The 9 Most Unhealthy Chain Restaurant Meals in America

Credit: CBSNews
Credit: CBSNews

The United States is on the top of the charts when it comes to the number of people struggling with obesity and diabetes. This is not surprising given the large number of fast-food restaurants in the country. But what about dine in restaurants? Here things seem to look a bit different. Many restaurant owners go out of their way to make their food as healthy as possible and serve their dishes very fresh.

Nevertheless, there are still some restaurants across the US which don’t really care about health and take advantage of people’s weaknesses for fatty, sweet or sodium filled cravings.

Moreover, the excess of food intake is no longer just a personal matter for each individual. Food and agriculture for that matter takes up almost 40% of all land on the ace of the planet and ocean fisheries are pretty much depleted. In order to feed every person on the planet today, we would need roughly 1.6 planet Earths to do so. We don’t really see this now because 1.2 billion people are starving. If every person on the planet would eat the amount of food an average American eats, we would need 4.5 planet Earths.

What’s even worse is the fact that agriculture “eats up” 70% of all fresh water on the planet, while industry, about 20% and the remaining 10% goes into domestic use. Given the fact that California is running out of water next year, it’s no longer the poor people in far away third world countries who will suffer, it’s everyone.

Now, not all things are bad. Things are being done to remedy the situation. One of the best things average people can do is to eat as healthy as possible and limit the amount of meat we eat. Meat production is by far the largest consumer of water and land in the whole of agriculture. Eaten in large quantities is bad for one’s health, especially for people with a sedentary way of life. If you’re sitting down more than 2 hours per day, you shouldn’t eat meat every day. That’s pretty much it.

Now, according to The Center for Science in the Public’s Interest, these are the 9 most unhealthy chain restaurant meals in America which totally disregard everything we said above.

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


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)


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)


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


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


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.