What are the Worst Menu Choices in America?

Angela Haupt

Burgers smothered in bacon and cheddar cheese. Breakfast steak that packs nearly a day's worth of calories. Chocolate cake that weighs in just short of one pound. These are the "winners"--or rather, the losers--of the Center for Science in the Public Interest's Xtreme Eating Awards, announced today. Each year, the CSPI calls attention to meals at popular chain restaurants that are loaded with calories, saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. Consider some of this year's dis-honorees:

Maggiano's Little Italy Veal Porterhouse. Veal is touted as a healthy alternative to beef. But this dish is drizzled with butter and comes with half a pound of roasted, fried, and garlic-buttered crispy red potatoes. You're in for 2,710 calories, 45 grams of saturated fat, and 3,700 milligrams of sodium. That's not including the ciabatta roll that comes with the meal.

IHOP Country Fried Steak and Eggs Combo. What's for breakfast? If you order this combo, belly up to an 8-ounce fried beef steak smothered in country gravy, two eggs, hash browns, and two buttermilk pancakes. That means starting the day with 1,760 calories, 23 grams of saturated fat, 3,720 mg. of sodium, and 11 teaspoons of sugar.

Johnny Rockets Bacon Cheddar Double Burger. The white-flour bun is stuffed with two one-third-pound beef patties, four slices of cheddar cheese, four strips of bacon, and a "special" sauce. You'll walk out with an extra 1,770 calories, 50 grams of saturated fat, and 2,380 mg. of sodium.

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Johnny Rockets Big Apple Shake. Who can resist premium vanilla ice cream, whole milk, and whipped cream? Johnny Rockets even squeezes a slice of apple pie into this concoction. The tab: 1,140 calories, 37 grams of saturated fat, and 13 teaspoons of added sugar.

The Cheesecake Factory Bistro Shrimp Pasta. Battered, fried shrimp with spaghetti, mixed in a butter-and-cream sauce? This dish delivers 3,120 calories, 89 grams of saturated fat, and 1,090 mg. of sodium. That's more calories than any other entrée on the restaurant's menu.

Smoothie King Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie. Smoothie King blends peanut butter and banana with grape juice--which sounds deceptively innocent, and perhaps even healthy. It turns out that a 40-ounce serving packs 1,460 calories and 22 teaspoons of sugar.

Chili's Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs with Shiner Bock BBQ Sauce. The ribs alone will cost you 1,660 calories, 39 grams of saturated fat, and 5,025 mg. of sodium. If you toss in the homestyle fries and cinnamon apples that come on the side, the grand total will check in at 2,330 calories, 45 grams of saturated fat, and 6,490 mg. of sodium.

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Uno Chicago Grill Deep Dish Macaroni and 3-Cheese. It's the quintessential comfort food: penne with cheddar, parmesan, and romano, sprinkled with a buttery crumb topping and baked in a deep-dish pan. But is it worth 1,980 calories, 71 grams of saturated fat, and 3,110 mg. of sodium?

Maggiano's Little Italy Chocolate Zuccotto Cake. It's chocolate cake layered with sambuca chocolate mousse, iced with chocolate frosting, and dusted with cocoa powder. Each slice is five inches tall and four inches wide, and weighs just short of one pound. You're in for 1,820 calories, 62 grams of saturated fat, and 26 teaspoons of added sugar.