Behold! The calorie-laden winners of the 2019 ‘Xtreme Eating Awards’

It’s OK to treat yourself. It’s not OK to treat yourself badly.

Leave it to the Center for Science in the Public Interest to offer what it says are examples of the latter — in the form of pudgy little trophies.

Welcome, one and all, to the 2019 Xtreme Eating Awards.

On Monday, the center unveiled its annual list of chain eatery dishes that make “the usual 1,000-calorie restaurant fare look sensible” in terms of calories, fat, sugar and sodium.

They aren’t the worst dishes in America, said Lindsay Moyer, a senior nutritionist at the center. Rather, they are examples of how eating out has gotten out of control.

“The truth is that many Americans want to eat healthier, but these restaurant chains are making it tough,” she said.


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Even typical restaurant entrees can often have 1,000 calories, she said, “warping our perspective of what constitutes a normal serving.”

Busy lifestyles don’t help. According to Moyer, Americans now eat a third of their calories away from home.

“It’s not as if these restaurant chains haven’t heard about the obesity epidemic,” she said. “These dishes keep getting bigger and bigger.”

This year’s honorees include Sonic’s large Oreo Peanut Butter Master Shake (1,720 calories); The Cheesecake Factory’s Cinnamon Roll Pancakes (2,040 calories); and Chili’s The Boss Burger (2,020 calories).

And then there are Topgolf’s Injectable Donut Holes: 24 sugar-dusted, deep-fried guys served alongside syringes filled with chocolate, raspberry jam and Bavarian cream. Altogether, they hit about 1,970 calories over par, and they’re “like eating four Burger King double cheeseburgers, plus a large Coke,” Moyer said.

For the record, the recommended daily diet shouldn’t exceed 2,000 calories; 20 grams of saturated fat; 50 grams of added sugar; and 2,300 milligrams of sodium.

Isn’t it OK, though, to reach for that 16-inch sub on occasion?

“People can absolutely make their own decisions about what they want to order each time you walk into a restaurant,” Moyer said. “And a splurge is one thing, but restaurant chains in America are overfeeding us on a regular basis.”

One way for the healthy-conscious to … um … have their cake and eat it too is portion control: “Share a dish with a friend, or just take half home,” Moyer said.

And, read that menu. Calories are now listed for dishes at all chain restaurants with 20 locations or more.

It’s like they say: The numbers never lie … no matter how incredible they are.

Feast your eyes on the winners below.

Cracker Barrel's Country Boy Breakfast
Cracker Barrel’s Country Boy Breakfast is the perfect way to power up right before your hot yoga class in Georgetown. The numbers: 1,530 calories; 25 grams of saturated fat; and 4,730 milligrams of sodium. (Courtesy Center for Science in the Public Interest)
Cheesecake Factory's Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
The Cheesecake Factory’s Cinnamon Roll Pancakes look dreamy despite the numbers: 2,040 calories; 51 grams of saturated fat; 2,950 milligrams of sodium; and 137 grams of added sugar. “That’s more sugar than any other winner we had this year,” Moyer said, and they’re “like eating 11 Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts.” (Courtesy Center for Science in the Public Interest)
Jimmy Johns' Giant Gargantuan
Filled with salami, turkey, capicola, roast beef and ham, Jimmy Johns’ 16-inch Giant Gargantuan has over three days’ worth of sodium. (Some might call that a salt assault.) The numbers: 2,190 calories; 29 grams of saturated fat; and 7,720 milligrams of sodium. (Courtesy Center for Science in the Public Interest)
Sonic's large Oreo Peanut Butter Master Shake
Sonic’s 32-ounce Oreo Peanut Butter Master Shake is like eating “15 Oreos blended with half a cup of lard.” That’s bad, right? The numbers: 1,720 calories; 48 grams of saturated fat; and 62 grams of added sugar. (Courtesy Center for Science in the Public Interest)
Maggiano's pasta dishes
Maggiano’s offers a free pasta dish to take home when you order one. One option: The Braised Beef al Forno. “Who knew that orecchiette pasta, beef, peppers, spinach, and ‘truffle peppercorn sauce’ could hit 1,760 calories?” asked the center. The other numbers: 41 grams of saturated fat and 2,990 milligrams of sodium. (Courtesy Center for Science in the Public Interest)
Topgolf's Injectable Donut Holes
How is America applying that innovative spirit? Behold: Topgolf’s Injectable Donut Holes. The numbers: 1,970 calories; 37 grams of saturated fat; 1,880 milligrams of sodium; and 100 grams of added sugar. (Courtesy Center for Science in the Public Interest)
Chili's Boss Burger
Chili’s The Boss Burger is the “burger all other burgers report to,” per the menu. Its management qualifications include smoked brisket, bacon, jalapeno-cheddar smoked sausage and housemade ranch dressing. The center is not impressed. You’re not the boss of them, sandwich! The numbers: 2,020 calories; 47 grams of saturated fat; and 3,900 milligrams of sodium. It’s the equivalent of three McDonald’s Triple Cheeseburgers, plus a large order of fries. (Courtesy Center for Science in the Public Interest)
Dave and Buster's Chicken and Waffle Sliders
With Dave & Buster’s Chicken & Waffle Sliders, the chain possibly found inspiration in a 2018 Xtreme Food Award winner: Chili’s Honey-Chipotle Crispers & Waffles. The numbers: 2,340 calories; 38 grams of saturated fat; 98 grams of added sugar; and 3,420 milligrams of sodium. They’re like eating eight Eggo waffles plus eight Jimmy Dean pork sausage patties — doused in a half-cup of maple syrup, the center said. (Courtesy Center for Science in the Public Interest)
(1/8)
Cracker Barrel's Country Boy Breakfast
Cheesecake Factory's Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
Jimmy Johns' Giant Gargantuan
Sonic's large Oreo Peanut Butter Master Shake
Maggiano's pasta dishes
Topgolf's Injectable Donut Holes
Chili's Boss Burger
Dave and Buster's Chicken and Waffle Sliders

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

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