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Want to Gain Weight, Elevate Your Cholesterol, Spike Your Blood Pressure? Order These 'Winning' Restaurant Menu Items

Photo of an IHOP Bacon Cheeseburger by coolmikeol via Flickr
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The tagline for the release covering the 2011 Xtreme Eating "awards" list is the very un-ironic phrase "Big eats...big Americans." The annual report put out by the Center for Science in the Public Interest points out a few of the nation's biggest gut buster menu items available around the country from some familiar restaurants. So if you're looking to pack on the pounds (or don't mind a big time gross out) take note of these enormous edibles.

Take heed: Bacon might make everything taste better...but it definitely doesn't make everything healthier. Some menu items that pile on the pork products also pile on a couple days' worth of fat and calories. One standout "Xtreme" Burger is IHOP's Monster Bacon 'n Beef Cheeseburger:

1,250 calories and two days’ worth of saturated fat (42 grams), with a bonus 1,590 milligrams of sodium (a day’s supply, thanks in part to the bacon). And don’t forget the sides, which range from fresh fruit (80 calories) to onion rings (620 calories). That leaves seasoned fries (300 calories) somewhere in the middle, which is where your Monster Bacon ’N Beef Burger will likely make its future home.

For those who like to eat at a restaurant so dedicated to carefully crafting your meal from thoughtfully sourced fresh local ingredients that they put the word "factory" in the place's name, head to (you guessed it) The Cheesecake Factory for their Farmhouse Cheeseburger, which will get you "1,530 calories and 36 grams of saturated fat sea- soned with 3,210 milligrams of sodium to your insides." Bonus: You get "460 calories and 1,460 mg of sodium in the fries." Score!

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Because frozen-turned-piping hot fried cheese sticks is much better when taken out of the share-basket and pressed between slices of cheese and grilled bread, Denny's Fried Cheese Melt is more than just "grilled cheese with a twist," it's "1,260 calories (mostly from the fries and the refined carbs in the bread and breading), plus enough cheese to supply 21 grams of saturated fat (a day’s worth). And don’t forget the two days’ sodium (3,010 milligrams)." For a mere $4 now, you can have years of monthly co-pays for your cholesterol-lowering meds. Sweet.

Speaking of sweet, your neighborhood Coldstone Creamery (who, incidentally, love to pair up with schools for fundraisers, which, is really awesome for helping keep our kids healthy) "squeezes a full day’s calories (2,010) and 31⁄2 days’ worth of sat fat (68 grams) into each 24 fl. oz. plastic cup" of their PB&C Shake (peanut butter, chocolate, and milk). Don't want to sip your way to diabetes? Go back to the Cheesecake Factory for their Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake. Why? Because it's RED VELVET CAKE AND CHEESECAKE. "They alternate [two wedges of cheesecake] with two wedges of red velvet cake, each of which probably contains a cupcake’s worth of cake."

Other nods go to Morton's Steak House's Porterhouse plate and Applebee's Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs With Fettuccine (naturally, Applebee's is where to go for tasty, homestyle Italian fare, right?).

And don't be so smug to think that your once-in-a-while fast food or fast casual indulgence is on the mark with calories. A recent survey indicates that out of the menu items checked from several national chains, "nearly 1 in 5 of the foods contained 100 or more calories than stated," reports NPR. Oopsies. Better get thee to a farmers' market instead of a Boston Market.

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