Not only are Americans eating out more, we’re simply eating more than we have in decades past, and chains are doing all they can to keep up: more calories, more fat, more sodium, and excess portions. From the "Tour of Italy" at Olive Garden to a BBQ burger at TGI Fridays, we’ve tracked down the most fat-, calorie-, and sodium-laden dishes on the menu at 15 leading chains, and the numbers are jaw-dropping.
Restaurants don’t seem to be holding back in terms of the fat and calories they're packing into their offerings these days, despite the requirement to post calorie counts on menus. Many dishes come laden with cream, butter, and most of all salt, designed to tickle our taste buds without considering what they're doing to our waistlines.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises everyone to limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day, and the average adult should consume around 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day; some of these dishes pack more than that onto one plate, and that doesn’t even include appetizers and desserts!
So with all these terrifying statistics in mind, it’s more difficult than you might think to find healthy options at readily available chain restaurants. Even meals you thought were healthy on the surface can turn out to be disastrous; heck, The Cheesecake Factory’s grilled portobello mushroom on a bun contains a whopping 1,130 calories. That doesn’t even include a side, and who can eat a veggie burger without some fries?
It turns out that this dinner minefield is a common occurrence at most chain restaurants. So if you want to learn which dishes are the worst of the worst (ranked according to the amount of calories), read on.