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Arteries, beware: chain restaurant food are nutritional bombs, report says

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The junk food watchdogs (a.k.a. The Center for Science in the Public Interest) are out today with their annual Xtreme Eating Awards, calling out the worst of the worst dishes -- nutritionally speaking -- at chain restaurants.

Like a fresh loogie on the sidewalk, the "bigger is better" mantra just won't go away at the nation's fast-casual restaurants, where cheesy, saucy and fried are in heavy rotation.

At the Cheesecake Factory, the $14.95 Chicken and Biscuits entrée -- chicken breast over mashed potatoes, with biscuits, mushrooms, peas, carrots and country gravy -- clocks in at an astounding 2,500 calories. CSPI helpfully points out that's equivalent to an 8-piece bucket of KFC chicken and 5 biscuits.

Then there's the Mega-Sized Deep Dish Sundae at Uno Chicago Grill. (Hint: any menu item that begins with 'mega' can't be good). It's a chocolate chip cookie baked in a deep-dish pizza pan, topped with ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Total: 2,800 calories and 72 grams of staurated fat.

Nutritionists suggest most of us stick to 2,000 calories, 20 grams of saturated fat and 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.

And now consider this, from a study that appears in the June 2009 issue of the American Journal of Medicine: The percentage of adults who eat five or more fruits or veggies a day went down from 42 to 26 percent between 1988 and 2006. In that same period, those who engaged in physical activity at least 12 times a month also went down from 53 to 43 percent. Logically, the number of people with a body mass index greater than 30 rose.

Now we're depressed.

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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This page contains a single entry by Janet Rausa Fuller published on June 2, 2009 10:43 AM.

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