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6 days' worth of sodium in one meal? Group calls out menu items that overdo it


Maybe eating healthier food starts with knowing what not to eat.

That's the thinking the Center for Science in the Public Interest used in naming nine restaurant menu items they consider poster foods for Extreme Eating 2016.

The group that advocates healthy eating picked items sold by chain restaurants that overdo it in terms of calories, fat, sugar and sodium.

The one that really outdoes the rest when it comes to overdoing it is the Whole Hog Burger from Uno Pizzeria & Grill. It's more than a pound of meat (hamburger, sausage, bacon, prosciutto and pepperoni) with four types of cheese and it's served with both fries and onion rings.

The Center says one Whole Hog platter contains more than a day’s worth of calories (2,850), three days’ worth of saturated fat (62 grams), and six days’ worth of sodium (9,790 milligrams).

Applebee's made the list by encouraging diners to try multiple appetizers through its "Build Your Sampler." It lets you choose two to five different appetizers. Pick the right five, the Center says, and you'll have more than 3,300 calories on your table – before the main dishes arrive.

The one beverage on the list comes from Sonic, which offers an RT44 Grape Slush with Rainbow Candy. The Center says this amounts to adding 370 calories worth of candy to a 44 oz. sugar slurry. They say that's the equivalent of three XL wild cherry Slurpees at 7-Eleven.

Lets see, appetizers ... burger ... beverage ... Oh yes, dessert.

This is where a Minnesota chain gets listed.

Buffalo Wild Wings sells Dessert Nachos, which they describe as “a crispy flour tortilla sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, loaded with ice cream and our gooey breaded cheesecake bites, all topped with chocolate and caramel sauce.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest describes it as a tortilla fried in beef tallow and covered with the equivalent of 30 teaspoons of sugar. As with the Whole Hog Burger, the total calories (2,100) in this dessert are more than you need in a whole day.

What to have instead?

The Center offers some tips. You might try ordering from the "light" section of the menu, which at least four of the chains on their Extreme Eating list have.

They also recommend skipping the appetizers and perhaps starting with a salad. Instead of a hamburger they suggest chicken or a veggie burger. Consider ordering your sandwich without a bun, they say, and try to have half your plate consist of vegetables or fruit.

Finally, two words: doggy bag.

For the record, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 70 percent of adult Americans are overweight and they estimate that in 2012 diabetes cost Americans $245 billion.

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