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Xtreme Eating Awards 2009: Food Morality?

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On Tuesday, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington DC consumer group, announced its 2009 Xtreme Eating Awards. All award-winning dishes were chock-a-bloc with calories, layered with salt, fat, sugar on top of fat, sugar salt, on top of sugar, salt and other words, bad for you, heavy on the artery-clogging fats.

Given that the USA obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions:

* 58 Million Overweight; 40 Million Obese; 3 Million morbidly Obese
* Eight out of 10 over 25's Overweight
* 78% of American's not meeting basic activity level recommendations
* 25% completely Sedentary
* 76% increase in Type II diabetes in adults 30-40 yrs old since 1990

One might wonder. Are these restaurants on a mission to make foods are fattening as possible? Is there no "food morality?"

CSPI senior nutritionist Jayne Hurley asks, "Would you like an entree with your entree?" Clearly, she says, "It's a race to the bottom, and there's no end in sight."

Please keep in mind the majority of us should limit our food consumption to about 2,000 calories (I'm betting that's an average, because I would gain at that amount!), 20 grams of saturated fat, and 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

The Xtreme Eating Awards go to:

* Red Lobster Ultimate Fondue: This retro item is also making comebacks at Olive Garden, Uno Chicago Grill, and at a chain that sells nothing but fondues, The Melting Pot. Red Lobster's Ultimate version, "shrimp and crabmeat in a creamy lobster cheese sauce served in a warm crispy sourdough bowl," is crammed with 1,490 calories, 40 grams of saturated fat, and 3,580 mg of sodium. That's two days' worth of both artery-clogging fat and blood-pressure-spiking sodium.

* Applebee's Quesadilla Burger: Here Applebee's inserts a bacon cheeseburger into a quesadilla. Two flour tortillas, two kinds of meat, two kinds of cheese, pico de gallo, lettuce, and a previously unknown condiment called Mexi-ranch sauce, plus fries, gives this monstrous marriage 1,820 calories, 46 grams of saturated fat, and 4,410 mg of sodium. Bonus heart-stopper: Applebee's actually invites customers to top the fries with chili and still more cheese.

* Chili's Big Mouth Bites: This is four mini-bacon-cheeseburgers served on a plate with fries, onion strings, and jalapeno ranch dipping sauce. ("Mini" is relative: each one is like a Quarter Pounder.) Like the "sliders" available at other chains, Chili's Big Mouth Bites can be an appetizer or an entree (these numbers are for the latter). 2,350 calories, 38 grams of saturated fat, and 3,940 milligrams of sodium.

* The Cheesecake Factory Chicken and Biscuits: Nutrition Action calls it "discomfort food." If you wouldn't eat an entire 8-piece bucket of KFC Original Recipe plus 5 biscuits, you shouldn't order this. But unless you live in a city with menu labeling, you wouldn't know that this dish has 2,500 calories. The rest of the winning -- or rather, losing -- appetizers, entrees, and desserts are in the June issue of Nutrition Action. (Source:

Knowledge is powerful. Please think hard before you over-indulge, go on a sugar-induced bender and/or clog your arteries.

Which tastes better?
2,500 calories of fat, sugar and salt or life?

Janice Taylor is a Life & Wellness Coach, the author of Our Lady of Weight Loss and All Is Forgiven, Move On.

Visit Janice: Our Lady of Weight Loss
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"Janice Taylor is a certain kind of kooky genius." ~ O, the Oprah Magazine
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