Xtreme Eating Awards excessive calories dishes, side of guilt optional


Skinny jeans won’t fit after eating these Xtreme Eating Awards excessive calories dishes. But, does knowing the high calorie count really alter eating habits?

Each year the Center for Science in the Public Interest announces its Xtreme Eating Awards. These awards are intended to inform consumers of the excessive amount of calories in some restaurant dishes. From burgers to cocktails, the list is a fun read. But, does knowing a dish’s high calorie count, like the Xtreme Eating Awards excessive calories dishes, change eating habits?

Photo by Cristine Struble

Let’s be honest. Sometimes you crave particular dish, food, or drink. You will cook, go to a restaurant or stop at a store just to fulfill that craving. Are the calories in that craving a concern or do you just want that piece of Portillo’s chocolate cake?

After eating that big, chocolate cake goodness, you may feel some guilt. Maybe, you spend an extra 30 minutes on the spin bike. But, seeing that that piece of cake has 800 or more calories may not stop your from eating it.

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The Center for Science in the Public Interest and its annual Xtreme Eating Awards pick out some of the highest caloric dishes on popular restaurants’ menus. Some dishes are more than a day’s worth of calories, high in fat content and a bunch of other unhealthy labels. The group’s aim is to educate people on food choices. But, are people really listening?

A quick glance at this list, the dishes seem like options that many people have, or would want to eat. The dishes themselves, by name, don’t seem like it could have over 2,000 calories (the typical daily calorie count). Maybe you’ve even ordered one (Cheese Curd Bacon Burger has been ordered in my household). But, in the moment, would your ordering decision change if that Cheese Curd Bacon Burger had 1,950 calories next to the name? Not everyone would order a grilled chicken wrap instead. Not even if they knew that one burger was the equivalent to five Burger King Bacon Double Cheeseburgers.

Photo by Cristine Struble

Sometimes people want a big, over the top burger. The reasons could vary from not liking chicken to wanting to try a cheese curd. For some people, the caloric count won’t matter. Just like dessert at the end of a meal, or the Flying Gorilla cocktail from the Cheesecake Factory, they will order what sounds appealing. They want what they want. Someone is ordering these high caloric foods, regardless of calorie count.

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Restaurants are a business. If a dish or menu item doesn’t sell, it doesn’t stay on the menu. No restaurant wants to spend money stocking ingredients for a loss leader. More than just a few people are buying these excessive calorie dishes. As long as people order them, these dishes will stay on menus.

While these excessive calorie dishes get a lot of hype, another eating issue isn’t being addressed. While one huge dish can be an over consumption of calories, what about all foods consumed at a meal? A weekend dinner out could consist of an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Throw in a glass of wine or beer, too. That meal could be way more than the recommended 2,000 calories a day. Still, that dinner scenario may not seem as guilty or over the top.

photo by Cristine Struble

Conscious eating is important to overall health. Overeating and weight gain isn’t beneficial for anyone. Even though everyone hears the recommendations, people make their own choices. Excessive calorie counts next to a dish may deter some people, but not everyone will chose a lower calorie alternative. No one can be forced to make a healthier choice.

I highly doubt that any of the foods listed in this year’s Xtreme Eating Awards will be wiped from the restaurants’ menus. Truthfully, I would bet that these particular items will see a spike in orders over the next couple of days. Some people may want try these hyped dishes without a concern over calories.

Next: Avocado fries are a must eat

There will always be another list of Xtreme Eating Awards excessive calories dishes. But, one question has been left unanswered. Do any of these dishes taste good? If you’ve eaten one, let us know how it tasted.