurley said.
Other Xtreme Eating winners for 2013 include:
--Johnny Rockets' Bacon Cheddar Double Hamburger with 1,770 calories, 50 grams of saturated fat and 2,380 milligrams of sodium. For comparison, three Quarter Pounders with Cheese from McDonald's have 1,570 calories.
--Cheesecake Factory's Crispy Chicken Costoletta with 2,610 calories, 89 grams of saturated fat and 2,720 milligrams of sodium. CSPI said an entire 12-piece bucket of KFC Original Recipe fried chicken has about the same number of calories but less than half the saturated fat.
--Smoothie King's Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie, which includes peanut butter, banana, sugar and grape juice. A 40-ounce large size of that drink has 1,460 calories and 22 teaspoons of added sugar plus 29 teaspoons of naturally occurring sugar.
--Chocolate Zuccotto Cake from Maggiano's Little Italy. One slice weighs nearly one pound and has 1,820 calories, 62 grams of saturated fat and 26 teaspoons of added sugar - or 15 Hostess Ho Hos, CSPI said.