The Unhealthiest Dishes at Your Favorite Chain Restaurants

Love to eat at chain restaurants? Then you might want to avoid these calorie bombs

The Unhealthiest Dishes at Your Favorite Chain Restaurants

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. 

TGI Friday’s

The Jack Daniel’s Ribs & Shrimp from TGI Friday’s pairs a full rack of baby back ribs with Cajun-spiced fried shrimp. It’s also served with a side of fries and coleslaw. The dish contains 1,790 calories, 78 grams of fat, 4,000 milligrams of sodium, and 26 grams of saturated fat.

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Olive Garden

With 1,590 calories, the Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara is the unhealthiest item on Olive Garden’s menu. The bowl of creamy pasta tossed with bacon and red peppers and topped with sautéed shrimp and chicken also contains 114 grams of fat, 2,410 milligrams of sodium, and 61 grams of saturated fat.

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The Hand-Battered Fish & Chips on the Applebee’s menu, served with tartar sauce, slaw, and fries, is one of those rare chain menu items that clocks in at over 2,000 calories. It contains 2,010 to be exact, with 138 grams of fat, 4,230 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of saturated fat, and 160 milligrams of cholesterol.

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Photo Modified: Flickr/ Samson Loo/ CC4.0

Pack beef, bacon, cheese, and ranch dressing into a flour tortilla, brown it up with a little butter and top it with sour cream and you’ve got a recipe for the unhealthiest item on the menu at Chili’s: The Beef Bacon Ranch Quesadilla. It packs in 1,800 calories, 135 grams of fat, 3,900 milligrams of cholesterol, 46 grams of saturated fat, and 280 milligrams of cholesterol. 

Red Lobster

Red Lobster

Yelp/ Cy K.

When in doubt, any menu item with the word “Alfredo” in it is most likely insanely unhealthy. Take Red Lobster’s full-portion Crab Linguine Alfredo, for example, the unhealthiest item on its menu (which is also full of fried seafood, mind you): Crabmeat and linguine tossed with garlic Parmesan cream sauce clocks in at 1,910 calories, 121 grams of fat, 48 grams of saturated fat, an insane five grams of trans fat, 4,520 milligrams of sodium, and 230 milligrams of cholesterol.

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Red Robin

Red Robin

Photo Modified: Clotee Allochuku/ CC4.0

If you’d like to complement your burger with a side of Red Robin’s Towering Onion Rings, we politely suggest that you reconsider. This appetizer/ side dish is in fact unhealthier than every other item on Red Robin’s menu (and packs in more than twice as many calories as most burgers), with 1,936 calories, 125 grams of fat, and 3,460 milligrams of sodium.

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Outback Steakhouse

As you may have guessed, the unhealthiest item served at Outback is also its most infamous: the Bloomin’ Onion. This whole onion, sliced, battered, and deep-fried, contains 1,954 calories, 155 grams of fat, 56 grams of saturated fat, more than seven grams of artery-clogging trans fat, 3,841 milligrams of sodium, and 130 milligrams of cholesterol.

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Uno Chicago Grill

If you can eat an entire regular deep dish pizza by yourself, then Uno’s Chicago Classic, which contains crumbled sausage, chunky tomato sauce, mozzarella, and Romano cheese, counts as the unhealthiest menu item, with an insane 4,490 calories and 319 grams of fat. If you prefer and individual-size Chicago Classic deep dish, that’ll set you back 2,300 calories, 164 grams of fat, 53 grams of saturated fat, 225 milligrams of cholesterol, and 4,910 milligrams of sodium. 

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday

None of Ruby Tuesday’s burgers clock in at less than 1,000 calories, but the unhealthiest burger of all is its Colossal Burger, which contains two eight-ounce patties, a triple-decker bun, and American and Jack cheeses. Eat one of these and you’ll be packing away 1,697 calories, 96 grams of fat, and 4,171 milligrams of sodium. Sounds more like a colossal mistake.



Yelp/ Helan N.

IHOP’s pancakes are far from healthy (three original buttermilk pancakes contains 430 calories), but the unhealthiest item on IHOP’s menu is far and away the country fried steak with sausage gravy, which contains 1,530 calories, 95 grams of fat, 28 grams of saturated fat, 150 milligrams of cholesterol, and 3,900 milligrams of sodium. And that’s without eggs!

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