In the restaurant industry, and in the culinary world in general, there’s a cardinal rule: Fat is flavor. Unfortunately for us, however, the more fat and calories packed into a dish, the better it will taste. Chains are making a concerted effort to add more healthy options to their menus, but that doesn’t mean that there’s a shortage of insanely unhealthy items on the menu at just about every chain. We’ve tracked down the unhealthiest menu items, from a calorie standpoint, at 10 of America’s most popular chain restaurants.
We’re living in what’s most likely the most health-conscious era in human history, but all that really means is that there are more choices. If you want to go to Applebee’s or another major chain and have a relatively healthy meal, there’s most likely an entire menu section devoted specifically to dishes that contain less than, say, 600 calories. If you want to eat healthy at a chain, for the most part today you can. But for every quinoa bowl, there’s a rack of ribs with a sugary glaze, or a mound of creamy pasta topped with fried chicken.
Thankfully, many chain restaurant menus nowadays are forced to include calorie counts of every dish on their menu, and nearly all of them post nutritional information online (even if they don’t really have much of an effect on the way we eat). It should also be common sense when a dish is loaded with calories and when one isn’t; a piece of grilled chicken with steamed vegetables will always be better for you than an eight-ounce burger topped with bacon and cheese and served with a side of fries. But the absolute highest-calorie dish at each of these restaurants, the ones at the very top of Gutbomb Mountain, will most likely still surprise you.
Read on to learn which entrée at 10 major chains you’re probably going to want to either share with somebody, take half of to go, or, even better, avoid altogether. That dish on the “Lighter Fare” menu might not taste as good as these calorie bombs, but after seeing the insane amount of fat and calories in these dishes, you may never go back to ordering off the regular menu ever again.