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The 9 Most Unhealthy Restaurant Dishes In America

You will never guess how many calories are in this shrimp pasta. Let’s just say that calorie-wise you’ve got all you need for TWO days.

No wonder there is an obesity epidemic in America.

While most Americans would never sit down to eat a 12-piece bucket of Original Recipe KFC all by themselves they would certainly order the Cheesecake Factory’s Crispy Chicken Costoletta entree.

But, according to The Center for Science in the Public Interest, the bucket of KFC has less than half the saturated fat of the Cheesecake Factory entree. In fact, the Crispy Chicken Costoletta has more calories (2,610) than any steak, chop, or burger meal on The Cheesecake Factory’s famously over-sized menu. And it’s still not even the most calorie-laden thing on the menu. So what has the most calories at The Cheesecake Factory? You shall soon see.

Consider my mind blown. I would never think one meal at a restaurant has as many calories as are contained in the meals you’re about to see.

Makes you think twice about that weekly family trip to IHOP for breakfast. Also makes you realize how easy it is to consume too many calories.

According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. It’s no surprise that that has coincided with the increasing size of meals served to us in restaurants. Our perceptions of what is healthy have become totally skewed. For example, go to dinner at Chili’s and play it “healthy” by ordering a salad (you know you feel healthier about yourself when you order the salad) and in most cases you’re consuming around 1,000 calories. That’s half your caloric consumption for the day in one meal.

That’s why the CSPI  creates its annual list of “food porn.” They’re a consumer-focused nonprofit group that promotes healthier eating and wants to alert you to menu items with eye-popping levels of calories, saturated fat, sugar and/or sodium.

CSPI wants calorie disclosure on restaurant menus something that larger chains soon will be required to do under the U.S. health reform law. And I’m glad too. Even though I know that something called “Bistro Shrimp Pasta” isn’t exactly the best choice, I would never begin to dream how many calories it really has.

Note: According to CSPI, “To put the numbers you’re about to see into context, a typical adult should consume about 2,000 calories and no more than 20 grams of saturated fat and 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming no more than six teaspoons of added sugars for women and nine teaspoons for men.”

Without further ado, here is the list:


  • The Bistro Shrimp Pasta from The Cheesecake Factory 1 of 9
    The Bistro Shrimp Pasta from The Cheesecake Factory
    Described on The Cheesecake Factory website as "Crispy Battered Shrimp, Fresh Mushrooms, Tomato and Arugula Tossed with Spaghettini and a Basil-Garlic-Lemon Cream Sauce. the Bistro Shrimp Pasta doesn't sound like it could be that bad. But oh how wrong you'd be. All the cream, butter and pasta it adds up to a whopping 3,120 calories and 89 grams of saturated fat. According to the CSPI, that's the equivalent of three orders of Olive Garden's Lasagna Classico plus an order of Tiramisu.
    Photo Credit: upi.com
  • Chicken Costoletta from The Cheesecake Factory 2 of 9
    Chicken Costoletta from The Cheesecake Factory
    The Cheesecake Factory is making quite a showing on this year's list. The Crispy Chicken Costoletta has 2,610 calories. That's more calories than if you polished off a 12-piece bucket of Original Recipe KFC all by yourself!
    Photo Credit: twosquirts.com
  • The Veal Porterhouse at Maggianos 3 of 9
    The Veal Porterhouse at Maggianos
    If you want to swallow an 18oz. hunk of veal then I think you deserve the 2,710 calories, 45g of saturated fat, and 3,700mg of sodium in this meal from Maggiano's. That's including the side of Crispy Buttered Red Potatoes. The CSPI says, "You'd be better off eating four Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizzas."
    Photo Credit: cpsnews.com
  • The Chocolate Zuccotto Cake at Maggianos 4 of 9
    The Chocolate Zuccotto Cake at Maggianos
    When you're all tanked up from that veal why not indulge in a Chocolate Zuccotto Cake also from Maggiano's Little Italy? At 1,820 calories it's roughly equivalent with almost a day's worth of calories, three days' worth of saturated fat (62 grams), and four days' worth of added sugar (26 teaspoons).
    Photo Credit: flickr.com
  • The Country Fried Steak & Eggs combo from IHOP 5 of 9
    The Country Fried Steak & Eggs combo from IHOP
    Nothing like a fun family breakfast at IHOP, right? Wrong. At 1,760 calories, the Country Fried Steak and Eggs is the equivalent of five McDonald's Egg McMuffins sprinkled with 10 packets of sugar. Enjoy!
    Photo Credit: IHOP.com
  • The Bacon Cheddar Double Burger at Johnny Rockets 6 of 9
    The Bacon Cheddar Double Burger at Johnny Rockets
    This burger from Johnny Rockets comes in at 1,770 calories. Johnny's Sweet Potato Fries throw on another 590 calories. But what's a burger and fries without a shake? Add a Big Apple Shake and you're talking about a meal with around 3,500 calories. The CSPI says that's the same as eating 3 McDonald's Quarter Pounders with Cheese, a large Fries, a medium McCafé Vanilla Shake, and 2 Baked Apple Pies.
    Photo Credit: burgerspies.wordpress.com
  • The Deep Dish Macaroni & 3-Cheese at Uno Chicago Grill 7 of 9
    The Deep Dish Macaroni & 3-Cheese at Uno Chicago Grill
    The Deep Dish Macaroni & 3-Cheese at Uno Chicago Grill has four cups of pasta; Cheddar, Parmesan, and Romano cheeses; an Alfredo sauce made from heavy cream, cheese, rendered chicken fat, and butter; and a crushed Ritz Cracker topping. That's 1,980 calories. Eating this entrée is like eating a whole Family Size box of Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese—with half a stick of butter melted on top. It's also like eating your entire day of calories in one meal.
    Photo Credit: abcgo.com
  • The Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs with Shiner Bock BBQ Sauce at Chilis 8 of 9
    The Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs with Shiner Bock BBQ Sauce at Chilis
    Want your baby back, baby back baby back ribs? That's gonna cost you 1,660 calories. And that's just the ribs. They come with Homestyle Fries (400 calories) and Cinnamon Apples (270 calories) for a grand total of 2,330 calories. According to CSPI, for the same amount of calories you could eat two Chili's 10 oz. Classic Sirloin Steak dinners (each with Loaded Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli), with a 10 oz. Classic Sirloin Steak on the side.
    Photo Credit: cnn.com
  • The Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie from Smoothie King 9 of 9
    The Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie from Smoothie King
    But smoothies are healthy! Not so much. The Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie from Smoothie King (a 40-oz. large size) has 1,460 calories and three- and-a-half days' worth of added sugar. That's 22 teaspoons.
    Photo Credit: overdriveonline.com

You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who. Read more from Monica on Babble:

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