How Bad Are 'America's Unhealthiest Meals'?

Reporter finds gut-busting meals from chain restaurants have big health impact.

ByABC News
July 6, 2009, 1:34 PM

July 7, 2009— -- A consumer group recently caught our attention with a list of some of the unhealthiest dishes from popular chain restaurants.

They singled out a few particular gut-busting dishes -- the sort of food found on the menu at franchises across the country.

"These huge portion sizes can not only blow your diet for the day but can blow your diet for the week," said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

We wanted to see what effect eating this food would have on our bodies, other than the obvious impact on our waistlines.

ABC News producer Jon Garcia and I went to the University of Maryland Medical Center to put an appetizer, entree and dessert to the test.

Before we ate, researchers took blood samples and gauged the health of our arteries with an ultrasound. We both passed the tests and were deemed perfectly healthy.

Our three-course meal: an appetizer (deep fried macaroni and cheese), entree (quesadilla burger) and dessert (mega-sized deep dish sundae) packed 6,190 calories and 187 grams of saturated fat. The USDA recommends that adults our age eat roughly 2,000 calories per day, and no more than 20 grams of saturated fat. This means our single meal packed more than three times the daily recommended calories, and nearly 10 times the saturated fat suggested by federal guidelines.

We tried our best, but neither Jon nor I could finish the massive portions. We both felt tired and sluggish after eating. Jon even got a severe headache.