Last year, we reported that the Big Catch with Onion Rings at Long John Silver’s topped the list of unhealthiest restaurant meals in the nation. The main ingredient of the meal was fish, which is generally considered to be healthy. However, the way in which it was prepared led to it containing a startling 33 grams of trans fat, which is well-known to raise LDL levels and therefore contribute to a higher risk of heart disease. After the damning report came out, Long John Silver’s announced that it would be removing all trans fats from its food.
So, with trans fats no longer being in the Big Catch, what meals are considered to be the least healthy? According to the Center for Science and the Public Interest, The Cheesecake Factory and Red Robin are coming out as the worst offenders. The amount of exercise you’ll need to work off the meals is astonishing.
Red Robin’s Monster Burger Tops the List
The Monster Burger, along with an accompanying salted caramel milkshake and steak fries, comes out at number one among the unhealthiest restaurant meals. The total calories contained in this meal reach at least 3,450, which is considered two days’ worth. The term “at least” is used because the steak fries are bottomless, meaning you can eat as many as you want while dining in-house. The meal also contains 69 grams of saturated fat (3.5 days’ worth) and a whopping 6,280 mg of sodium (4 days’ worth). With the shake, the meal ends up containing 38 teaspoons of sugar. The CSPI equates this to eating seven double cheeseburgers from McDonalds with a quart of Coca-Cola. To put things in perspective, a person would need to take a 12-hour walk at a brisk pace to burn off all the calories.
Cheesecake Factory Has Three Meals on the List
The Cheesecake Factory is known for having a menu full of large portions and rich deserts. The most troublesome offender in terms of health is the Bruléed French Toast. It contains powdered sugar and maple-butter syrup on pieces of custard-soaked bread. With the optional bacon as a side, the meal contains 2,780 calories, 2,230 mg of sodium and 93 grams of fat. According to the CSPI, a person would need to swim laps for seven hours to burn these calories.
The second Cheesecake Factory dish is the Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic. At first glance, the dish may appear to be healthier than something like a burger or a pizza. However, the portion size is gigantic and the sauce is sauce is full of fat. The dish contains 1,370 mg of sodium, 2,410 calories and 63 grams of fat.
Last but not least is the Reese’s Peanut butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake. The name alone hints at how bad it is – it contains 1,500 calories, 21 teaspoons of sugar and 43 grams of fat. A person would have to exercise aerobically for 4.5 hours to burn the calories.
Other Items On the List
Rounding out the list of unhealthiest restaurant meals this year were:
- The Big Slab from Famous Dave’s
- Deep Dish Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza from BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
- Chevys Super Cinco Combo from Chevys
- The Big “Hook” Up from Joe’s Crab Shack
- Prime New York Steak Contadina Style from Maggiano’s Little Italy
Unhealthiest Restaurant Meals of 2014: The Bottom Line
Preparing your own food is the best option for maintaining a healthy diet. You can control exactly which ingredients are used and how they are prepared. At the same time, eating out is simply a reality for many people. Some simple health rules to remember when dining out involve:
- Getting the smallest portion possible and not feeling pressured to finish it
- Skipping dessert or getting fruit instead
- Ordering salad with dressing on the side
- Ordering an entree high in vegetable content
- Avoiding fast food if at all possible
For more tips on eating out healthily, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov. At the very least, avoid the above meals at all costs.