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Nutrition Group Zings Marin's IHOP, Cheesecake Factory Among Most Unhealthy Chain Restaurant Dishes

Some kitchens pack a day or two's worth of calories into a single meal. Have a look at which restaurants are overdoing it a little bit.

If you're watching your weight, take note: A consumer action group has published a list of high-calorie, high-fat options served up at national restaurant chains you may want to avoid, two of which are in Marin.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest’s website put the spotlight this week on some of the more extreme menu items in their Xtreme Eating Awards. The "winners" were revealed in their latest Nutrition Action Healthletter. 

They also included the Country Fried Steak & Eggs combo at IHOP, which has a location at the Vintage Oaks Shopping Center in Novato. That meal has 1,760 calories, 23 grams of saturated fat, 3,720 mg of sodium, and 11 teaspoons of added sugar, which CSPI claimed is like having five McDonald's Egg McMuffins sprinkled with 10 packets of sugar.

The list also featured Bistro Shrimp Pasta from the Cheesecake Factory, which is in the Village at Corte Madera. Despite including shrimp, mushrooms, tomato, and arugula, the dish has more calories than any other entrée (at 3,120) at the restaurant, along with 89 grams of saturated fat.

The Cheesecale Factory was also included for another dish – the Crispy Chicken Costoletta with 2,610 calories, 89 grams of saturated fat and 2,720 milligrams of sodium.

CSPI revealed the caloric, fat and sugar contents of specific dishes at The Cheesecake Factory as well as Chili’s, Maggiano’s, Uno Chicago Grill, Johnny Rockets, Smoothie King and IHOP.

These eating awards aren’t the only ones continuing the public discussion about some of the unhealthier menu items available. In the summer of 2012, Burger King made headlines when it introduced a 510-calorie bacon sundae. 

— Cristel Mohrman contributed to this report.

Do you have a favorite extreme meal? Or is there one that you wouldn’t dream of eating? Share your food stories with us here.


Fr. Patrick T. Michaels January 22, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Is it your intention to dissuade patrons from eating at these restaurants or to raise their consciousness about what they are eating? Are all of the plates at these restaurants equally unhealthy? Your reporting seems partial and potentially damaging to the companies listed. It seems a bit irresponsible on your part as a reporting agency. Fr. Patrick T. Michaels
Lothrop Withington Jr. January 23, 2013 at 03:26 AM
In all fairness, the portions at Cheesecake Factory are HUGE -- Easily spitable between two persons. I like their chipotle chicken pasta, which along with a side dish, could feed a small family. Still pretty caloric and unhealthy though. It does sort of seem like the two restaurants are getting singled out. But come on, anyone who orders a chicken fried steak breakfast knows they are not doing their body any favors.

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