If you'd like to cram all of the day's calories into a single meal -- and, bonus! eat enough sodium for three days -- Dallas-Fort Worth is a good place to live.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently released its "Xtreme Eating 2018" list, which documents some of the country's unhealthiest chain-restaurant meals in terms of saturated fat, sodium and calories. If you're a glutton for punishment, reading the list won't make you gain any weight. But it could increase your blood pressure to learn that all of these eight meals are available in Dallas, Fort Worth or its suburbs.
Let's start with the one and only company that's based in Dallas: Chili's. The CSPI nailed the 2,510-calorie Honey-Chipotle Crispers & Waffles dish for being the "least creative mashup." (They didn't seem to like the idea that Chili's took its already-popular Chicken Crispers and stuck them on top of waffles. We don't share the same sentiment: What's wrong with chicken and waffles? Well, maybe this: Chili's dish has an estimated 105 grams of added sugar and nearly 4,500 milligrams of sodium.)
CSPI writers Lindsay Moyer and Bonnie Liebman seemed to have fun pulling punches. They write that Chili's Honey-Chipotle Crispers & Waffles are like eating "five Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts smothered in 30 McDonald's Chicken McNuggets and five packets of barbecue sauce."
If that doesn't scare you, Chili's operates more than 200 restaurants in Texas, and dozens in D-FW.
The next-notable restaurant is the Cheesecake Factory -- which, since we're doing this, operates six restaurants in North Texas. It's the only restaurant on the list with two of the eight dishes. The CSPI calls its Breakfast Burrito "the worst way to start the day" and its Chicken Parmesan "Pizza Style" the "worst adapted pizza." Just look at that chicken parm pizza: It comes with a mound of angel hair pasta in the middle.
The Vampire Taco Combo from Yard House doesn't seem like it'd be all that bad -- it's carnitas, chorizo and some garnishes -- except that the "vampire" in the name means the taco is wrapped in a cheese-crusted flour tortilla shell, which can't be good for your heart. The CSPI clocks it at 2,040 calories, 3,820 milligrams of sodium. Yum? Find it at Yard House restaurants in Addison and Las Colinas.
Moviegoers might have already tried what the CPSI calls its "worst cinematic snack," a 9-inch pretzel served with nacho cheese and mustard from AMC movie theaters. "It's like eating six Auntie Anne's original soft pretzels," the report says. We count about 20 AMC Theatres in D-FW.
Are you still hungry? Great, there's more.
The report says Uno Pizzeria & Grill's Deep Dish Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese has the "worst visceral effects" for -- and this is a guesstimate -- what all that spicy cheese might do to your tummy. There's just one Uno we could find in the D-FW area: in downtown Fort Worth.
Of course, a burger makes the list, but the CSPI makes a meal of it by stacking all the calories of a Shake Shack Double SmokeShack burger, a side of fries and a peanut butter shake. "What a meal!" the report quips. They're doing a better job of being funny, so we'll let them keep going: "You get 930 high-quality calories in the burger, plus 420 in the fries. And you get to wash it all down with another 890 from the shake. (Why add a shake? Well, it's not called the Shakeless Shack.)"
You're in for about 2,240 calories with that meal, which come to think of it, sounds kind of low. Shake Shack operates restaurants in Uptown Dallas, Preston/Royal in Dallas and in Plano. Its debut in Texas was one of the single biggest restaurant openings in the past five years.
Let's finish with dessert. The CSPI doesn't recommend you eat the Peanut Butter S'mores Pizookie from BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, but we're going to tell you about it anyway. It's a cookie + peanut butter + marshmallows + marshmallow fluff + ice cream. It's certainly on trend; marshmallow fluff is having a moment. Not good for you, tho: It has an estimated 135 grams of added sugar and 1,580 calories, the report claims.
The CSPI "has been providing advice and advocacy toward a healthier food system since its founding in 1971," the website says. In addition to dropping truth bombs about why people shouldn't eat a pizza topped with pasta, the website also gives tips about what the "perfect diet" looks like and how to avoid foodborne illnesses.
Another great resource is our Better Living page, which chronicles stories of Dallas-area people living and eating well.