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11 Chain Restaurant Foods That Are Horrifyingly Unhealthy

You'll never look at appetizers the same way again. This was inspired by the best and worst options to eat in New York Times best-selling author David Zinczenko's book, Eat It To Beat It!

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1. Outback Steakhouse Chicken Wings appetizer

Fat: 165 grams

Calories: 1,992

The bad news: At a dozen wings, Zinczenko estimated that the total fat found in this appetizer is equal to 43 strips of bacon. It's also packed with 5330 mg of sodium, which is two days worth of what you're supposed to get, and 3.2 grams of trans fat, which is almost a week's worth. You'd also have to jump rope for close to 3 hours to burn off all those calories.

2. Friendly's Giant Crowd Pleaser


Fat: 118 grams

Calories: 2,470

The bad news: According to Zinczenko, the average woman is supposed to get no more than 25 grams of sugar a day, while the average man should have no more than 38 grams per day. This dessert has a whopping total of 235 grams of sugar. Meaning that it's over 9 times the recommended sugar intake for women, and over 6 times the amount for men. You'd have to go on the stair master for more than 5 hours to burn those calories off, which is totally not worth it.

3. Buffalo Wild Wings' Ribs & More Ribs

Fat: 158 grams

Calories: 2,380

The bad news: Saturated fats can affect your cholesterol and heart health, and the recommended daily amount for someone on a 2,000 calorie diet would be just 16 grams. While these wings have 58 grams of saturated fat, which is more than three times that amount.

4. Cheesecake Factory's Bistro Shrimp Pasta

Fat: Not available, but there's 89 grams of saturated fat

Calories: 3,120

The bad news: This one meal is close to 500 calories more than the average man is supposed to consume over the course of an entire day, and you'd have to run a 10-minute mile for over four hours to burn it all off.


5. Maggiano's Surf and Turf

Fat: 152 grams

Calories: 2,020

The bad news: Aside from the hefty amount of calories and fat, it also has 3,620 mg of sodium. And according to Zinczenko, adults shouldn't have more than 2,400 mg of salt a day. And you'd have to go golfing for close to 8 hours to burn off the calories.

6. Applebee's Hand Battered Fish & Chips

Fat: 128 grams

Calories: 1,730

The bad news: Don't get me wrong, fat is necessary. Healthy fats are good for you, the kinds found in fatty fish, avocados, and hummus, for example. But the average adult on a 2,000 calorie a day diet is recommended to get between 44 to 78 grams, making this meal roughly three times that amount. To be fair, it's a basket of fried things, so this shouldn't be a total shocker.

7. Bertucci's Spaghetti with Meatballs

Fat: 84 grams

Calories: 1,880

The bad news: This packs 198 carbs per serving. To put that in perspective, a moderately active woman between the ages of 19 and 30 is recommended to consume 225 to 357.5 grams of carbs each day. Which means this dish just about gives you your daily intake, and you'd have to go cross-country hiking for 4 hours to burn those calories off.

8. Steak 'N Shake's Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

Fat: 74 grams

Calories: 1,070

The bad news: Trans fats are responsible for clogging arteries, including ones that are in your brain. Which, according to Zinczenko, will affect your cognitive performance ability, effectively making you dumber.

The American Heart Association suggests you limit your daily trans fat intake to 2 grams a day, and this dish has 8 grams, making it 4x the daily recommendation.


9. The Hard Rock Cafe Nachos

Fat: N/A

Calories: 2,270

The bad news: That's just for the nachos without any protein. The calories go up when you add chicken (156 calories), pulled pork (107 calories), or beef (346 calories). Just keep in mind that if you do order these, you'd have to spend about three and a half hours on the elliptical to burn off those calories.