POSTED: Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 9:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Order either the Bistro Shrimp Pasta or the Crispy Chicken Costoletta at the Cheesecake Factory and you'll get more calories than you'd need in an entire day.
That's not all.
"They each have four and a half days worth of saturated fat," says Michael Jacobson of The Center for Science in the Public Interest.
The CSPI is handing out its annual X-treme Eating Awards to chain restaurants based on calorie, sodium and fat content data from each restaurant.
The point is to try to shock people into seeing what goes into their mouths.
"We try to take Americans by the lapels and shake them and say, you know, be careful," Jacobson says. "If you want to eat these meals, fine, but you should know what you're getting."
You'll get more than 6,000 milligrams of salt, a four day supply, when you order the full rack of Baby Back Ribs at Chili's.
The dish comes with homestyle fries and cinnamon apples.
Dietitians say there are ways to eat out and avoid gastronomic gluttony.
"Instead of starting your meal with a bread basket or fatty appetizer, choose a broth-based soup or even hot tea," advises registered dietitian Lisa Cimperman.
Some studies show people who start their meals with a warm liquid consumer fewer calories.
In a statement the National Restaurant Association said it's committed to taking a proactive role in helping the restaurant industry address food and healthy living, including obesity.
Even the Cheesecake Factory offers what it calls a "Skinny-licious" menu.
The trick is resisting its namesake.
The National Restaurant Association was also in favor of a nutrition standard that will soon require thousands of chain restaurants nationwide to provide nutrition information at the point of purchase.