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Red Lobster's 3,600-Calorie Shrimp Combo Named Unhealthiest Chain Restaurant Meal

Red Lobster, IHOP, Sonic, and Cheesecake Factory top the list of worst meals.


Here they are, the winners (or losers) of The Center for Science in the Public Interest's Xtreme Eating Awards. The awards are given to "the worst chain restaurant meals of the year" in terms of nutrition and caloric intake.

Seafood chain Red Lobster came out on top with its "Create Your Own Combination" menu item. The gut-busting combo of Walt's Favorite Shrimp, Shrimp Linguine Alfredo, and Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp served with french fries, caesar salad, and a cheddar bay biscuit adds up to a whopping 2,710 calories and 6,530 milligrams of sodium. Add a 24-ounce Lobsterita to your meal and you'll top off at 3,600 calories in one sitting. Red Lobster's Director of Communications, Erica Ettori, came to the chain's defense explaining that that specific meal was "just one atypical combination and as a result inaccurately portrays the nature of this menu item."

Red Lobster weren't the only culprits called out by the awards. Another dish to top the list was the Chorizo Fiesta Omelette from IHOP, totaling 1,990 calories and containing two days worth of saturated fat, IHOP representative Kevin Mortensen said of the results, "At IHOP, we're all about choice... we offer a complete menu that includes entrees in every category that are under 600 categories, in addition to our more indulgent items."

Christi Woodworth, Sonic's Vice President of Public Relations, also came to her company's defense after its large Pineapple Upside Down Master Blast was put on blast for containing 2,020 calories, 29 teaspoons of added sugar, and 61 grams of saturated fat. She explained to CNBC that "customers may choose from a variety of sizes" and the 32 ounce drink "is frequently shared between friends and family."

CSPI registered dietician Paige Einstein said the results "exemplify the kind of gargantuan restaurant meal that promotes obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases." In hopes of making nutritional information more clear to consumers, new FDA's guidelines that will require all menu items to show their caloric values should begin to take effect in December of this year.