The Nine Worst in Restaurant Eats: Center for Science in the Public Interest

CSPIs report on Xtreme foods of 2010

Nine decadent restaurant meals got a slap on the wrist Tuesday when the Center for Science in the Public Interest (dis)honored them with its 2010 Xtreme Eating Awards.

"These meals are the calorie champions of unhealthy restaurant food, with all meals (and one dessert) weighing in at well over 1,000 calories and shocking amounts of sodium, saturated fat, and sugar," says Bonnie Liebman, co-author of the center's report.

VIDEO: "The Food Police" release a list of the most off-the-chart restaurant dishes.
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"When two out of three adults in America are overweight and one out of three are too fat to join the military," she says, "we mean this [report] as a warning to people that some foods you order at restaurants are a lot worse for you than you think. People often target fast food but many sit-down restaurants actually have larger portions and more fat and calories."

But does calling out a handful of hefty meals make a difference?

Video of Lugar, Vilsack and military vets speaking about unhealthy school lunches.
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Diet experts seem to be on the fence.

"This kind of 'reality check' is a useful…reminder of how far from reasonable the typical American diet can be, and often is," says Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine.

However, the actual affect on the American public tends to be limited, he says, because "the people who most often eat such meals will be least likely to read the report, or be influenced by it if they do."

Other diet experts point out that restaurants are responding to what people want to -- and will -- consume, so it may not be fair, or particularly useful, to lambast their offerings.

There's no question that America's diet is in need of an overhaul, experts say, but are these oversized offerings truly to blame?

Let's take a look at the lineup.

The Nine: Xtreme Eats of 2010

The following dishes made the cut for the CSPI's 2010 Xtreme Eating Award, though Liebman said, "It's hard to choose because there are so many contenders."

California Pizza Kitchen Tostada Pizza with Grilled Steak. The equivalent of a pepperoni pizza plus six beef tacos, this pie weighs in at 1,680 calories and 32 grams of saturated fat.

Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger. This burger alone is 920 calories and a day-and-a-half's allowance (30 grams) of saturated fat. Adding a large order of French fries adds 1,460 calories (three times the amount in large McDonald's fries).

P.F. Chang's Double Pan-Fried Noodles Combo. It's hard to know what's more impressive: the days' worth (1,820) of calories in this dish, or the five days' worth of salt.

The Cheesecake Factory Pasta Carbonara with Chicken. Bacon-y, buttery, creamy, and carb-y -- this pasta dish brings 2,500 calories and 85 grams of saturated fat to the table.

The Cheesecake Factory Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake. Six inches long, three-quarters of a pound, and over 1,600 calories, this "slice" of cake is the equivalent of eating fourteen Hostess Ho Hos.

Outback Steakhouse New Zealand Rack of Lamb. The lamb alone has 1,300 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat, but add the buttery sides (even the veggies) and you're up to 80 grams of saturated fat.

California Pizza Kitchen Pesto Cream Penne. Before you add any chicken or shrimp, this creamy version of an Italian classic has 1,350 calories, 49 grams of saturated fat and 1,920 mg of sodium.

Chevy's Crab & Shrimp Quesadilla. Technically an appetizer, this cheesy platter has 1,790 calories and 63 grams of saturated fat.

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