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Surprise! Many Restaurant Meals Have More Calories Than Fast-Food Combos

Surprise! Many Restaurant Meals Have More Calories Than Fast-Food Combos

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Per a new study, these are the five worst things you can order at a restaurant, chain or otherwise.

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Fast food chains get a bad rep for impacting the obesity epidemic by serving high-calorie meals that are mostly full of saturated fat and low on nutritional value. But it turns out they aren’t the only ones to blame. A new study published in the British Medical Journal reported meals ordered from sit-down restaurants contain 33 percent more calories on average than fast food meals.

The study surveyed nutritional information from popular dining establishments in five cities around the world. In the United States, researchers turned to nutrition data from the most frequently ordered meals in fast food and sit-down restaurants in Boston to determine results for Americans.

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The study illustrates their findings via an interactive chart to show just how many more calories are in an average sit-down restaurant meal compared to those from typical fast food joints. This report comes just after new retail data shows that fast-food meals are becoming increasingly expensive, closing the gap between drive-thru prices and fast-casual chains.

We’ve listed the five biggest offenders as listed in the report—these meals are often available on restaurant menus, whether its a chain or a local establishment. While it's important to note that nutritional values are not always the same at each restaurant, you may want to think twice before ordering these when dining out.

Just for comparison, keep in mind that a medium Big Mac meal (one that comes with a diet soda and fries) contains 870 calories, which pales in comparison to some of these caloric bombs.

How to choose the best option when dining out:

1. Fettuccine Alfredo and a Roll: 2,589 Calories

Fettuccine Alfredo was the clear winner of the study’s worst items to order at a restaurant, taking four of the top 10 spots, due to various (but high!) calorie counts at popular restaurants.

While fettuccine alfredo is typically an indulgent meal, we’ve created a lighter version topped with grilled chicken that is just as satisfying. At only one-fifth of the calories, go ahead and enjoy a whole-grain roll on the side, too.

2. Rib-eye with a loaded baked potato: 2,136 Calories

Steak and potatoes are an American staple, but when plow through the fattiest cut of the meat with a stuffed potato, calling this a heavy meal almost seems like an understatement (and that’s without the gorgonzola butter).

Choosing a leaner piece of steak, and opting for a healthier spud side dish, allows you to still enjoy a comforting meal… without eating more than a day’s worth of calories in one sitting!

3. General Tso’s chicken and fortune cookie: 2,058 Calories

Two different General Tso’s chicken dishes took spots in the top 10 worst items to order at a restaurant, according to the study.

Luckily, Andrea Ngyuen shared her recipe for General Tso’s chicken in the air-fryer, and one serving checks in at only 300 calories.

Getty: Bloomberg / Contributor

4. Chicken sandwich and fries: 1,975 Calories

It's not clear, but we're going to go out on a limb here and assume there was fried chicken instead of grilled in this bun. It may also be the serving size of fries here that earned this meal its fourth place ranking. We all know even a “small” french fry from a fast food joint is still much larger than a suggested serving, and many restaurants serve even more fries with meals.

One large fry from McDonald’s weighs in at 497 calories, which is comparable to a side of fries from Applebees' at 430 Calories. But at least McDonald’s offers two smaller sizes to choose from, whereas restaurants often just fill the plate with them, leaving you to battle the temptation of eating a whole plate of fried potatoes!

Luckily, we’ve perfected oven-fried chicken and created a spiralized french fry recipe that helps with portion sizing.

5. Pork Fried Rice: 1,971 Calories

Pork Fried Rice was all over this chart as one of the unhealthiest choices. Between high-fat pork smothered in a sugar and salt-laden sauce and all the oil used in frying the rice, this calorie count adds up fast.

Fried rice can actually be a nutritious meal—filled with whole grains and veggies if you do it right. At only 367 calories per serving, our nutty fried rice is a great option for when you’re craving some classic Asian flavor without a side of guilt.

Research Finds Fast Food Is Lower in Calories Than Fast-Casual Fare

Dietitian Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite For Health, digs into the results of a new study comparing calorie counts of fast-food entrees versus fast-casual meals.

Even the researchers were scratching their heads about the results of this study.

Fast-casual restaurants, like Chipotle, Panera and Five Guys, are perceived as being healthier than traditional fast food chains — and that's part of the reason why sales at these eateries are soaring while sales at fast-food restaurants are sagging. Despite the marketing efforts that highlight fresh, high-quality ingredients, there are no studies that highlight the nutritional differences between typical fast-food and fast-casual fare . . . until now.

Results of a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reveal that entrees at fast-casual restaurants are actually higher in calories than fast food entrees, calling into question the "healthfulness" of fast-casual choices.

The study evaluated the calorie counts of 3,193 lunch and dinner entrees from 34 of the leading fast-food and 28 fast-casual restaurants. (Pizza chains and coffee shops were not included.) The calories for a single entree ranged from an average of 308 calories at White Castle to more than 1,000 calories at Boston Market. Fast-casual entrees averaged 753 calories compared to an average of 549 calories for fast-food entrees.

The bottom line: Fast-food entrees have about 200 fewer calories than fast-casual entrees, on average.

Excess calories contribute to weight gain, which can wreak havoc on your health, so it's important that what you choose when eating out fits into your calorie budget. (Most women need around 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day, or meals that provide about 500 calories with a couple of 200-calorie snacks.) No surprise here, but high calorie counts tend to indicate large portion sizes or that an item is rich in fat.

Here's a bit of shocker: the lowest calorie counts were found at fast food restaurants many health-conscious consumers would not even consider, including White Castle, Krystal, In-N-Out Burger, Del Taco, McDonald's and Chick-Fil-A. In fact, the majority of the fast-food options evaluated contained less than 500 calories. Subway, which often markets its better-for-you choices, averaged just under 400 calories per entree, the third-lowest entree calories among the fast-food chains.

On the flip side, some of the most popular fast-casual restaurants that have a health halo, feature some of the most calorie-rich menu items. Boston Market, Firehouse Subs, Baja Fresh, Togo's and Smashburger entrees averaged 800 to 1,000 calories — enough fuel for two meals for most women. Only eight of the 28 fast-casual restaurants surveyed had entrees that provided less than 600 calories, on average.

"Regardless of where you eat out, you need to pay attention to what you're ordering," said Danielle Jake-Schoffman, Ph.D., from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and lead author of the study. Fast-casual restaurants are marketed as healthier alternatives to fast food due to higher-quality ingredients, but that doesn't mean that their menu choices are automatically healthy. "You need to be savvy and use common sense. Healthy ingredients can be part of an unhealthy package."

Since this study compared only calories, the researchers suggested that future studies should analyze the nutrient content of menu items to get a better picture of the entire nutritional package. What's more, this analysis included only single menu items, while many diners choose multiple menu items or "Value" or "Combo meals" that include a side, like french fries or a soda or other type of sugary beverage.

To make better menu choices when eating out, here are five steps nutritionists recommend:

Review the Nutrition Facts Before Ordering: Studies show that few diners actually look at the Nutrition Facts of menu items before ordering. All of these restaurants have the nutrition information readily available (online or at the restaurant) so use it to help guide your choices. A meal that contains 400 to 500 calories is sufficient for most women.

Avoid "Combo" or "Value Meals": A combo or value meal may be more wallet-friendly but it will likely blow your calorie budget. That's because combo meals are generally bundled with a 300- to 400-calorie side of fries, a 250-calorie bag of chips or a 200-calorie cookie.

Get It Customized: Almost all restaurants will accommodate special requests. Ask for more veggies and skip the cheese. Opt for your burger without a bun or your burrito in a bowl rather than on a tortilla. At Mexican restaurants, ask for extra veggies and avocado in place of sour cream and cheese.

Limit Extras: Restaurant chains that offer the most a la cart additions, like Boston Market, sandwich shops and Mexican eateries, are where it's easiest to overdo calories. Stick with a few healthy extras — like veggies, beans or avocados, and skip everything else.

Keep Beverages Calorie-Free: Liquid calories do nothing to help you stay satisfied, so it's best to avoid them when eating out. Choose water or other calorie-free choices.

Study Confirms 92 Percent of Restaurants Serve Up Too Many Calories

According to the FDA, Americans consume approximately one-third of their calories outside of the home. This poses a dietary challenge for those trying to lose weight or eat healthier. If you think you'll be safe as long as you steer clear of fast food, think again: Many full-service restaurants are the biggest calorie culprits.

In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that 92 percent of entrees from sit-down eateries contain significantly more calories than the average person should consume in a single meal.

According to an FDA statute, fast food restaurants and chain restaurants with more than 20 locations are required to post nutritional information&mdashincluding calorie counts and fat content&mdashon their menus and menu boards. However, approximately half of all restaurants in the United States are non-chain, and thus exempt from that rule. That means when you have dinner at that independently owned Chinese restaurant, you won't have any idea how many calories are really in your lo mein.

  • When calorie counts from non-chain restaurants were compared to those from large chains, there was not a significant difference.
  • Out of the diverse food types included in the study, the cuisines with the highest calorie counts were Italian, American and Chinese.
  • 92 percent of the non-chain restaurant entrees contained far more calories than recommended for a single meal&mdashand some exceeded an entire day's worth.
  • The average calorie count of the analyzed restaurant meals was 1,205.
  • Portion sizes were found to be excessive, which triggers a biological impulse to overeat, study authors say.

Want to indulge in a restaurant meal without dooming your diet? See our dining out tips for ways to make the best choices at casual chain restaurants.

Group Warns of 'Extreme' Restaurant Meals

May 25, 2010 -- The latest list of terrible-for-you restaurant food is out, with consumer groups accusing big national chains of packing huge amounts of calories onto unsuspecting diners.

“Compared to some of the foods we’re seeing in restaurants now, the Big Mac seems downright dainty,” says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

The group took aim at nine meals served at popular restaurant chains, noting that many contain far more calories, fat, trans fat, sodium, or sugar in one serving that most adults are supposed to get in a single day. While the recently signed health reform law requires chain restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts in their menus and on menu boards starting in 2011, Jacobson says restaurants should improve labeling now.

The CSPI highlighted the items and urged consumers to beware of their big calorie counts. Dietary guidelines suggest most U.S. adults limit their daily intake to about 2,000 calories.

  • Bob Evans’ Cinnamon Cream Stacked & Packed Stuffed Hotcakes: The CSPI measured the dish at 1,380 calories and 34 grams of fat. The pancakes have 7 grams of trans fat despite claims on Bob Evans’ menu that the restaurant uses no-trans-fat cooking oil, according to the CSPI.
  • California Pizza Kitchen Tostada Pizza with Grilled Steak: 1,680 calories, 32 grams of saturated fat (50% more than is recommended for U.S. adults), and 3,300 milligrams of sodium.
  • Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger: One burger contains 920 calories and 30 grams of saturated fat. But the CSPI says the real calories are in Five Guys fries: one large order of fries contains nearly 1,500 calories.
  • P.F. Chang’s Double Pan-Fried Noodles Combo: 1,820 calories and 7,690 milligrams of sodium, more than a five-day supply. “The noodles end up hard and crunchy, you end up soft and flabby,” quips Bonnie Liebman, the CSPI's director of nutrition.
  • Cheesecake Factory Pasta Carbonara with Chicken: 2,500 calories (25% more than an adult should get in a whole day) and 85 grams of saturated fat are hidden in this big plate of pasta with cream sauce, according to the CSPI.
  • Cheesecake Factory Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake: The “three-quarter-pound slab of cake” has 1,670 calories and 48 grams of saturated fat, the CSPI says. Even dividing it in half would approach half the calories one adult should get in a day, says Jacobson.
  • California Pizza Kitchen's Pesto Cream Penne: This penne dish includes basil pine nut pesto cream sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese and contains 1,350 calories, 49 grams of saturated fat, and 1,920 milligrams of sodium, according to the CSPI.
  • Outback’s New Zealand Rack of Lamb: The rack of lamb is cooked with a “rich Cabernet wine sauce” and served with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. The lamb without the sides has 1,300 calories, 60 grams of saturated fat, and 1,340 milligrams of sodium, according to the CSPI. The garlic mashed potatoes are loaded with 13 grams of saturated fat while the veggie side has 7 grams.
  • Chevy’s Crab & Shrimp Quesadilla: Along with the crab and shrimp, these “Frisbee-size white flour tortillas” are stuffed with cheese and cream sauce and topped with guacamole and sour cream, says the CSPI. This dish packs 1,790 calories, 63 grams of saturated fat, and 3,440 milligrams of sodium, according to the report.


The National Restaurant Association says the CSPI’s report “paints a distorted picture of restaurants based on a single menu item.”

“Certainly there are indulgent items on menus, but there are more diet-conscious items on menus than ever before, and our customers know it,” Michael Donohue, the organization’s chief spokesman, says in a statement.

Donohue says restaurants support the new food labeling standards for chains set to take effect in 2011.


Center for Science in the Public Interest: “2010 Xreme Eating Awards."

Michael Jacobson, executive director, Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Michael Donohue, vice president for communications, National Restaurant Association.

Courtesy of Denny's

Caution: Eat at your own risk. Denny's took breakfast sandwich to a whole new level—and not in a good way. With eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, cheese, and potato bread covered in "maple spice" (read: sugar) and hash browns, you're putting your dietary progress into a major setback. In fact, this meal serves you nearly 70% of your day's calories. And if that doesn't give you enough of a reason to declare this offer a foul ball, try this: You'd be chowing down on just 4 grams less than two day's worth of fat.

14 best fast-food meals for under 500 calories

How serious can you be when you're talking to a clown? Millions of us face that problem as we approach the drive-thru squawk box-ornamented with wacky fast-food characters-and go all Goofy with our orders. No wonder so many of us weigh more than we want.

Dustin Robinson had exactly that problem. He was a busy guy, so he hit the drive-thru five times a week. The drive-thru hit back, to the tune of fifty extra pounds that Dustin didn't need to be carrying. But when he reached 250 pounds, he reached for Eat This, Not That!

Armed with better information, he was still talking to the clown, but not speaking nonsense. Concentrating on Eat This! Entrees like the ones you'll learn about below, he shed 10+ pounds a month. Now he's down to 215, and well on his way to his goal of 200 pounds. And he's still eating at the restaurants he loves-just eating smarter. To help you do the same, Eat This, Not That! has compiled this list of 10 fast food meals under 500 calories.

(Tell the clown we sent you.)

Less Than 500 Calories at Wendy's

Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich

with a Mandarin Orange Cup and a Medium Iced Tea

This is the healthiest sandwich on the menu. just don't order your chicken spicy: That's their cue to fry rather than grill your bird, tacking on extra 9.5 fat grams.

Less Than 500 Calories at Taco Bell

Two Fresco Soft Beef Tacos

with Mexican Rice and a bottle of water

17 g fat (6 g saturated fat)

Order almost any menu item "fresco" style and the Bell boys will replace cheese and sauces with a chunky tomato salsa, cutting calories and fat by at least 25 percent.

Less than 500 Calories at Subway

6-inch Double Roast Beef Sub

with Veggie Delite Salad with Fat-Free Italian Dressing and Medium Iced Tea

8 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat)

Even with twice the meat-and double the protein-this sandwich still has only a fraction of the fat found in Subway alternatives like gloppy, mayo-based tuna salad.

Less than 500 Calories at Quiznos

Small Honey Bourbon Chicken

with a Cup of Chili (no crackers), and bottle of water

11.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat)

Opt for the honey bourbon mustard sauce over mayo or creamy dressings to add flavor without guilt.

Less Than 500 Calories at Pizza Hut

Two Slices Thin 'N Crispy Pizza (12")

with Quartered Ham & Pineapple, and Medium Diet Coke

12 g fat (5 g saturated fat)

No matter which pizza joint you pick, head for Hawaii. The ham and pineapple pizza is one of the healthiest combos you can order. Ham is one of the leanest meats you can put on a pie, while pineapple adds low-cal sweetness and a dose of antioxidants.

Less Than 500 Calories at McDonald's

Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich

with a Side Salad with Newman's Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette, and a Medium Iced Tea

13 g fat (2 g saturated fat)

Just because the calorie count is relatively low doesn't mean the food is good for you. Mac's Grilled Chicken Classic matches the Quarter Pounder calorie count -- but the chick has no trans fats, while the burger does. Choose the sandwich and a side salad for a good combination of protein and veggies.

Less Than 500 Calories at KFC

with Green Beans and 3" Corn on the Cob, and a Medium Diet Pepsi

22.5 g fat (6 g saturated fat)

Order a side of green beans for a good source of vitamins K, A, and C-key players in maintaining strong bones and reducing cancer-causing free radicals.

Less Than 500 Calories at Jack in the Box

with Side Salad with Low-Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing and a 20-oz Fresh Brewed Iced Tea

13.5 g fat (5 g saturated fat)

Loaded with fresh veggies in a fairly harmless pita vessel, this is Jack's healthiest entree, hands down. The biggest pitfall here is in the salad dressing--the low-fat balsamic costs you only 35 calories, but other decent-sounding options, like Asian Sesame Dressing and Lite Ranch--add over 100 extra to your meal.

Less Than 500 Calories at Hardee's

Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich

with a Side Salad with Low Fat Balsamic Dressing

7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat)

Barbecue sauce and a mound of fresh produce keep this meal in the safe zone. Resist the shakes and malts, though. They're meal-breakers of hte first and worst order.

Less Than 500 Calories at Dunkin' Donuts

Ham, Egg & Cheese English Muffin Sandwich

with English Breakfast Tea

15 g fat (6 g saturated fat)

English muffins have a fraction of the carbohydrates of a bagel, and none of the trans fats of the donuts and croissants. Drinking antioxidant-rich tea is also a great way to jumpstart your day.

Less Than 500 Calories at Cosi

with a tall cafe blend coffee

Skip the free flatbread that comes with your salad, even if it's whole grain. Both the whole grain and the original kind pack a whopping 43 grams of carbs and 215 calories.

Less Than 500 Calories at Carl's Jr.

Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich

with Side Salad with Low Fat Balsamic Dressing, and Medium Iced Tea

8.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat)

Barbecue sauce and a mound of fresh produce keep this meal in the safe zone.

Less Than 500 Calories at Burger King

with Garden Salad and 10-oz Minute Maid Orange Juice

12 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat)

Save 9 grams of fat by opting for barbecue sauce instead of mayo. At 80 calories a packet BK's mayo is one of the worst in the fast food world. Still feeling hungry after the last bite? Order a second Garden Salad. You'll still take in fewer calories than if you had consumed a small order of fries.

Less Than 500 Calories at Arby's

Chicken Fillet Sandwich - Roast

with Applesauce, and a 20-oz Diet Peach FruiTea

16 g fat (3 g saturated fat)

Replacing some of your daily carbohydrates with protein can lower blood pressure. Always choose a roasted or grilled chicken over "crispy" (read: fried) to save on calories.

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#6. Arby’s

AVOID: Take your eyes off that Turkey Ranch and Bacon Sandwich, with its 800 calories, 35 g fat, and 79 g carbs. Other nutritionally risky choices include the Bourbon BBQ Triple Stack, the Buttermilk Chicken Cordon Bleu and the Loaded Italian.
TRY INSTEAD: A classic roast beef sandwich at Arby’s provides 370 calories, 40 g carbs and 14 g fat. If you’re extra-hungry, a good choice between the best and the worst is the Turkey Gyro pita wrap at 470 calories, 20 g fat and 48 g carbs

#7. McDonalds

AVOID: Do you need us to tell you that a double quarter-pound burger with cheese, weighing in with 770 calories and 45 g fat, is a bad choice? Probably not! Another must-to-avoid is Sweet BBQ Bacon with Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich, 810 calories, 36 g fat and a whopping 81 g carbs.

TRY INSTEAD: A basic burger with 250 calories, 8 g fat and 31 g carbs or even a basic cheeseburger, at 300 calories, 12 g fat and 33 carbs. A side salad with low-fat balsamic dressing adds a mere 70 calories, 2 g fat and 11 g carbs.

#8. KFC

AVOID: Anything breaded and fried, unless you can eat just one small piece. Stay away from “big box” meals, combos, and bargain-priced “fill ups,” where there’s no controlling the calories or fat on your plate. Especially avoid the “extra crispy” line.

TRY INSTEAD: Go small or go naked at KFC. Build your meal around an unbreaded, Kentucky Grilled Chicken breast at 210 calories and 7 grams fat, or any other grilled part. If you must indulge in breaded and fried, limit to one piece of Original Recipe chicken, with a house salad or bowl of green beans on the side.

#9. Chipotle

AVOID: Steak Salad sounds like a lean option, but not at Chipotle, with 1,305 calories, 77 g fat and 117 g carbs per bowlful. Their steak and other burritos carry about the same nutritional weight, and even the salads are over-the-top if you indulge in a few toppings. Avoid or split these choices at two or three ways.

TRY INSTEAD: Vegetarian, Chicken or Steak Burrito Bowl with brown rice, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa and lettuce comes in around 415 calories, 12 g fat and 45 g carb. At that starting rate, you can probably sneak in another topping!

#10. Chik-fil-A

AVOID: Everything fried, unless it’s a small serving of no more than 5 or 6 nuggets. Although anything grilled is usually a better choice, the bacon and cheese on the Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich knock the sodium levels out of the ballpark, so skip it.

TRY INSTEAD: The simple Grilled Chicken Sandwich, at 310 calories, 6 g fat and 36 g carb or Grilled Chicken wrap, at 350 calories, 14 g fat and 29 g carb are your best bets here.

The Highest Calorie Chain Restaurant Meals You Could Possibly Order

Cheesecake Factory, Chili's and other Xtreme Eating Award winners can bust your daily calorie intake in one meal.

Picture it: You&aposre at a Cheesecake Factory. You&aposve said no to a slice of salted caramel cheesecake because you know it can&apost possibly be healthy, but you succumb to the chain&aposs Pasta Napoletana, a pile of cream-sauced pasta topped with Italian sausage, bacon, pepperoni, and meatballs. (You&aposre only human, after all.) If a scheduled law had actually taken effect in May—one that would have required restaurants with 20 or more locations to clearly post their meals&apos calorie counts—you might have seen this particular plate of pasta has a whopping 2,310 calories, and made a healthier choice. But if you didn&apost spot the calorie content, congratulations: You ate your recommended daily calories in one meal.

But one consumer health advocacy group is pulling back the calorie veil on meals served at restaurants across the country. Each year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest rolls out its Xtreme Eating Awards, and this year&aposs just dropped, with chains such as Cheesecake Factory, Buffalo Wild Wings, and IHOP winning (if you can call it winning) top awards.

Working off the Food and Drug Administration&aposs recommendation that adults eat about 2,000 calories each day, the center doles out the awards to the worst offenders.

Chili&aposs Ultimate Smokehouse Combo—your choice of BBQ chicken breast, smoked sausage, hand-battered chicken, or a half rack of baby back ribs paired with mashed potatoes and a vegetable—took home the award for Worst Visceral Effects. It comes in at a whopping 2,440 calories and contains 41 grams of saturated fat, more than double what many hearth-health associations recommend you ingest in a day. Of course if that seems like a lot of damage to your waistline just to satisfy your meat-tooth, Cheesecake Factory has a Pasta Napolitana topped with Italian sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, and bacon on a bed of buttery, creamy noodles that&aposll only set you back 2,310 calories.

IHOP&aposs Cheeseburger Omelette won the center&aposs Least Original Breakfast award. The eggs are topped with hamburger chunks, hash browns, tomatoes, onions, American cheese, ketchup, mustard, and pickles, and total 1,990 calories, "all before lunch," the center adds. The Chicago Tribune reached out to IHOP for a comment on the award and, unsurprisingly, the company was less than pleased with the press opportunity.

"While we applaud the Center for Science in the Public Interest&aposs efforts to educate Americans on making healthier food choices, it&aposs misleading to single out the highest meal combinations without informing people of the wide range of choices offered at IHOP restaurants, including the ability to customize any item to meet a variety of dietary needs," IHOP spokeswoman Stephanie Peterson wrote to the newspaper.

Buffalo Wild Wings&apos Cheese Curd Bacon Burger, a burger topped with (surprise!) cheese curds, won the center&aposs Worst Cheese in a Leading Role award. "With a side of fries, you&aposre looking at the equivalent of roughly five Burger King Bacon Double Cheeseburgers," the center wrote. It&aposs 1,950 calories, if you&aposre curious.

In the appetizers category, Dave & Buster&aposs Carnivore Pizzadilla (pictured above—it&aposs basically a ton of pepperoni and cheese in some tortillas) weighs in at 1,970 calories, (that&aposs of course if you don&apost share it). And for dessert, Pizzeria Uno has you covered with its Ridiculously Awesome, Insanely Large Chocolate Cake, a whopping 1,740 calories topped off with 168 grams of added sugar.

If you&aposre starting to think the law that would have put calorie counts on menus was a very good idea, you have more than the stalled legislation to blame. Domino&aposs Pizza, with the help of lobbying groups, was instrumental in delaying the law. That&aposs why the center awarded the pizza chain its first ever Xtreme Putting Profits Before Public Health award, it says. "Who cares about the obesity and diabetes epidemics, as long as the cash keeps rolling in," the center wrote on its awards page.

If you&aposd like to see the complete list of awards, you can view them here.

MORE: 25 Summer Junk Food Recipes That Won’t Make You Gain Weight

The one saving grace of this study is that the researchers looked only at calorie count, not nutritional content. As Danielle E. Schoffman, a researcher with the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior at the University of South Carolina, told Reuters Health: Some fast-casual entrées that have healthy ingredients, such as brown rice and veggies, are often served in large portions that are double the size of an ideal meal.

Ultimately, the study probably won’t stop you from your indulging your Chipotle addiction, but do it armed with a plan that you won’t scarf everything on your plate.