Wednesday, January 23, 2013 , Updated 3:16 p.m., March 4, 2014
In honor of Fat Tuesday: 5 hugely unhealthy meals at DFW restaurants
This takes calorie counting to a whole new level.
The average adult should eat between 1,800 and 2,600 calories, depending on height and weight. And yet, a single meal at plenty of restaurants in Dallas can amount to more than 2,000 calories.
The U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services report that "many" children and adults take in more calories than they need and aren't physically active enough to work off the difference. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps lived on a 12,000-calories-per-day diet, sure, but he also swam five hours a day, six days a week, according to Time.
In light of this supposed "extremism" -- where adults are eating fried chicken by the bucketful or consuming milkshakes with an entire slice of pie inside the drink -- the Center for Science in the Public Interest tracked down what they call Xtreme Eating 2013. It details the most caloric meals at chain restaurants in America. The findings are astounding. Did you know Bistro Shrimp Pasta at The Cheesecake Factory packs a whopping 3,120 calories onto one plate?
We set out to make our own list of unhealthy foods you can find at restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth. We realized that appetizers are often the most unhealthy items on a menu. Regularly fried, often served with ranch or another dipping sauce, appetizers are the meal starter you don't need but feel compelled to order anyway.
This isn't to say that people shouldn't eat the occasional "cheat meal." You know chili cheese fries are probably a no-no anyhow. But did you know they comprise almost your entire day's worth of calories?
Below is our list. Check out the Xtreme Eating list here.
Applebee's Appetizer Sampler. This party plate comes with Mozzarella Sticks, Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Cheese Quesadilla Grande with bacon, and Boneless Wings. It packs a whopping 2,300-2,460 calories, 143-160 grams of fat, 43-47 grams of saturated fat (scary), and 5,440-6,150 milligrams of sodium. It may seem like it's best shared with a few people. We say it's best not ordered at all.
- Equivalent to 8 regular-sized Snickers bars
Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion. Note that this appetizer is supposed to serve six, though it's a free country, so no one would stop one person from nomming up the whole thing. The Bloomin' Onion -- and boy, is it tasty -- is a hand-carved onion that's fried and served with spicy signature bloom sauce. It has 1,959 calories and 161 grams of fat.
- Equivalent to 8 1/2 scoops of Ben and Jerry's Triple Caramel Chunk ice cream
Chinese 5 Spice Duo of Duck from P.F. Chang's. This “slow cooked leg and crispy skinned breast served with sesame watercress salad and a dried cherry-ginger chutney” contains 1,310 calories, 66 grams total fat, and 85 carbs. But, who eats just the entrée at a Chinese restaurant? Add brown rice (6 ounces), and that brings the total calories to 1,620, or add pork fried rice, and the total comes to 2,680 calories and 107 grams of total fat, with 29 grams of saturated fat and 4,840 grams of sodium.
- Equivalent to 1 pound, 7.6 ounces of cake frosting, or about 1.5 regular-sized canisters
IHOP’s Breakfast Sampler -- with the options. The Sampler comes with two eggs, two crispy bacon strips, two pork sausage links, two pieces of ham, two pancakes, and golden hash browns, and weighs in at 1,160 calories, 70 grams of fat, 83 carbs, and 555 grams of cholesterol. However, you can sub in IHOP’s New York Cheesecake pancakes -- fluffy buttermilk pancakes loaded with rich cheesecake pieces and crowned with cool strawberries, powdered sugar, and whipped topping – which add another 550 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 76 grams of carbs, bringing the total calorie count to 1,710.
- Equivalent of almost three full cans of Nabisco Easy Cheese
Texas Cheese Fries w/ Chili & Ranch at Chili's. The side item is served with bacon, jalapeños, green onions, and, of course, ranch dressing, according to the menu. It contains 1,830 calories, 106 grams of carbohydrates, and 5,610 milligrams of sodium.
- Equivalent to more than 12 snack size (1 ounce) bags of Cheetos
Not feeling so hungry right now? We'll be back later this week with news on local stores that offer healthier options in Dallas.