What the fudge is wrong with us? As obesity, diabetes and heart disease are plaguing the country in lethal proportions, restaurants are chirpily churning out caloric combinations of sodium and saturated fat that would make Henry VIII blush. Things are getting so raucous around here that a new study found that gout, yes gout, has increased by 44 percent in the last two decades, courtesy of the obesity epidemic and related health problems (diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol).
Restaurants create and tempt the masses with flashy dishes caloric enough to feed a small family, while the USDA, earnest as a shy sister, issues dietary guidelines which pretty much fall on deaf ears. Although recommended calorie intake varies by person, the range is from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for adult women and 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day for adult men, depending on age and physical activity level.
As for sodium intake, another daunting piece of the puzzle, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day—or 1,500 mg if you’re age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
So with those nuggets in mind, how do these ten contenders for worst foods in America stack up against what is recommended for maintaining nutritional health? Let’s see….
Outback Steakhouse: Aussie Cheese Fries
Pictured above, the Aussie cheese fries come topped with melted Monterey Jack, Cheddar, chopped bacon and served with a spicy ranch dressing. This side dish (side dish!) serves up more than the average person’s recommended calories for an entire day, and nearly THREE TIMES the daily recommended sodium allowance–if you’re black, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, make that 4.25 times your daily recommended sodium allowance. How to turn “g’day, mate” into “goodbye, mate.”
Fat (g): 203
Saturated Fat (g): 25
Sodium (mg): 6360