The 13 Unhealthiest Items You Can Order At Steak 'N Shake

Steak 'n Shake is ideal for a quick and convenient meal. The casual dining restaurant was born in 1934 when Gus Belt turned his gas station restaurant into a steak joint. And perhaps thanks to its on-the-road history, Steak 'n Shake excels in delivering hungry customers with quick meals.

But while these meals may be speedy, they're not always healthy. Steak 'n Shake isn't exactly known for its nutritional excellence, but there are some menu items that tip the balance into unhealthy territory pretty heavily. 

According to registered dietitian Barbie Cervoni, while Steak n' Shake does utilize fresh ingredients, the dishes served can contain an excessive amount of calories, sodium, and saturated fat (via Verywell Fit). And ordering the wrong item could leave you feeling pretty weighed down and craving some greens.

But let's be real: When you're looking to grab something to eat quickly, you're not always looking at the nutritional information, especially if you're hungry. So how do you know what's healthy and what isn't? It's important to take a look at the most unhealthy items on Steak 'n Shake's menu and dive down into what exactly makes them that way.

1. The 7x7 Steakburger is particularly unhealthy

Sometimes, you just want to go all-out with your food. And while that's definitely understandable, it's possible to go a little too far sometimes. We'd say that Steak 'n Shake's 7x7 Steakburger is a good example of this. This towering creation piles seven burger patties and seven slices of American cheese between two burger buns and plates it up. You'll need to unhinge your jaw to get through this one, folks.

And as you might imagine, eating that much beef and cheese isn't going to do you any favors nutritionally. This burger delivers an astonishing 1,660 calories per serving, with 95 grams of protein contained within those buns (which are clearly working overtime holding it all together). 

Given that the recommended daily caloric intake is 2,000 for women or 2,500 for men, if you order the 7x7, you'll be getting almost your entire day's calories in a single burger (via British Heart Foundation). 

But it's not just the calories you should look out for. The 7x7 also contains an enormous 62 grams of saturated fats and 6 grams of trans fat (with 128 grams of fat in the burger overall). Both saturated fats and trans fats can have a particularly negative impact on your cholesterol levels, according to the Mayo Clinic. Higher cholesterol levels can lead to an increased risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

2. Don't let the Chili Mac deceive you

The Chili Mac is arguably one of the most well-known menu items at Steak 'n Shake, but it's also potentially quite problematic. This dish of spaghetti, chili, and cheese may, at first glance, look harmless, but it's probably one of the worst things you can order. The Chili Mac is sky-high in calories, and it contains 26 grams of saturated fat. 

The sodium content is particularly worrisome: This humble-looking dish has over 2,700 milligrams of sodium. According to the American Heart Association, adults should ideally consume no more than 1,500mg of sodium daily: If you order the Chili Mac, you're almost doubling that amount. 

It's not only just the nutritional numbers for this meal that are troubling: The preparation methods for this dish are also quite concerning. The reason the Chili Mac is so fat-filled is that grease is literally spooned into it. According to a Steak 'n Shake employee who recommends avoiding the Chili Mac entirely, employees are encouraged to add more grease than beef to the dish (via Reddit).

If you're craving the meal, the employee recommends ordering it dry-style to reduce the fat content. It's also worth remembering that the Chili Mac isn't all bad. This meal delivers a healthy dose of fiber, with 9 grams per serving, thanks to the inclusion of beans in the chili. However, it's worth remembering that these nutritional components don't entirely offset other nutritional aspects of the dish.

3. The Oreo Red Velvet Milkshake is loaded with sugar

It's probably fair to say that if you're ordering the Oreo Red Velvet Milkshake at Steak 'n Shake, you're likely not expecting pure health in a glass. But it may surprise you to learn just how unhealthy this shake actually is. 

A regular-sized serving of this milkshake contains 960 calories per serving, which is almost half of the recommended daily caloric intake for some people (via British Heart Foundation). And a frankly astonishing amount of the calories are derived from the sugar content of this milkshake. 

The Oreo Red Velvet Milkshake contains 130 grams of sugar. To put that in perspective, the recommended daily sugar intake is 36 grams for men, and 25 grams for women, according to the American Heart Association. This means that in some cases, just one of these milkshakes will provide over 5 times the amount of the recommended sugar intake.

It's useful to point out that the Oreo Red Velvet Milkshake is also sold in a small size for the slightly more health-conscious out there. This serving size, however, will still provide a massive 80 grams of sugar per glass. And somewhat troublingly, this milkshake is also marketed as a "kids" version. We'd recommend giving your little ones something slightly less sugary so they're not bouncing off the walls all day!

4. The Chili Cheese Fries contain high levels of fat and salt

Chili cheese fries consist of a pretty unbeatable combo of foods. But if you're ordering them at Steak 'n Shake, you're going to end up with a plate of food that's not super nutritious. A large portion of Chili Cheese Fries from Steak 'n Shake clock in at 1,070 calories per serving. Almost 500 of these calories are derived from fat alone. 

Although it's vital to have a healthy amount of fat in your diet, consuming too much (including from saturated fat sources) can prompt a range of health concerns. High cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver disease, and stroke are all more likely to occur if you eat high levels of fat regularly (via Livestrong).

Steak 'n Shake's Chili Cheese Fries also deliver a hefty laid of sodium: Just under 2,390 milligrams per large serving, to be precise. Although these fries might not be so bad if you're sharing them between a few people, if you're eating them solo or ordering them as a side, they could make your meal unhealthy pretty quickly.

5. The Chili 5-Way is both unhealthy and unpopular

Steak 'n Shake is well-known for its chili offerings, alongside the burgers, fries, and milkshakes that make up the rest of its menu. But one of its chili dishes might be the worst Steak 'n Shake menu item you can choose. This dish, which contains spaghetti, chili, cheese, and raw onions, was designated the worst Steak 'n Shake menu item in a survey conducted by Mashed. Why? Well, it's partly due to the nutritional quality of this dish. 

The Chili 5-Way is a pretty meaty dish that provides 1,160 calories per serving. The pile of spaghetti that the chili of served on top of also makes it fairly carb-heavy. It's important to remember, of course, that carbohydrates are vital to fuel the body, and some of these come from the beans nestled in the chili, which contain healthy fiber. 

However, eating large amounts of carbs too frequently can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and potentially raise your unhealthy cholesterol levels, according to Livestrong. The Chili 5-Way also contains a whopping 33 grams of saturated fat, which could also spell trouble for your cholesterol levels.

6. The Frisco Melt is a meal that could spell trouble

The Steak 'n Shake Frisco Melt is a sandwich with a difference. Instead of sandwiching delicate fillings like lettuce or tomato between the bread, Steak 'n Shake goes all out, cramming two burger patties and cheese slices in between two slices of sourdough toast.

But while the Frisco Melt may be pretty satisfying, as sandwiches go, it's actually pretty unhealthy. The main reason you should never order a Frisco Melt is because of its sky-high sodium content. This unassuming-looking sandwich contains 1,440 milligrams of sodium, which is the daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association (as per Hypertension). The Frisco Melt also has around 960 calories per serving which, for a sandwich, is quite hefty.

Curiously, the sandwich also has a fairly high sugar content, considering it's a savory treat. The Frisco Melt contains about 12 grams of sugar, which is only slightly lower than the sugar quantity in some of Steak 'n Shake's sweet beverages. 

Comparatively, a 12-ounce serving of Coke at the restaurant will provide 16 grams of sugar. While we're not entirely sure where the sugar comes from in a Frisco Melt, but we do know that there are far healthier sandwich choices out there.

7. Steak 'N Shake's Sweet Tea is surprisingly unhealthy

Sweet tea doesn't often get the same attention that other sweet drinks do around its sugar content. But it's vital to remember that just because it isn't fizzy or can be made at home more easily doesn't mean it can't be unhealthy. And if you're ordering it at Steak 'n Shake, it could be pretty unhealthy indeed. Steak 'n Shake's sweet tea, when ordered in a large, 44-ounce size, contains an enormous 61 grams of sugar. Virtually all of the calories in the drink come from the added sugar, with the drink clocking in at 250 calories per serving.

This is over double the amount of free sugars you should be consuming a day, according to the NHS, with 61 grams of sugar equating to roughly 14 sugar cubes. Incredibly, the Sweet Tea on the Steak 'n Shake menu is the drink that contains the most sugar, excluding the milkshakes and the root beer. Excess sugar contributes to chronic health conditions, and it can also be terrible for your teeth, contributing to tooth decay. Skip the sweet tea, and opt for a lower-sugar option instead.

8. The Reese's Peanut Butter Milkshake is not for everyday

Reese's Pieces are a beloved candy, and The Hershey Company has capitalized on its success to offer a range of peanut-tasting treats. And so, when Reese's were blended into a milkshake, peanut butter lovers around the country rejoiced.

We'd imagine they'd rejoice a little less if they could see the nutritional information in the Reese's Peanut Butter Milkshake, though. A regular-sized serving of this drink contains 900 calories per serving. Almost half of those calories come from fat: The shake contains 47 grams of fat and 17 grams of saturated fat. 

Additionally, this drink contains almost 83 grams of sugar and almost 50 grams of protein. It's pretty much a full meal in itself; however, aside from the protein and a few grams of fiber, it's lacking somewhat in nutrition your body will thank you for.

Incredibly, too, this milkshake isn't the least healthy Reese's-related drink on the menu. Steak 'n Shake's regular-sized Reese's Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake contains nearly 1,000 calories, with 94 grams of sugar per cup.

9. The Chili Cheese Steak Frank is a salt bomb

Steak n' Shake's Chili Cheese Steak Frank might, at first glance, not look too bad. Sure, it's a hot dog with chili and cheese on top, so it's not exactly the picture of health. But it's a relatively small serving size, and surely there are worse things on the menu, right?

Well, while that may be true, it's useful to look a little closer. The Chili Cheese Steak Frank is, for its size, loaded with sodium. Just one Chili Cheese Steak Frank has approximately 1,620 milligrams of sodium in it. The thing is practically swimming in salt, y'all.

The Chili Cheese Steak Frank also contains 1.5 grams of trans fats. Given that you should aim for a maximum of 2 grams of trans fats per day, and ideally zero trans fats in total, this isn't great news (via Family Doctor). Trans fats can have a significant impact on your cholesterol levels, and eating too many of them can raise your bad LDL cholesterol significantly.

10. Predictably, the Butter Steakburger isn't health food

Look, it's fair to say that something called the "Butter Steakburger" probably won't please the health gurus of the world. But it still might surprise you exactly how unhealthy the Butter Steakburger is. This sandwich is one of Steak 'n Shake's flagship burger products, and it delivers a weighty 870 calories. A high proportion of those calories, though, are due to the amount of fat in the burger.

The Butter Steakburger contains 65 grams of fat, more than every burger on Steak 'n Shake's menu apart from the 7x7. Additionally, it has 30 grams of saturated fat: This is roughly 150 percent of the amount that women should ingest daily, according to the NHS. To add to this, the Butter Steakburger contains 150 milligrams of pure cholesterol. 

While it should be pointed out that eating small amounts of cholesterol daily isn't too problematic, too much can be risky, particularly if you have heart disease (via UCSF Health). Ideally, you should opt for less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day and less than 200 milligrams if you have a heart condition. And the Butter Steakburger won't do much to help you stay within those limits. 

11. The Grilled Cheese Combo is surprisingly unhealthy

A humble grilled cheese sandwich is the ultimate food for a lot of people. It's cheesy, carby, and crunchy, and it's simple enough to make in the comfort of your home. It's little wonder that kids like them, too, but you'd be wise to get your little ones to order something else at Steak 'n Shake.

The restaurant's Kids Grilled Cheese Combo might look innocent, but it's full of calories, fat, and sodium, according to Verywell Fit. There are 780 calories nestled in the Grilled Cheese Combo, which comes with fries. If your eight-year-old manages to eat the whole thing, they'll have consumed well over half of their recommended calorie intake for the day (via the American Heart Association).

The Grilled Cheese Combo also contains 16 grams of saturated fat, thanks in part to all that cheesy goodness inside it. This would be a large amount of saturated fat for one meal for an adult to consume, let alone for children. A healthy, nutritious diet, with careful attention to the right balance of micronutrients, is essential for a kid's healthy development. While a treat every now and again is not bad, all that cheese may not be super helpful.

12. The M&M's Milkshake is packed full of sugar

It might come as no surprise that a milkshake made with commercial candy flavors is pretty sugary. But what might surprise you is exactly how sugary Steak 'n Shake's M&M's Milkshake actually is. If you order a regular size and drink it all, you'll be downing an eye-popping 116 grams of sugar. That's triple, and in some cases, quadruple the amount of sugar you should eat in a full day (via Circulation).

It's also useful to note that there is just a single gram of fiber in the M&M's Milkshake, meaning the vast majority of the carbs in the drink are derived from sugar alone. Fiber is vital in slowing blood sugar spikes: Without it, you're leaving your blood glucose susceptible to wild fluctuations (via Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health). 

You'll save yourself the consumption of some sweetness if you opt for the small version of the M&M's Milkshake. Bear in mind, though, that this drink still contains 80 grams of sugar in a relatively small glass.

13. The Chili Deluxe Bowl is high in cholesterol

A warming bowl of chili is absolute heaven on a cold winter's day. Not all chilis are made equal, though, and there are some worrying aspects to the Steak 'n Shake bowls. A bowl of the Chili Deluxe will provide a considerable 1,000 calories, with half of those calories being derived from fat. But it's the cholesterol content that we're most concerned about. The Chili Deluxe Bowl contains 165 milligrams of cholesterol, which is well over half of the recommended daily intake for healthy adults. 

Not all dietary cholesterol is bad for you, and our bodies do need a certain amount to function effectively (via CDC). However, consuming too much can be a little risky, especially if it comes from sources like red meat and cheese, which are abundant in the Chili Deluxe Bowl. These foods tend to increase your levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, which can line your arteries and increase the risk of chronic cardiovascular conditions.

If you're really craving chili, though, it might be wise to order a cup of the Chili Deluxe instead of the full bowl. This will halve the portion size and, therefore, the cholesterol and calorie count.