The 9 Unhealthiest Chain Restaurant Meals In America

According to The Center for Science in the Public’s Interest, these are the worst of the worst in mass-produced meals.

Credit: CBSNews

Credit: CBSNews


Fast food is notoriously unhealthy, but what about meals from dine-in restaurants? Certain chains are going the extra mile to serve fresh, healthy fare to conscious consumers, but some are still sticking with poor quality ingredients and huge portion sizes.

For those addicted to the Standard American way of life, the latter might seem ideal when hungry for grub. Long-term, however, high sodium, low-quality, and high-fat diets are detrimental to one’s health. 

To get an idea of some of the worst chain restaurant meals out there, we’re sharing a list compiled by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). As TakePart reports, every year, the center does some research on the unhealthiest chain restaurant meals in the nation.

From milkshakes to steak dinners, the following meals all have one thing in common: “a total disregard for the obesity epidemic and the coming diabetes tsunami,” says CSPI.

By knowing which meals and chains to avoid, however, you can be more informed and make wiser decisions when eating out. 

IHOP: Chorizo Fiesta Omelette and Pancakes

Credit: TripAdvisor

Credit: TripAdvisor

Calories: 1,990
Sodium: 4,840 milligrams
Saturated fat: 42 grams

If you indulge in this breakfast, you’re consuming nearly 2,000 calories – what the average man or woman needs in a day. The 1,300 calorie, sausage-filled omelet and 690 extra calories of pancakes and syrup makes this a meal you want to avoid when eating out. 

Dickey’s BBQ Pit: 3 Meat Plate

Credit: CNN

Credit: CNN

Calories: 2,500
Sodium: 4,700 milligrams
Saturated fat: 49 grams

The Dallas-based chain is well known for its humungous portions of meat. With more than 400 locations, it’s likely one of the reasons ‘everything is bigger in Texas’. The restaurant also gives out free rolls with all entrees and has a free soft-serve ice cream dispenser parked in the middle of each restaurant.

Outback Steakhouse: Herb-Roasted Prime Rib Dinner

Credit: TripAdvisor

Credit: TripAdvisor

Calories: 2,400
Sodium: 3,560 milligrams
Saturated fat: 71 grams

The recommended portion of meat for one meal is about 4-5 oz, which is about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. To consume more than a pound of meat in one sitting is wholly unreasonable. At Outback, not only is a pound a standard order for fat-marbled prime rib, it comes with a baked potato, a ranch-soaked salad, and complimentary rolls.

The Cheesecake Factory: Louisiana Chicken Pasta

Credit: dineatjoes.com

Credit: dineatjoes.com

Calories: 2,370
Sodium: 2,370 milligrams
Saturated fat: 80 grams

You can get much more than cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory. Unfortunately, most offerings are still high in calories, fat, and sodium. The 24-ounce plate of bowtie pasta is served with a gargantuan portion of Parmesan-crusted chicken and a large amount of Spicy New Orleans Sauce.

CSPI reports that this meal is the caloric equivalent of two bowls of Olive Garden fettuccine Alfredo plus two breadsticks.

Sonic: Large Pineapple Upside-Down Master Blaster

Credit: TakePart

Credit: TakePart

Calories: 2,020
Saturated fat: 61 grams
Trans fat: 4.5 grams

Oh, America. This massive dessert contains over 2,000 calories, yet is expected to be consumed after a fulfilling and balanced pile of food. 

Are you wondering where the two days’ worth of trans fat is coming from? It’s from the pie crust whirred into the milkshake, named after a cake.

Red Lobster: Create Your Own Combo (Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp, Walt’s Favorite, Linguine Alfredo)

Credit: Eater.com

Credit: Eater.com

Calories: 2,710
Sodium: 6,530 milligrams (four days’ worth)
Saturated fat: 37 grams

It’s easy to overdo the federal recommendation to consume fish twice a week at a restaurant like this. And, when smothered in cheese, seafood becomes less nutritious than if it were baked and served with a fresh leafy green salad with an herb-olive oil vinaigrette.

Uno Pizzeria and Grill: 2 for $12 Pick and Choose (Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza and Baked Ziti With Sausage)

Credit: eonline.com

Credit: eonline.com

Calories: 2,190
Sodium: 5,420 milligrams
Saturated fat: 49 grams

Part of America’s obesity problem stems from its rampant marketing. People are encouraged to purchase – and, in effect, consume – more, more, and more. 

Not all fare is created equally, especially when you consider the portion sizes and calories in two whole pizzas.

The Cheesecake Factory: Warm Apple Crisp

Credit: datades.com

Credit: datades.com

Calories: 1,740
Saturated fat: 48 grams
Added sugar: 32 teaspoons

Don’t be fooled! There might be fruit in the name of this dessert, but it is far from healthy. Covered in ice cream, drizzled with caramel and finished with whipped topping, you’d be better off, calorically speaking, consuming two slices of cheesecake for dessert than eating a whole bucket-size portion of sugared-up fruit.

Steak ’n Shake: 7×7 Steakburger, Fries, and Chocolate Fudge Brownie Milkshake

Credit: firstwefeast.com

Credit: firstwefeast.com

Calories: 2,530
Sodium: 5,060 milligrams
Saturated fat: 68 grams

For some reason, seven patties and seven slices of cheese seemed like a good idea…

It will always be best to create the majority of your meals in the sanctuary of your own home using fresh, wholesome, and predominantly plant-based ingredients. As was previously reported, it is also more economical to do so.

What are your thoughts? Comment below and share this article!


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