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The #1 Unhealthiest Dish at 8 Steakhouse Chains, According to Dietitians

RDs say to steer clear of these dishes from steakhouses like Outback, Longhorn, and Ruth's Chris.
FACT CHECKED BY Samantha Boesch

If you're feeling a bit fancier on your night out and want to treat yourself to a traditional steak dinner, many will look toward established chains such as Longhorn or Outback to slake their carnivorous needs. America's steakhouse chains range pretty widely when it comes to both menu offerings and even prices, with certain premier steakhouses such as Ruth's Chris charging $116 for a porterhouse steak (to be fair, this porterhouse is a whopping 40 ounces).

If you've been to a chain steakhouse before, you usually know exactly what to expect, no matter if you're ordering a classic cut and baked potato, or if you're a rebel who prefers a good pasta dish. Either way, in many cases, you can expect that delicious pre-meal bread, fruity drinks, and a meal with good old-fashioned meat and two vegetables that's the backbone of so much American cuisine. The thing is, steakhouses—like any chain restaurant—come with their nutritional foibles. With loads of butter, salt, and toppings such as bacon bits or cheese, your calorie, sodium, and fat counts can steadily rise before your entree has even arrived.

Thanks to the FDA, 2018 marked the pivotal year when it was compulsory for all chain restaurants with 20 or more locations to share nutritional information. So, whether you like it or not, you'll see those calorie counts next to your Bloomin' Onion. That being said, calorie count isn't always the best indicator of what's "healthy."

Therefore, we've rounded up eight of the unhealthiest dishes at popular chain steakhouses to help you navigate book-length menus for those dishes that you probably want to avoid. Read on to learn more, then check out The #1 Healthiest Steak to Order at 8 Major Steakhouse Chains.

Texas Roadhouse: Ribeye 12oz & Ribs

Texas Roadhouse 12oz Ribeye steak & Ribs
Texas Roadhouse
Nutrition (Per order):
Calories: 1,150
Fat: 111 g (Saturated fat: 46 g)
Sodium: 2,040 mg
Carbs: 18 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 122 g

"The Texas-sized combo of 12 oz Ribeye & Ribs may be overdoing it," says Mackenzie Burgess, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. "Just this portion of meat alone contains 1,510 calories with a whopping 111 grams of fat (including 46 grams of saturated fat). That means 2/3 of the calories are solely derived from fat. Some research has shown excessive dietary fat, especially saturated fat, in the diet has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. For a more well-rounded meal, try ordering a smaller portion—like the 6 oz Sirloin Steak—and be sure to add a fiber-rich vegetable side like salad, green beans, or steamed broccoli."

 8 Dishes to Avoid at Texas Roadhouse

Outback Steakhouse: Bloomin' Onion

plate of the Outback Bloomin' Onion with sauce
Outback Steakhouse
Nutrition (Per order):
Calories: 1,620
Fat: 126 g (Saturated fat: 44 g)
Sodium: 4,140 mg
Carbs: 107 g (Fiber: 14 g, Sugar: 20 g)
Protein: 15 g

The Bloomin' Onion is a classic dish at Outback. And even though it is made with real onion, it isn't the best choice on the Outback menu.

"This appetizer contains 1,620 calories alone before you even get to your entrée," says Michelle Rauch MSc RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist for The Actors Fund. "More than half of the calories of the Bloomin Onion are from fats (70%)," she shares.

This appetizer also contains 4,140 milligrams of sodium, which doesn't even include the "Bloom" dipping sauce it is served with, which can have around 500 milligrams of sodium in a 2-ounce portion.

 10 Unhealthiest Menu Items at Outback Steakhouse

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse: Cowboy Ribeye

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse Cowboy Ribeye
Courtesy of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse
Nutrition (Per order):
Calories: 1,690
Fat: 147 g (Saturated fat: 67 g, Trans fat: 6 g)
Sodium: 1,180 mg
Carbs: 0 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g)
Protein: 92 g

Sure, Ruth's Chris' Cowboy Ribeye is filled with protein and doesn't contain any sugars or carbohydrates, which is in line with many Keto dietary lifestyles. However, this Cowboy Ribeye comes with a whopping 147 grams of fat, 67 grams of which are saturated and 6 grams of which are trans fats.

It's important to remember that a serving size of red meat equals about 3-4 ounces, and many of us, especially while dining out at a steakhouse, are eating far more than this in a single sitting. If you do order this dish, we recommend sharing it and ordering a healthy, veggie-filled side instead of grease-soaked fries.

 86 Unhealthiest Fast Foods On the Planet

Sizzler: BBQ Ribs (6 Bone)

plate of ribs with sauce
Vasiliy Budarin/iStock
Nutrition (Per order):
Calories: 1,870
Fat: 145 g (Saturated fat: 50 g)
Sodium: 20,050 mg
Carbs: 32 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 19 g)
Protein: 118 g

We'll give you a moment to digest this one (not literally, please). Yep, you read that right: 20,050 milligrams of sodium. In fact, per the Sizzler website, each of Sizzler's rib options contains at least 19,500 milligrams of sodium, an astronomical amount that we can't, in good conscience, advise you to eat.

At over 10 times the recommended sodium levels, Sizzler's 6 Bone Ribs is clearly not the best choice. Remember that excess sodium intake is a direct cause of deadly health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke—so be vigilant about what you're consuming.

The Capital Grille: Signature Cheeseburger

The Capital Grille Signature Cheeseburger
The Capital Grille/Facebook
Nutrition (Per order):
Calories: 940
Fat: 58 g (Saturated fat: 30 g)
Sodium: 1,750 mg
Carbs: 58 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 20 g)
Protein: 49 g

"The Capital Grille's Signature Cheeseburger is one of the more unhealthy choices on their menu," shares Michelle Rauch MSc RDN. "Total sodium for the burger without any modification from the menu is 1,750 milligrams, which is just over 75% of the daily recommended amount of sodium as recommended by The American Heart Association (2,300 milligrams) for most Americans, and 116% of the recommended amount for those which such medical conditions as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart or kidney disease," she adds.

The good news is that this restaurant has some delicious better-for-you menu options.

 9 Steakhouse Chains With the Best Lunch Specials

Claim Jumper: Chicken Pot Pie

claim jumper pot pie
Claim Jumper/Facebook
Nutrition (Per order):
Calories: 2,120
Fat: 140 g (Saturated fat: 30 g)
Sodium: 3,550 mg
Carbs: 170 g (Fiber: 10 g, Sugar: 20 g)
Protein: 40 g

We typically don't think of a chicken pot pie as a health food. And looking at the nutritional information of this dish is pretty on par with that opinion. "The Chicken Pot Pie at Claim Jumper is considered one of the unhealthiest dishes due to its high calorie and fat content," says Alyssa Simpson RDN, CGN, CLT, owner of Nutrition Resolution in Phoenix, AZ. "Typically made with a buttery pastry crust and a creamy filling rich in butter and heavy cream, [this dish] provides a whopping 2,120 calories and contains over 140 grams of fat."

Additionally, like many other unhealthy items on our list, this Chicken Pot Pie contains a staggeringly high sodium count—3,550 milligrams—which Simpson notes can "[contribute] to weight gain and potential health issues when consumed regularly." We say keep this comfort food for very special occasions only.

Logan's Roadhouse: Beer-Battered Onion Rings

Logan's Roadhouse Beer Battered Onion Rings
Logan's Roadhouse
Nutrition (Per order):
Calories: 1,410
Fat: 124 g (Saturated fat: 20g)
Sodium: 4,177 mg
Carbs: 66g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 12 g)
Protein: 11 g

Logan's Roadhouse Beer-Battered Onion Rings are a prime example that the highest calorie count doesn't always equal the unhealthiest option. Although there are a few other dishes on their menu that have higher calories—think of the wonderfully named Loganoff Stroganoff—this appetizer offers hardly any vegetables (except onions) and lower protein counts.

Made with a Miller-Lite batter and served with Petal sauce, these onion rings provide no substantial nutrition but do provide a whopping 20 grams of saturated fat (the AHA recommends only 13 grams per day), and twice the daily recommended amount of sodium. Even mozzarella sticks are a better option for many, and hey, at least mozzarella provides much-needed calcium.

 Texas Roadhouse vs. Logan's Roadhouse: 5 Major Differences

LongHorn Steakhouse: Texas Brisket Nachos

longhorn steakhouse outside
Nutrition (Per order):
Calories: 2,040
Fat: 130 g (Saturated fat: 45 g)
Sodium: 4,070 mg
Carbs: 149 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 11 g)
Protein: 64 g

Available at certain locations, the Texas Brisket Nachos are meant to be shared. But even so, this appetizer doesn't bring much to the table regarding nutrition. At over 2,000 calories – the average consumed calorie count per person per day—this dish contains 130 grams of fat, 45 grams of saturated, and 4,070 milligrams of sodium.

The American Heart Association recommends that the average healthy adult eats no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, with those experiencing hypertension aiming for a goal of only 1,500 milligrams per day. These nachos have nearly doubled the recommended amount. Consider "healthier" appetizers such as stuffed mushrooms or even wings—or, better yet, focus on the protein of your entree as well as a side of healthy, steamed veggies or a baked potato.

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren
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