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20 Restaurant Desserts With More Salt Than a Bag of Pretzels

If you're worried about sodium, a bag of salty snacks is sort of like a bad boyfriend: Certain to raise your blood pressure, but oh-so-hard to resist.

Still, at least you can see the danger coming; it's not like you can date a bad boy and then act surprised when he breaks your heart. Same thing for salty foods. From fries to pretzels to chips to pepperoni pizza, you know what you're bargaining for: a different kind of broken heart. Americans who eat a diet high in sodium and low in its healthful doppelganger, potassium, have about twice the risk of death from heart disease, according to the CDC.

But salt is sneakier than you think, and it's easy to eat far too much without even knowing it: for example, by ordering dessert. At many restaurants, finishing up dinner with a typical dessert can be like going on a road trip with Sarah Silverman; it's fun, sure, but it's going to be really, really salty.

In fact, there's so much hidden sodium that certain municipalities such as New York City will soon be requiring restaurants to use a scary label to delineate dishes that contain more than 2,300 milligrams of the stuff: a little white salt shaker surrounded by a dangerous-looking black triangle. Given that 2,300 milligrams is the most any person should consume in a single day, it's good to know when we're eating a food that could cause us to run outside and try to drink a swimming pool. To figure out where the sodium is hiding, the editors of Eat This, Not That dug into some popular desserts and discovered these offerings, all of which have more 450 mg of sodium–that's more salt than a bag of pretzels.

Olive Garden's Lemon Cream Cake

Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake

560 calories, 32 g fat (16 g saturated fat), 730 mg sodium, 59 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 42 g sugar, 7 g protein

Even though Olive Garden's pasta dishes pack a staggering average of 2,007 mg of sodium per plate, the chain found yet another way to get excess sodium into your diet. This seemingly plain white cake is stuffed with a lemon cream filling and, apparently, lots of the white stuff. Finishing this slice will set your sodium levels back more than a cheeseburger at McDonalds.

Applebee's Butter Pecan Blondie

Applebees Butter Pecan Blondie

1,180 calories, 62 g fat (32 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 950 mg sodium, 139 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 88 g sugar, 18 g protein

Much like Amy Schumer, this nutty blondie is pretty salty as well. Famous for their sizzling entrees, Applebee's has carried over the trend to their desserts, but don't be mesmerized by the popping sound of the presentation. This dessert is layered with glazed pecans, ice cream and all topped off by a cream cheese sauce that will have your heart going nuts.

Ruby Tuesday's New York Cheesecake

Ruby Tuesday New York Cheesecake

783 calories, 60 g fat (n/a g saturated fat), 744 mg sodium, 96 g carbs, 3 g fiber, n/a sugar, 14 g protein

The amount of sodium in this cheesecake could stop your heart in a New York minute. Thick, rich and creamy, this cheesecake also boasts 60 grams of fat, so be sure to check out 42 Ways to Lose 5 Inches of Belly Fat.

Red Lobster's Chocolate Wave

Red Lobster Chocolate Wave

1,490 calories, 81 g fat (25 g saturated fat, 13 g trans fat), 950 mg sodium, 172 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 93 g sugar, 16 g protein

Not only is the level of sodium in this cake higher than the Double Whopper at Burger King, this single slice of chocolate cake has more fat that you're recommended to consume in a day.

TGIFriday's Tennessee Whiskey Cake

TGI Fridays Tennessee Whiskey Cake

1,110 calories, 52 g fat (26 g saturated fat), 630 mg sodium, 151 g carbs, 4 g fiber, n/a sugar, 12 g protein

TGIFriday's may come to mind when you think cheap drinks for a night out, and you'll certainly need a couple shots of whiskey before you start thinking this toffee cake is good for you. Served with glazed pecans, vanilla ice cream, and all topped off with a butterscotch Jack Daniel's Whiskey sauce, tacking on 1,110 calories after dinner is just another way to pack on the pounds.

Jack in the Box's Large Peppermint & Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Shake

Jack in the Box Large Peppermint and Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Shake

(24 fl. oz.) 1,245 calories, 62 g fat (41 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 534 mg sodium, 161 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 129 g sugar, 17 g protein

This shake is full of high fructose corn syrup, whether it be in the peppermint syrup, Oreo cookies or the ice cream blend. HFCS is a highly processed form of glucose that has been converted into fructose. Introducing HFCS to sodas and beverages like this shake causes caloric overconsumption since energy obtained from fluids has been shown to be less satisfying than calories from solid foods, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Friendly's Hunka Chunka PB Fudge Lava Cake Sundae

Friendlys Hunka Chunka PB Fudge Sundae

1,142 calories, 75 g fat (29 g saturated fat), 491 mg sodium, 100 g carbs, 69 g sugar, 6 g fiber, 21 g protein

This Hunka Chunka PB Fudge ice cream is sure to make you feel extra chunky with its peanut butter topping, hot fudge, 1,142 calories and 75 grams of fat. If you're hankering for this hunka chunka, be sure to read up on 30 Things to Do 30 Minutes Before Bed to Lose Weight–you'll need it.

California Pizza Kitchen's Salted Caramel Pudding

California Pizza Kitchen Salted Caramel Pudding

530 calories, 34 g fat (20 g saturated fat), 745 mg sodium, 51 g carbs, 40 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 5 g protein

The proof is in the pudding–but don't eat this one to figure it out. CPK doesn't list their ingredients online, but we figure the name of the dessert makes it pretty obvious that there's salt in this dish, and lots of it.

DQ's Large Oreo Cookies Blizzard Treat

DQ's Oreo Cookies Blizzard Treat

1,140 calories, 44 g fat (31 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 670 mg sodium, 165 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 121 g sugar, 22 g protein

Duke University researchers discovered that people subconsciously pick the middle option, but even the medium of this Oreo Cookies Blizzard still has 480 mg of sodium. You'll have to order a small of this Oreo Cookie Blizzard if you want a reasonable amount of sodium. Besides the fact that chains increase the number of ounces in all of their beverages so they can charge more for their "medium," find out more Things Fast Food Chains Don't Want You to Know.

Ruby Tuesday's Apple Crumble Flatbread

Ruby Tuesday Apple Crumble Flatbread

1,282 calories, 56 g fat (n/a g saturated fat), 898 mg sodium, 183 g carbs, 4 g fiber, n/a sugar, 15 g protein

More components mean more ways to sneak sodium into your dessert, and this one has six: apples, flatbread, oatmeal crumble, sweet caramel, powdered sugar and vanilla bean ice cream. Instead of eating your apple a day in this salty dessert, grab a plain, old apple—one of the most low-calorie, nutrient dense sources of fiber, which studies have proven to be integral to reducing visceral fat—along with other tips to speed up your metabolism.

Uno's Uno Deep Dish Sundae

Uno Deep Dish Sundae

1,350 calories, 65 g fat (38 g saturated fat), 910 mg sodium, 183 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 122 g sugar, 16 g protein

This deep dish sundae almost has as many ingredients as it does grams of fat, and that's way more than they need. One of those ingredients is sodium benzoate, which has been found to damage yeast cells' mitochondria, the "power station" of cells.

Red Lobster's Warm Chocolate Chip Lava Cookie

Red Lobster Warm Chocolate Chip Lava Cookie

1,070 calories, 51 g fat (23 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 470 mg sodium, 142 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 82 g sugar, 12 g protein

When you're a seafood restaurant, there's bound to be salt in your dishes; we just didn't think there would be as much in the desserts. What's worse? This cookie has trans fat, fats that can solidify in your body, leading to clogged arteries.

Sonic's Large Turtle Pecan Master Blast

Sonic Turtle Pecan Master Blast

1,830 calories, 105 g fat (64 g saturated fat), 1,970 mg sodium, 206 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 186 g sugar, 27 g protein

Yes, the large is excessive on all fronts (four days worth of your recommended saturated fat intake, over a day's worth of fat and just under your daily recommended intake for calories and sodium) but even Sonic's Mini (the smallest size they offer) of the Turtle Pecan Master Blast still has 610 mg of sodium. You know it's not health food, but you probably have no idea just how bad this is: with 186 grams of sugar, the large size packs more than 45 sugar cubes' worth.

Applebee's Triple Chocolate Meltdown

Applebees Triple Chocolate Meltdown

980 calories, 52 g fat (34 g saturated fat), 540 mg sodium, 125 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 54 g sugar, 15 g protein

Your body will be having a meltdown after eating this Triple Chocolate Meltdown. This dense cake is packed with 125 grams of carbs, and most likely ones that come from refined sugars and flours which can spike blood-sugar levels and stall weight loss. Instead of the bad guys, make sure you're getting the right complex carbs from the Best Carbs for Weight Loss.

Steak 'n Shake's Regular Salted Caramel Pretzel Specialty Milkshake

Steak n Shake Regular Salted Caramel Pretzel Specialty Milkshake

740 calories, 23 g fat (17 g saturated fat), 1,020 mg sodium, 122 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 109 g sugar, 17 g protein

Not only does this Steak 'n Shake milkshake use salted caramel syrup, it also blends in salty caramel pretzel pieces into the shake and then tops it with even more pretzel pieces! The layers of salty add-ons make it easily top the 1,000 mg sodium threshold.

Uno Grill's Bread Pudding with Salty Caramel Sauce

Uno Grill Bread Pudding with Salty Caramel Sauce

900 calories, 54 g fat (33 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 660 mg sodium, 93 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 54 g sugar, 16 g protein

We've warned you about the harmful health effects from consuming trans fat—a man-made fat now banned by the FDA because it's been shown to diminish memory and increase the risk of heart disease, weight gain, and stroke—but food companies found a way to sneak them into your food. The FDA requires labeling for trans fat only if it contains more than .49 g per serving, and only if it comes from triglycerides, which is why restaurants, like Uno, started using monoglycerides and diglycerides in their food so they aren't required to label the food as containing trans fats. We dont know what's worse, these additives or these 40 Most Horrifying Things Found in Food.

TGIFriday's Brownie Obsession

TGI Fridays Brownie Obsession

1,200 calories, 60 g fat (32 g saturated fat), 480 mg sodium, 153 g carbs, 4 g fiber, n/a sugar, 12 g protein

TGIFriday's went out of their way to get this dessert trademarked, but we don't know why they'd be so proud of a 1,200 calorie brownie sundae with almost two days worth of saturated fat.

California Pizza Kitchen's Butter Cake with Ice Cream

California Pizza Kitchen Butter Cake

1,380 calories, 92 g fat (56 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat), 700 mg sodium, 125 g carbs, 86 g sugar, 6 g fiber, 15 g protein

This small round of cake packs a huge punch of sodium, fat, and calories. It promises butter, and surely delivers on the fat front, with a gut-wrenching 92 grams.

Chili's Molten Chocolate Cake

Chilis Molten Chocolate Cake

1,180 calories, 62 g fat (32 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,100 mg sodium, 150 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 107 g sugar, 13 g protein

Chili's serves up some of the country's saltiest, fattiest, most calorie-laden fare, from fajitas to baby back ribs, but sodium bombs are hidden in sections of their menu where you'd never think to look: the dessert. This fan-favorite molten chocolate cake oozes out almost a milligram of sodium to each calorie of food.


Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is the Managing Editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more about Olivia