Cheesecake Factory, Denny's Top Group's Worst Foods List

A pork belly-topped cheeseburger, a sandwich stuffed with mozzarella sticks, and a 1,540-calorie slice of cheesecake were among the dishes that a health advocacy group singled out on Tuesday for over-the-top fat and sodium content.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest unveiled the group of "honorees," including Denny's Corp, Cheesecake Factory Inc, Kahala Corp's Cold Stone Creamery, and DineEquity Inc's Applebee's and IHOP.

According to the group, the typical person should limit calorie intake to 2,000 a day, as well as keep saturated fat below 20 grams (0.7 ounce) and sodium below 1,500 milligrams.

Each serving of the award-winning menu items nearly reaches, or even surpasses, these restrictions.

The dishes are mostly twists on the usual suspects of burgers, dessert and all things fried. Denny's "Fried Cheese Melt," for instance, is a grilled cheese sandwich with four fried mozzarella sticks inside. The entree amounts to 1,260 calories and 21 grams of saturated fat, not to mention 3,010 milligrams of sodium.

Applebee's "Provolone Stuffed Meatballs with Fettuccine" adds up to 1,520 calories and 43 grams of saturated fat.

The Cheesecake Factory's "Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake" goes beyond the usual by alternating two pieces of red velvet cake with two pieces of cheesecake, racking up to 1,540 calories and 59 grams of saturated fat. And Cold Stone Creamery's "PB&C Shake" (peanut butter & chocolate) has 2,010 calories and 68 grams of saturated fat.

Two out of three Americans are overweight, and such dishes increase their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and cancer, according to Bonnie Liebman, the center's director of nutrition.

Denny's and Applebee's both said they offered a wide variety of choices. Denny's pointed to its "Fit Fare" menu, and Applebee's to its "Unbelievably Great Tasting and Under 550 Calories" options.

Other restaurants did not respond to requests for a comment.

People often see dining out as an indulgence and a time when they do not pay much attention to their diets.

The U.S. government is trying to push restaurants to disclose nutritional information on their menus. The Food and Drug Administration plans to issue rules requiring restaurants to list nutritional and caloric information by the end of 2011.


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  • by John on Jul 21, 2011 at 10:55 PM
    So if I make a grilled cheese at home and put some mozzerella sticks on it, that's different than getting one at Denny's how? May as well just shut down all grocery stores that sell unhealthy things and the whole country go vegan or whatever. People choose to eat this stuff and if they eat it all the time and get fat, and have health issues, that's up to them. This is just another insurance thing. Insurance companies shouldn't have to pay for someone who eats out all the time, and ends up with coronary disease, or diabetes or whatever. It comes down to moderation, and being active. I thought this was a free country, free from government intervention.
  • by real scientist Location: Greenville on Jul 20, 2011 at 01:18 PM
    The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been attacking things for years. They have used the word "heart attack on a plate" for many of our favorite foods, which when eaten in moderation are maybe even good for you.
  • by jeff Location: winterville on Jul 20, 2011 at 10:18 AM
    Most people know this stuff is unhealthy. They will continue to eat it with or without regulation. You don't go to Cold Stone or IHOP when you're on a diet. Stick to the local restaurants like Daily Grind where you can eat good food and not feel guilty about it. If you want a taste of dessert, get one and ask for forks so you can share with the table.
  • by ? on Jul 20, 2011 at 09:54 AM
    I just don't get how people can eat some of this stuff, but not because it's unhealthy, this stuff is expense. Last time I went to IHOP, I got a plate with one pancake and some eggs, it cost me $10, and I could have made twenty pancakes myself for that much. If it's that bad for you why does it cost so much, you'd think it'd be cheaper with all the fake stuff they put in those foods.
  • by tug Location: New bern on Jul 20, 2011 at 09:30 AM
    looks like I'm heading to Raleigh this weekend and getting me some red velvet cheesecake
    • reply
      by jerry on Jul 20, 2011 at 11:43 AM in reply to tug
      Hey, bring me a slab o` that!
  • by B Location: Gville on Jul 20, 2011 at 07:45 AM
    The picture makes me want to go to IHOP!
  • by kinston on Jul 20, 2011 at 07:15 AM
    who cares, nobody but the government body police. Americans are not that stupid that they dont know that 2 pieces of cake mixed with 2 pieces of cheesecake isnt healthy and is diet blowing. MOST NORMAL Americans eat these as treats. Its only the government and congress that are to stupid to figure it out!
  • by Puh-Leez on Jul 20, 2011 at 06:43 AM
    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This falls under the happiness part!
    • reply
      by Zzyzx Road on Jul 20, 2011 at 10:37 AM in reply to Puh-Leez
      I agree, part of being a free people is the ability to make bad choices and correct them. Too bad our government doesn't follow this principle.
  • by john Location: Simpson on Jul 20, 2011 at 04:19 AM
    Feed it to Republicans
  • by PoppedBellyEtheopian on Jul 20, 2011 at 03:00 AM
    Do they accept an obama card(food stamps)?
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