Finally hitting 40 comes with a lot of perks. You’ve mastered the arts of confidence and resilience, and you’re at your peak career- and family-wise. But what about health-wise? Sure, you can’t bounce back after a holiday binge or outrun your nephew like you did a decade ago, but staying slim and fit isn’t as hard as you may think.
Given, as you age, you’re more susceptible to certain ailments like heart disease, diabetes, and muscle loss, so we’ve curated a list of 40 foods you should absolutely steer clear of after 40. If you wish to prevent feeling older, ditch these sabotaging restaurant meals be sure not to guzzle anything down with these 40 Drinks You Should Never Drink After 40. For more healthy eating advice and tips on how to live well after 40, subscribe to the Eat This, Not That! magazine—for a limited time, you can get 50 percent off the cover price.
Because They’re… Bad for Your Heart
Heartbreakingly enough, the leading cause of death in America is heart disease. But making over your diet is actually a simple way to bypass a failing ticker. Make sure to start by avoiding the absurd amount of artery-clogging fats and blood-pressure-raising salt in the dishes below and opt for making these 22 Diet Changes For a Stronger Heart After 40 instead.
Buffalo Wild Wings Hickory Pulled Pork Sandwich
1,040 calories, 43 g fat (12 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 3,500 mg sodium, 122 g carbs (6 g fiber, 69 g sugar), 38 g protein
With 69 grams of sugar and even more staggering 3,500 milligrams of blood-pressure-raising sodium, you’re better off keeping this item as far away from your lips as possible.
Chipotle Chorizo Burrito
1,515 calories, 73 g fat (25.5 saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 3,040 mg sodium, 147 g carbs (23 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 66 g protein
We love Chipotle for its customizability and healthy options, but ordering a chorizo burrito with white rice, black beans, fajita veggies, roasted chili-corn salsa, romaine, sour cream, shredded cheese, and guac is probably the worst meal you can unwrap at the Mexican grill. Besides the ridiculous amount of saturated fat in this rollup, Chipotle’s burrito also manages to pack in a day and a half’s worth of sodium.
Outback Steakhouse Hand-Breaded Shrimp With Fries and Volcano Sauce
1,020 calories, 51 g fat (18 saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat), 3,790 mg sodium, 108 carbs (9 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 37 g protein
What happens when you combine battered and deep-fried shrimp with a generous helping of Outback’s french fries and spicy sauce? A meal that’ll cost you 51 grams of fat and almost 3,800 milligrams of sodium. Not to mention, this seafood nightmare also contains trans fat, a fat that has been connected to coronary heart disease and preventing heart attacks when consumed regularly.
Sonic Asian Sweet Chili Boneless Wings 12-Piece
1,060 calories, 49 g fat (19 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 3,930 mg sodium, 92 carbs (5 g fiber, 51 g sugar), 62 g protein
Succulent boneless wings sound like a good idea at happy hour, but not when they’re tainted with the salt equivalent of over 23 bags of Lay’s Originals.
Olive Garden Tour of Italy
1,520 calories, 96 g fat (48 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 3,250 mg sodium, 92 g carbs (6 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 75 g protein
Unless you’re planning to feast on Italian fare with a gallon of water beside you, don’t order this monstrosity. After ingesting 3,250 milligrams of sodium, you’re definitely going to be thankful for our report on 20 Ways To Beat The Bloat.
Quiznos 12-Inch Classic Italian
1,410 calories, 78 g fat (25 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 4,150 sodium, 117 g carbs (6 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 60 g protein
Quiznos combines a slew of cured meats like pepperoni, salami, capicola, and ham with mozzarella, black olives, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and red wine vinaigrette to create a sub that’s bound to leave you parched and regretful.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill Chicago Classic Deep Dish Individual Pizza
2,229 calories, 157 g fat (49 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 4,410 mg sodium, 112 g carbs (5 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 92 g protein
When you’re ordering an individual pie, you may think you’re doing a favor for your waistline by sticking to the suggested portion. But definitely not in this case. Uno’s Chicago Classic Deep Dish serves up about three days’ worth of heart-harming trans fat, and not to mention a sodium count well-deserving of a warning label. No wonder why we ranked this the worst restaurant pizza on the planet.
Steak N’ Shake 7×7 Steakburger
1,330 calories, 98 g fat (45g fat, 3.5 g trans fat), 4,490 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 74 g protein
No one needs a burger that’s stacked with seven whole patties, let alone a jaw-dropping 3.5 grams of trans fat and 4,490 milligrams of sodium.
PF Chang’s Hot & Sour Soup Bowl
Courtesy of Yelp/Sky Y.
460 calories, 13 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 9,590 mg sodium, 58 g carbs (5 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 27 g protein
We usually recommend pregaming your dinner with a filling bowl of soup to cut back on calories, but with PF Chang’s broth, you’ll be consuming the salt equivalent of 44 bags of Doritos Cool Ranch tortilla chips! Avoid this like the plague.
Buffalo Wild Wings Large Spicy Garlic Boneless Wings
1,630 calories, 89 g fat (31 g saturated fat), 7,620 mg sodium, 130 g carbs (12 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 77 g protein
If you wouldn’t crunch your way through four whole bags of Lay’s family-sized potato chips in one sitting, you shouldn’t lick your fingers clean of these spicy garlic wings, which are equally as sodium-ridden.
Bonefish Grill Ahi Tuna Poke
540 calories, 30 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 6,700 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (5 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 26 g protein
Bonefish Grill’s ahi tuna appetizer sounds like an ideal start to your meal, given its solid amount of protein and fiber. But one look at the sodium count should warn you to steer very clear.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill Spaghetti With Sausage & Whole Gluten-Free Pasta
1,080 calories, 36 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 6,430 mg sodium, 157 g carbs (18 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 43 g protein
Whole wheat gluten-free pasta sounds like a diet-friendly replacement for traditional noodles, but with almost 6,500 milligrams of salt, 1,080 calories, and 12 grams of saturated fat, we’re hoping Carrabba’s slashes this hearty dish off its menu.
PF Chang’s Salt and Pepper Calamari
750 calories, 40 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 6,400 mg sodium, 72 g carbs (2 g fiber, 24 g sugar), 26 g protein
One glance at the name of this appetizer should fill you in that PF Chang’s calamari is going to be a blood pressure-raising disaster. And the sodium count definitely justifies it.
Applebee’s Salsa Verde Beef Nachos
1,750 calories, 117 g fat (50 g saturated fat), 6,050 mg sodium, 107 g carbs (8 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 70 g protein
Before you even get to sticking your fork into your entree, Applebee’s beefy nachos starter will nearly break your daily calorie budget and parch you with almost three days’ worth of sodium. If you’re hitting up your neighborhood bar and grill, make sure to review our report on the 10 Best and Worst Dishes at Applebee’s.
Applebee’s New England Fish & Chips
1,990 calories, 137 g fat (24 g saturated fat), 4,540 mg sodium, 134 g carbs (10 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 55 g protein
Besides boasting nearly 2,000 calories, this deep-fried fish and fry platter has enough salt to fill two whole teaspoons! No wonder why we deemed it one of the 20 Saltiest Restaurant Meals On The Planet.
Bob Evans Country-Fried Steak & Eggs
With Sausage Gravy, Grits, 2 Biscuits
1,500 calories, 102 g fat (37 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat), 2,880 mg sodium, 105 g carbs (6 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 42 protein
For a dish filled with salty meats and eggs, the incredulous sodium count makes sense.
Bonefish Grill Large Mussels Josephine
1,698 calories, 120 g fat, 58 g saturated fat, 3 g trans fat, 4,418 mg sodium, 43 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 83 g protein
Mussels have the potential to be one of the most low-cal proteins on the planet, but when they’re doused in an oily lemon wine sauce, they’re transformed into a dish that anyone who is remotely health-conscious shouldn’t ever consider.
California Pizza Kitchen Thin Crust Meat Cravers Pizza
1,590 calories, 76 g fat (32 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 4,620 mg sodium, 132 g carbs, 8 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 94 g protein
With those nutritionals, there’s no way CPK is getting our blessing for this meat lovers’ nightmare. This pitiful pie packs in more salt than 33 slices of bacon and more carbs than eight slices of white bread!
Denny’s Slow-Cooked Pot Roast
1,390 calories, 37 g fat, (19 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 4,710 mg sodium, 166 g carbs (13 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 65 g protein
Brimming with veggies like herb-roasted carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onions, one would think this pot roast is chock full of all the good stuff. Unfortunately, it’s tainted with trans fat and an unbelievable amount of sodium instead.
IHOP Appetizer Sampler
1,610 calories, 87 g fat (21 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 3,380 mg sodium, 146 g carbs (10 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 61 g protein
Even when this generous appetizer sampler is shared, it has a hard time not breaking anyone’s calorie, fat, and sodium bank. Skip the “monster” mozzarella sticks, onion rings, and chicken strips. Please!
PF Chang’s Walnut Shrimp with Melon
1,420 calories, 113 g fat (18 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 1,390 mg sodium, 69 g carbs (13 g fiber, 47 g sugar), 33 g protein
Shrimp, melon, and walnuts sound like a low-cal combo. Instead, this Asian dish is a nutritional nightmare.
Red Lobster Bar Harbor Lobster Bake
1,850 calories, 112 g fat (40 saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 3,810 mg sodium, 115 g carbs, (9 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 90 g protein
Want to zap your hard-earned abs away? Just order this massive plate of roasted lobster tail, shrimp, sea scallops, and mussels drenched in an oily garlic and white wine sauce next time you hit up Red Lobster.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill Buffalo Chicken Parmesan
2,170 calories, 153 g fat (63 g saturated fat, 3 g trans fat), 4,640 mg sodium, 110 g carbs (7 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 90 g protein
Gobbling up two times the daily recommended amount of salt and 2.4 times the daily recommended intake of saturated fat is as easy as ordering this pasta and cheese-ridden plate.
T.G.I. Fridays Jack Daniel’s Ribs & Shrimp
1,790 calories, 78 g fat (26 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fats), 4,000 mg sodium,197 g carbs (9 g fiber, N/A g sugar), 81 g protein
If you’d munch on four McDonald’s cheeseburgers instead of this whiskey-infused meal, you’d be saving yourself 1,280 less milligrams of salt.
Ruby Tuesday Cajun Jambalaya Pasta
1,523 calories, 102 g fat (N/A saturated fat, N/A trans fat), 4,451 mg sodium, 85 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 54 g protein
Cream sauce-topped shrimp, chicken, and andouille sausage sounds like a seriously dreamy cheat meal. But is it really worth it to sabotage your weight loss wins for a carby cajun dish packed with over 1,500 calories and enough sodium to spike your blood pressure? We don’t think so.
Because They’re… Bad for Your Blood Sugar
According to the UF Diabetes Institute, Type 2 diabetes—the most common type—generally affects people over 40. “It’s important that we’re eating consistently for blood-sugar balancing which is really the key [to staying fit in your forties]. The fat that tends to collect around the midsection is all about blood sugar and cortisol levels,” says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition. Start stabilizing your system by steering clear of these nauseatingly sweet offerings.
Applebee’s Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad
1,280 calories, 74 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 2,020 mg sodium, 108 g carbs (11 g fiber, 65 g sugar), 49 g protein
Ordering up a grilled chicken salad seems like a wise decision when it comes to your waistline, but not at Applebee’s. This Asian-inspired bowl packs in a whopping 65 grams of sugar, which means you’re better off chomping on the Classic Burger.
Friendly’s Red, White, and Blue Pancakes
890-1,120 calories, 10 g fat (n/a g saturated fat, n/a g trans fat), 830 mg sodium, 170 g carbs (10 g fiber, 100 g sugar), 10 g protein
These all-American blueberry pancakes adorned with a strawberry topping, whipped cream, and powdered sugar are definitely not worth cracking the fireworks for, considering they’re injected with 100 grams of the sweet stuff!
Sonic Honey BBQ Boneless Wings, 12-Piece
1,040 calories, 49 g fat (19 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 3,510 mg sodium, 90 g carbs (5 g fiber, 53 g sugar), 60 g protein
The 53 grams of sugar hidden in these boneless bad boys surely doesn’t justify the “touch of honey” Sonic claims to add to its wing sauce.
Friendly’s Cinnamon Bun Pancakes With Pancake Syrup
1,470 – 1,690 calories, 50 g fat (10 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 840 mg sodium, 230 g carbs (n/a g fiber, 150 g sugar), 10 g protein
Friendly’s dessert-inspired flapjacks aren’t so friendly for your waistline or diabetes risk. Ordering this breakfast will cost you a whopping 150 grams of sugar, which is about three times the sugar the FDA recommends you eat in a day.
T.G.I. Friday’s BBQ’n Burger
1,160 calories, 74 g fat (32 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 3,560 mg sodium, 77 g carbs (4 g fiber, 31 g sugar), 49 g sugar
There’s a lot more hiding in this burger besides a beefy patty and two buns. The barbeque sauces, spicy Jack cheese, hickory-smoked bacon, and Cajun-spiced onion strings all contribute to some seriously body-harming macros, not to mention 49 grams of the sweet stuff. You’re better off skipping Fridays’ fix-ins and opting for these best burgers for weight loss.
P.F. Chang’s Spicy Chicken
960 calories, 35 g fat (6 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 1,500 mg sodium, 102 g carbs (0 g fiber, 90 g sugar), 61 g protein
When ordering a chicken dish, you probably expect it to be packed with protein rather than sugar. Unfortunately, this dish is the complete opposite, with nearly 30 more grams of sugar than protein.
Bonefish Grill Shrimp Pad Thai
970 calories, 18 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 4,780 mg sodium, 161 g carbs ( 6 fiber, 64 g sugar), 40 g protein
As a noodle lover, it might be hard to turn down a sweet and savory Pad Thai—unless it’s loaded with 970 calories and 64 grams of sugar like Bonefish Grill’s rendition.
Panera Bread Cinnamon Crunch Bagel
430 calories, 7 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 380 mg sodium, 82 g carbs (2 g fiber, 32 g sugar), 10 g protein
If you’re conscious of your weight and overall health, ordering a bagel isn’t a wise choice—especially if it’s Panera’s Cinnamon Crunch bagel. Biting into this donut-like treat will cost you 32 grams of sugar, which is just not worth it.
California Pizza Kitchen Jamaican Jerk Chicken Thin Crust Pizza
1,320 calories, 42 g fat (18 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 3,930 mg sodium, 162 g carbs (6 g fiber, 36 g sugar), 72 g protein
Don’t let the thin crust fool you—this pizza is seriously far from being a healthy option. The fat, sodium, and sugar counts simply cannot justify these slim slices.
Sonic Large Peanut Butter Fudge Shake
1,940 calories, 122 g fat (62 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 1,080 mg sodium, 193 g carbs (2 g fiber, 165 g sugar), 30 g protein
Peanut butter is one of our favorite weight loss foods, but when it mingles with fudge in Sonic’s large milkshake, it becomes an absolute diet disaster. This supersized bev manages to pack in the amount of sugar as six Snickers bars!
Jack In The Box Chicken Teriyaki Bowl
690 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,470 mg sodium, 133 g carbs (5 g fiber, 36 g sugar), 27 protein
Ordering a chicken bowl usually means you can bypass the extra carbs found in bread or a tortilla. In this case, the absurd amount of sugar should warn you to stay away if you’d like to stay slim.
Maggiano’s Rustic Chicken & Shrimp Al Forno
1,810 calories, 93 g fat (41 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat), 4,800 mg sodium, 131 g carbs (5 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 115 g protein
This protein-packed meal packs in more than a day’s worth of trans fat and more sugar than Dunkin Donuts’ incredibly sweet pumpkin donut. Pass!
Because They… Don’t Encourage Muscle Maintenance
If you’re regularly exercising, you’re already a step ahead in maintaining hard-earned muscles. But you may be sabotaging those abs if you’re not refueling with enough protein. “It’s important to make sure we have 20 to 30 grams of protein at every meal. That’s ideal to help keep that muscle mass strong,” says Jessica Crandall, a Denver-based RD, Certified Diabetes Educator, and National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. These meals definitely don’t fit the bill.
Friendly’s Belgian Waffle
480-590 calories, 10 g fat (0 saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 350 mg sodium, 90 g carbs (0 g fiber, 50 g sugar), 0 protein
With 50 grams of sugar, this fluffy breakfast waffle should at least offer some muscle-building protein to keep you full. Skip this carb-laden a.m. meal and choose some of these best breakfast foods for weight loss instead.
Panera Bread Kitchen Sink Cookie
800 calories, 43 g fat (27 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 760 mg sodium, 98 g carbs (5 g fiber, 56 g sugar), 8 g protein
One cookie shouldn’t cost you 800 calories, 43 grams of fat, one gram of trans fat, and a jaw-dropping 56 grams of sugar—the equivalent of about 12 Oreos.
Steak N’ Shake Full Order Sausage Gravy and Biscuits
1,070 calories, 74 g fat (43 saturated fat, 8 g trans fat), 3,140 g sodium, 86 g carbs (2 g fiber, 7 g sugar) 13 g protein
Besides this Southern dish being tainted with eight days’ worth of trans fat (the worst fat of its kind), it’s fiber and protein count are the most measly of them all. If you’re ingesting over 1,000 calories, we’d expect there would be a bit more protein to keep you satiated.