These foods are high in fat, but not in a good way! Find out the unhealthy truth behind some of your favorite restaurant dishes
Indulgent. Delicious. Sinful. The new season of Scandal? Nope, we’re talking about something even more provocative than Kerry Washington’s trembling lips. We’re talking about fat.
Fat makes healthy food taste great. And in the form of healthy fats from nuts, olives, avocado, and fish, it even feeds your brain, protects your heart and trims your waistline. But too much of a good thing can go terribly wrong—especially with dietary fat. Most of what we eat today isn’t the healthy stuff, but the less-healthy saturated and trans fats—fats that come from animals or fats that are chemically altered to make them easier to work with, but harder on our health. (Discover how healthy fats can make you thin, check out this indispensable list of 8 Fatty Foods That Make You Skinny.)
And when it comes to bad-for-you fat, chain restaurants slather it on like an overprotective parent with a bottle of sunscreen. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that no more than 20 to 35 percent of total calories should come from fat—somewhere between 44 and 78 grams a day. (A gram of fat is worth nine calories, for those of you keeping score at home.) Yet even a single meal at some chain restaurants can deliver once, twice, three times that amount. What’s truly amazing about the following list of the 10 fattiest foods in America is that half of them are appetizers, and only one is a dessert!
1506 calories, 126g fat, 53g saturated fat, 8g trans, 2130mg sodium
Fat equivalent: 15 McDonald’s hamburgers!
Wait a minute: Isn’t calamari seafood? Shouldn’t that be lean and healthy? Carrabba’s tortures this squid the way SpongeBob tortures Squidward, rolling it in bread and deep-frying it in trans fats. The American Heart Association wants you to eliminate trans fats altogether, but at the high end, you should have no more than 2 grams in a single day. This appetizer (we repeat: appetizer!) delivers triple the total fat and four times the trans fat in an all-out arterial assault. (Speaking of creatures from the fat lagoon, click here to discover the startling reason why Tilapia is Worse Than Bacon.)
￼Eat This Instead: Arancini
433 calories, 22g fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 2,439mg sodium
2700 calories, 130g fat, 76g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1820mg sodium
Fat equivalent: More than 31 pats of butter!
A giant cookie with a giant scoop of ice cream on top, this is an unjust dessert no matter how many people you might share it with. The insane levels of fat are made worse by an even crazier 244 grams of sugar. That’s more than what you’d find in 81 Hershey’s Kisses and nearly 10 times the World Health Organization’s daily recommendation. Satisfy your sweet tooth guilt-free with the definitive Eat This, Not That! rankings of The 50 Best Snack Foods in America.
Eat This Instead: Mini Hot Chocolate Brownie Sundae
320 calories, 16g fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 170mg sodium
1980 calories, 134g fat, 71g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 3110mg sodium
Fat equivalent: More than 28 thick-cut slices of bacon!
Consider that a serving of neon-orange Kraft Macaroni & Cheese made with milk and margarine is about 400 calories and 19 grams of fat, and ou’d have to eat that for dinner for five straight days just to equal Uno’s fat and calorie counts. (Note: This dish contains three and a half days’ worth of saturated fat.) If you hanker for a hunk of cheese, the Baked Stuffed Spinoccoli is a chicken dish filled with feta, mozzarella, vegetables and flavorful spices that saves you nearly 110 grams of fat.
Eat This Instead: Baked Stuffed Spinoccoli with Whole Grain Brown Rice and Roasted Seasonal Vegetable Side Dishes
620 calories, 24.5g fat, 7.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1,700mg sodium
1800 calories, 135g fat, 46g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 3990mg sodium
Fat equivalent: 54 Kraft 2 Percent Milk American Cheese slices!
This is a Mexican food, but in English, “bacon ranch beef quesadilla” roughly translates to “fatty fat fat-fat.” Bacon and beef are self-explanatory; ranch dressing is fat-based; and quesadillas have a double hit of the stuff, from both the cheese and the flour tortilla. Safer options at Chili’s can be found on their Southwest Pairings menu. (Speaking of pairings, warm up this winter with one of our 10 Libido-Lifting Foods.)
Eat This Instead: Southwest Pairings Crispy Beef Taco with Rice, Black Beans and a Honey Lime Vinaigrette House Salad
760 calories, 34.5g fat, 10.5 saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 2,800mg sodium
1900 calories, 138g fat, 35g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5760mg sodium
Fat equivalent: 15 scoops of Baskin Robbins Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream!
The results of stuffing anything with a firecracker are self-evident—or will be once you step on a scale. To prevent the explosion, pass up these flying fingers of fat and stick with the heart-healthy guac.
Eat This Instead: Chips and Salsa with a Side of Guacamole
485 calories, 26g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 550mg sodium
2333 calories, 146g fat, 51g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 4236mg sodium
Fat equivalent: Over 4 cups of Tostitos Spinach Dip!
We’re not sure what the “Things” are, but we know they’re not good. This app launches your evening with more than a day’s worth of calories, and more than two day’s worth of fat and sodium. Oh, and you haven’t even ordered dinner yet. (“Things” aren’t the grossest food you may be eating. That’d be a “natural” flavoring made from the tail-end of a, well, find out in our 8 Ingredients You Never Want to See on Your Nutrition Label.)
Eat This Instead: Bruschetta
619 calories, 44g fat, 17g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 822mg sodium
2240 calories, 155g fat, 32g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 3980mg sodium
Fat equivalent: More than three bottles of Coffee-Mate Girl Scouts Thin Mint Creamer!
Run from the Border. Even the World’s Most Interesting Man wouldn’t have the nerve to enjoy Dos XX in the form of these fish tacos. He’d probably opt to save 145 grams of fat by ordering the Chicken Fajitas. (See where your favorite brew ranks in our headline-making list of the Best and Worst Beers.)
Eat This Instead: Chicken Fajitas
320 calories, 14g fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 770mg sodium
1919 calories 155.2g fat, 53.1g saturated fat, 3.5g trans fat, 4507mg sodium
Fat equivalent: 13 regular sized Snickers bars!
Pairing this appetizer with a main dish at Outback will likely fill you up with five to six days’ worth of fat. It’s true, Outback says this is an “Aussie-tizer to share,” but there are only half a dozen wings in an order. Even if you split them with your date, you’re still getting more fat than you should eat in a whole day—before dinner comes.
Eat This Instead: Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
481 calories, 43.5g fat, 23.7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 871mg sodium
2300 calories, 164g fat, 53g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 4910mg sodium
Fat equivalent: 4.5 Whoppers!
As a general rule, “personal pies” are like “personal ads”—they’re places you go when you want to get into trouble. Nowhere is that more true than at Uno, where even their “individual” sizes are far better shared. No wonder Uno’s makes our all-new list of The Best and Worst Pizzas in America.
Eat This Instead: Roasted Eggplant, Spinach and Feta Traditional Crust Flatbread
880 calories, 32g fat, 11g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1,500mg sodium
2097 calories, 176.5g fat, 50.9g saturated fat, 3.9g trans fat, 4357mg sodium
Fat equivalent: Almost 8.5 slices of Domino’s Brooklyn-Style Buffalo Chicken pizza!
It should really be called the Wiltin’ Onion for its two-and-a-half shotglasses worth of oils, primarily the inflammation-promoting omega-6 type. Even if—even if—you share this meal with three friends, each of you is getting about a day’s worth of fat and nearly as many calories as a Big Mac.
Eat This Instead: Coconut Shrimp
614 calories, 34.5g fat 18.3g saturated fat, 1.6g trans fat, 1,241mg sodium
Which one dish has as much sodium as 44 individual bags of Doritos Cool Ranch Tortilla Chips? Take control of your health by clicking on this mind-blowing list of the 10 Saltiest Foods in America.
SAVE $$$ AND CALORIES NOW! For the latest food swaps and weight-loss tips, sign up for the free newsletter from Eat This, Not That! full of diet tricks, menu hacks, and easy ways to a healthier, happier you.