You know you're in for a calorie-ridden meal when you sit down with a hamburger, fries and a shake. But the Monster Meal at restaurant chain Red Robbin adds unlimited fries and a monster-sized shake to make it a true gut-buster with at least 3,540 calories.
The meal, which comes with a 1,670-calorie burger and unlimited 370-calorie servings of fries, earned one of the Center for Science in the Public Interest's 2014 Xtreme Eating awards. The winners, announced Wednesday, are restaurant dishes that the nonprofit watchdog group deems "xtreme" in both calorie content, fat and sodium.
And if you really want to make your Monster Meal scary, you can splurge on the Monster Salted Caramel Milkshake for an additional 1,500 calories and add an extra burger patty. The entire meal contains 3½ days' worth of saturated fat (69 grams) and 6,280 milligrams sodium, or enough to keep you covered for four days. And that shake adds an estimated 38 teaspoons of sugar.
To put things in perspective, the USDA recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, consuming less than 10% of calories from saturated fat and no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day. A roughly 2,000- to 2,800- calorie-per-day allowance, depending on your gender and level of daily activity, is also recommended.
"When we were screening candidates for the first Xtreme Eating awards in 2007, we were shocked to see 1,500-calorie entrées," reads the CSPI website. "This year, nearly all of our “winners” hit (or just missed) the 2,000-calorie mark. And a few doozies topped 3,000 calories."
One of the more surprising items on the list was a French toast breakfast. When you eat your first meal of the day, chances are you're not expecting to consume a week's worth of fat in one sitting. But if you've ever ordered the Bruleed French Toast from the Cheesecake Factory, you're in for a 2,780-calorie bomb.
The breakfast, which comes with custard-stuffed French toast, powdered sugar, maple-butter syrup and bacon or grilled ham, has 93 grams of saturated fat, 2,230 milligrams of sodium and 24 teaspoons of sugar.
The second biggest calorie bomb on the list is something called The Big Hook Up platter from Joe's Crab Shack with 3,280 calories. It comes with seafood and crab balls full of jalapenos and cream cheese coated in panko breadcrumbs with ranch, fish and chips, coconut shrimp, crab-stuffed shrimp, hush puppies and coleslaw.
Other restaurant dishes that earned awards included the 2,770-calorie "The Big Slab" meal from Famous Dave's. Almost a pound and a half of spareribs comes covered in sauce with two sides and a corn bread muffin. If you opt for the muffin, fries and baked beans you're in for 54 grams of saturated fat and 4,320 milligrams of sodium.
The Signature Deep Dish Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza from BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse made the list with 2,160 calories' worth of grilled garlic chicken, applewood-smoked bacon, jack and cheddar cheeses, red onions, tomatoes and ranch.
At Chevys Fresh Mex, you can order the Chevys Super Cinco Combo with two enchiladas, a crispy or soft beef taco, a pork tamale and a chile relleno. At 1,920 calories, 36 grams of saturated fat and 3,950 milligrams of sodium, CSPI says it's the equivalent of eating 11 Taco Bell Crunchy Tacos.
A 2,410-calorie Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic from The Cheesecake Factory, a 2,420-calorie Prime New York Steak Contadina-style dish from Maggiano's Little Italy and the 1,500-calorie a slice Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory also earned awards.
And if you've been paying attention, you'll notice The Cheesecake Factory snagged a total of three out of nine spots on the list.
Who wants to meet at the gym? Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_