The Xtreme Eating 2014 competition is an annual round up of the unhealthiest entrees on American menus and this year, nearly every winning dish contains at least 2,000 calories - the recommended daily allowance for a woman.
Among the dishes are the ‘Monster Meal’ at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers which comes in with almost two days worth of calories (3,540), ‘The Big Slab’ of St Louis Style Spareribs at Famous Dave’s which boasts 2,770 and the Deep Dish Chicken Bacon Pizza at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse which will sit in your stomach at 2,160 calories.
So what are the consequences of indulging in these calorific meals?
A Hearty Fat Attack
It’s simple, if you are consuming more calories than you are burning off, that extra energy will be stored as fat. Given that it would take you 7 hours of lap swimming to burn off the 2,780 calories in The Bruléed French Toast at The Cheesecake Factory (unless you’re a professional athlete), it’s likely that those calories will simply sit tight.
While it may be labelled 'The ‘Best’ French Toast Ever!' on the menu, it is also the fattiest French toast ever, containing nearly a week’s worth of saturated fat (93g).
That’s equivalent to 14 slices of Aunt Jemima Homestyle French Toast stuffed with 2 and a half tubs of Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
Not only will this amount of saturated fat make you feel extremely sluggishbring you significantly closer to an unhealthy weight, too much saturated fat in our diets is also one of the main culprits for heart disease.
High levels of saturated fat in the diets raises LDL cholestrol levels, causing blockages in your arteries and consequently hugely increasing the risk of a heart attacks.
Just 24 Spoonfuls of Sugar...
This dish also contains a whopping 96g sugar - that’s equivalent to 24 teaspoons which is nearly four times more than the World Health Organisations’s recommended daily intake.
Too much sugar in the diet puts you at risk for cavities, diabetes, insulin resistance, weight gain, liver failure…the list is endless. In the short term, consuming high amounts of refined sugar will also cause a spike in the blood that will only leave you craving more a few hours later.
...and a Sprinkling of Salt
Another worthy contender is the ‘Hook Up’ platter at chain Joe Crab Shack. Consisting of seafood and crab balls stuffed with cream cheese, beer battered fish and chips, coconut shrimp, crab stuffed shrimp topped off with some lovely coleslaw, this meal will have your kidneys, arteries, heart and even your brain crying out for help and at 3,280 calories, it’s no surprise.
More shocking however, is the 7,610mg sodium it contains - that’s nearly six days worth in one sitting!
Having excess sodium in the bloodstream reduces your body’s ability to filter out toxins, putting a huge strain on your kidneys which can lead to kidney disease and, if left untreated, kidney failure.
Like too much fat, too much salt will also block your arteries, only this time it’s the arteries leading to your brain that will start to clog up which can cause strokes and, in severe cases, dementia.
An All-Too Accessible Danger
Each year, the Xtreme Eating competition highlights just how accessible these dangerous dishes are.
On their results page, they write;
‘The sad truth is that it’s not hard to find Xtreme Eating winners. Virtually every chain has contenders’.
Indeed, all of the winning dishes hail from well-known chains that have locations all round the country. The Cheesecake Factory, with three of the Xtreme Eating winning dishes on their menu, boats 150 restaurants while Red Robin Gourmet Burgers has 470, making it all too easy to get our hands on a 3,540 calorie ‘Monster’ meal.