Worst Foods in America, 2010

By The Associated Press

When we published our first edition of Eat This, Not That: Worst Foods in America back in 2007, we made a lot of restaurant chains very unhappy. But we also made a lot of their attorneys really, really happy, as they soon began earning massive legal fees sending us saber-rattling correspondences on behalf of the food marketers they represented.

As 2010 draws to a close, it’s time for another walk down the Hall of Restaurant Shame. And we’re sorry to say that, despite the fact that more than 6 million Americans have begun using Eat This, Not That! as their weapon of choice against bad-for-you food and the restaurants that proffer it, the restaurants themselves still haven’t gotten the message. This year brought perhaps the craziest, most calorically damaging menu items we’ve ever seen. In fact, you should not attempt to eat a single thing on this list unless you are sharing it with at least three other people—because each of these “individual servings” include a full day (or more) worth of calories. (You can see our complete—and completely shocking—list of The 20 Worst Foods of 2010 here.)

Oh, and P.S.: Hey, restaurant attorneys. Merry Christmas!

Worst Chinese Entrée
PF Chang’s Double Pan-Fried Noodles Combo (served with beef, pork, chicken, and shrimp)
1,820 calories
84 g fat (8 g saturated)
7,692 mg sodium

The human body needs about 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day to function properly. Anything beyond that could be unnecessary, and possibly put your health at risk. And sure, Chinese food is notorious for its high salt content, but few dishes we’ve seen come anywhere close to this number. It packs enough of the white stuff to meet your body’s needs for an entire week! And the rest of PF Chang’s menu isn’t much better. Stick with the Hong Kong Beef and plan to avoid the saltshaker for the next couple meals. (Or pick up the new Cook This, Not That! Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals and save money and time while losing weight faster than ever.)

Eat This Instead!
Hong Kong Beef with Snow Peas
620 calories
28 g fat (6 g saturated)
1,852 mg sodium

Bonus Tip: Hidden salt bombs are everywhere. Don’t miss this indispensible slideshow of The 30 Saltiest Foods in America.

Worst Mexican Entrée
Baja Fresh Charbroiled Steak Nachos
2,120 calories
118 g fat (44 g saturated, 4.5 g trans)
2,990 mg sodium

If the full day of calories in this entree doesn’t ruin any of your weight-loss goals, then the 2 days of saturated fat almost certainly will. But if all that saturated fat doesn’t wipe out your waistline, then the 2 days of trans fat surely will. If the trans fat doesn’t wreak total havoc . . . you get the point. Fact is, you could eat eight steak tacos and still take in fewer calories than what’s found in this plate of cheesy chips. Stick to two tacos and save nearly half a pound of body fat in one sitting.

Eat This Instead!
2 Original Baja Steak Tacos
460 calories
16 g fat (4 g saturated, 0 g trans)
520 mg sodium

Bonus Tip: Hungry for more hard-hitting nutrition facts, findings, and advice delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for the free Eat This, Not That! newsletter, or simply follow me right here on Twitter! You’ll get insights like: The word “muffin” was invented so people wouldn’t feel guilty about eating cake for breakfast.)

Worst Pizza
Uno Chicago Grill’s Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza (individual size)
2,310 calories
165 g fat (54 g saturated)
4,920 mg sodium

Congratulations, Uno! You lose! Again! In all the years we’ve been putting this annual list together, this caloric calamity has never budged—it’s the worst pizza, year after year. There’s simply no competition for this crusty, cheesy nightmare. With a day’s worth of calories, more than 2 days’ worth of sodium, and nearly 3 days’ worth of fat, they should call it the Classic Deep Doo-Doo pizza. Because that’s where your diet will be if you eat it.

Eat This Instead!
Cheese & Tomato Thin Crust Pizza (1/2 pizza)
420 calories
16.5 g fat (7.5 g saturated)
885 mg sodium

Worst Breakfast
IHOP Big Country Breakfast with Chicken Fried Steak & Country Gravy
2,440 calories
145 g fat (56 g saturated)
210 g carbohydrates
5,520 mg sodium

Here’s the anatomy of a breakfast disaster: Take a 12-ounce steak, bread it, fry it, and then cover it with gravy. Then, on the side, drop three eggs and three buttermilk pancakes. Does it not occur to IHOP that this is actually three full meals that would weigh in at more than 800 calories apiece?

Eat This Instead!
Simple & Fit Turkey Bacon Omlette
420 calories
21 g fat (10 g saturated)
730 mg sodium
24 g carbohydrates

Bonus Tip: Remember the old saying “Milk: not just for breakfast anymore.” Well, here are 20 foods that shouldn’t be for breakfast, period. Check out this eye-popping list of the Worst Breakfasts in America!

The Worst Food in America
Cheesecake Factory’s Bistro Shrimp Pasta
2,730 calories
78 g saturated fat
919 mg sodium
141 g carbohydrates

No restaurant chain exemplifies America’s portion problem more than Cheesecake Factory, where the average sandwich contains nearly 1,400 calories—more than three full meals. But the Factory doesn’t stop at elephantine portion sizes; combine that with heavy-handed application of cheap cooking fats and the result are dishes like the 2,580-calorie Chicken and Biscuits and the 2,460-calorie French Toast Napoleon. However, it’s this relatively healthy-sounding plate of shrimp pasta that earns this year’s Worst Food in America crown from Eat This, Not That!, delivering to your system more saturated fat than you’d find in three packages of Oscar Mayer Center Cut Bacon and as many carbs as you’d slurp down from 1½ cases of Amstel Light. Gross.

Eat This Instead!
Fresh Grilled Mahi Mahi
240 calories
1 g saturated fat
364 mg sodium
2 g carbohydrates