food labeling


Extreme Eating And The 2600-Calorie Crispy Chicken Dish

The Cheesecake Factory’s Crispy Chicken Costoletta sounds like a reasonable dinner option: a lightly breaded and sauteed chicken breast served with mashed potatoes (no french fries) and asparagus. But according to the Center For Science in The Public Interest, this innocuous-sounding dish is anything but:

The Cheesecake Factory's calorie-rich Crispy Chicken Costoletta (Vanessa (EY)/flickr/

The Cheesecake Factory’s calorie-rich Crispy Chicken Costoletta (Vanessa (EY)/flickr/)

“The meal packs 2,610 calories (more than a day’s worth), 89 grams of saturated fat (enough for almost a full work week), and 2,720 milligrams of sodium (your limit for today and most of tomorrow). In fact, the dish has more calories than any steak, chop, or burger meal on The Cheesecake Factory’s menu.

How do they do it? It’s partly the lemon (read: butter) sauce, the chicken’s oil-soaked breading, and the butter and cream in the three-quarter-pound serving of mashed potatoes. And it’s partly the sheer quantity of chicken (each of the three pieces could serve as an entrée at most other restaurants).

Think of the Crispy Chicken Costoletta as an entire KFC 12-piece Original Recipe bucket (2,550 calories), except that the KFC has less than half the sat fat.”

Dr. Atul Gawande, one of the most respected and artful writers on health policy around, recently wrote a widely-cited article in The New Yorker suggesting that the U.S. health care system might be wise to model itself, in some aspects, after The Cheesecake Factory chain of restaurants.

Gawande might want to reconsider his proposition in light of the Crispy Chicken Costoletta.

But the Costoletta is only one over-the-top dish cited by CSPI as part of its Xtreme Eating Awards 2013. The top offenders include “a milkshake with a slice of apple pie blended right in. A 3,000-calorie plate of pasta. A breakfast that includes deep-fried steak and pancakes (and hash browns and eggs and gravy and syrup,” according to a news release. (Read the full list here.) Continue reading

Video: Why Should Movie Theaters Be Exempt From Calorie Labeling?

There are approximately 1,200 calories in medium-size popcorn at Regal Cinemas, according to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest. And that’s without the added butter.

Twelve-hundred calories is about what I eat in an entire day. So why, asks this video posted by CSPI, should movie theaters in most states remain exempt from new rules requiring that food sold to the public include calorie counts? The group asks that viewers write to President Obama and “urge him to strengthen the final menu labeling regulations to include movie theaters.” (You’d think Michelle Obama would be interested in this issue too, with her telling kids “Let’s Move” and all.)

Daily Rounds: Don’t Blame Health Reform; Harvard’s Primary Care Boost; Food Labeling Highlighted; Health Care Abuse Tops List; Meningitis Booster For Teens

Health Law Hardly At Fault For Rising Premiums : NPR “Celinda Lake runs the Democratic polling firm Lake Research. She said her firm's premiums are going up 20 percent.
"My broker told me that it's because of health insurance reform," she says. But is it really? Absolutely not, says Jay Angoff, who heads the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "It would be inaccurate and silly to blame it on the new law," he says.” (

Harvard looks to lift primary care – The Boston Globe “Harvard Medical School has received a $30 million anonymous gift to create a major center to transform primary care medicine, a specialty that provides routine front-line care to millions of people but that many doctors consider unglamorous and underpaid.” (Boston Globe)

Food Companies Plan Front Label With Nutritional Data – “Responding to pressure from federal regulators, a major food manufacturers organization said Wednesday that it would develop a labeling system for the front of food packages that would highlight the nutritional content of foods, including things like calories, unhealthy fats and sodium that many consumers want to limit. The group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said the labeling system would be introduced early next year.” (The New York Times)

Top 10 Federal Fraud Settlements Had Health Twist : Shots – Health News Blog : NPR “The government recovered $2.7 billion in the top 10 cases during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to TAF. Even we, who also pay more than a little attention to these cases, were a little surprised that all the biggest settlements last year involved health care. Drugmaker Allergan led the settlement ranks last year, paying $600 million to settle claims it went too far in selling Botox.” (

CDC panel: Teens need another meningitis shot – “Teens should get a booster dose of the vaccine for bacterial meningitis because a single shot doesn't work as long as expected, a federal advisory panel said Wednesday.” (Boston Globe)