Tuesday, April 13, 2010

7 Unhealthiest pasta dishes in America

This is an article I read on Yahoo! today, and I found it shocking. I thought I'd share with you all.

7 Unhealthiest Pasta Dishes in America

"I'm so confused," my friend Tania said recently. "Ten years ago I ate pasta all the time, because it was low-fat. Then five years ago I stopped eating pasta altogether, because it's high carb. Now they're saying pasta is actually good for me—again! What's the deal? Penne for your thoughts!"
I sympathized with her confusion. After all, the world is filled with diet "gurus" who want to seize on this study or that one and make absurd rules about what you should "never" eat or "always" eat. And no food has been so praised and demonized as pasta. (Remember "carbo-loading"?)

Fact is, pasta delivers a nice dose of quick energy for relatively few calories, and packs a bit of vitamins, minerals and fiber as well—especially if you opt for whole-wheat varieties. (Barilla has introduced a line of whole-wheat pastas that taste just like regular pasta—check them out.) But the humble stalk of spaghetti is neither a blessing nor a curse—it's a tool. Indeed, the best way to think of pasta is as a delivery system for other foods, be they good (think antioxidant-packed marinara sauce) or evil (fat-loaded carbonara). And that means a pasta-heavy diet could lead to a healthier you—or just a heavier you.

Our motto at Eat This, Not That! is that you can eat what you want and still lose weight—without dieting—by making smart food swaps no matter where you are. And that can be said about pasta dishes, as well—you just need to be aware of which platters fall within the realm of nutritional normalcy, and which ones are egregious mounds of calories and carbs. Below, see the seven worst pasta dishes in America—and what you should eat instead!
#7: Worst “Healthy” Pasta
Olive Garden Garlic Herb Chicken con Broccoli
960 calories
41 g fat (18 g saturated)
2,180 mg sodium

The flavor and fat both come from the garlic-infused cream sauce--which gives this dish a full day's worth of saturated fat and sodium! Fact is, any time you order a meat that comes with white sauce, you can cut hundreds of calories by asking to have it prepared with nutrient-rich marinara instead. Ultimately, sauce is what’ll make or break your pasta dish. Take the Venetian Apricot Chicken, for example. The apricot-citrus sauce covering the chicken is broth-based, which makes it more akin to soup than the oily concoctions you’re used to.

Bonus tip: As this plate proves, not all chicken dishes are healthy. See this eye-popping list of The 30 Worst Chicken Dishes in America for more outrageous examples.

Eat This Instead!
Venetian Apricot Chicken
380 calories
4 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
1,420 mg sodium
#6: Worst Tortellini
Fazoli’s Tortellini Robusto
1,020 calories
50 g fat (28 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
2,580 mg sodium

This meal relies on sausage, cream, and two cheeses to eat through half a day’s calories, 1 day’s sodium, and 1½ days’ worth of saturated fat. The only “oven baked” pasta from this chain that doesn’t have more than 700 calories is the Baked Spaghetti without meatballs. Steer clear of all else.

Eat This Instead!
Baked Spaghetti (without meatballs)
640 calories
22 g fat (12 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
1,340 mg sodium

#5: Worst Lasagna
Carrabba’s Lasagne
1,360 calories

Carrabba’s has a closed-door policy when it comes to the sources of the calories in their foods. We'll keep pushing for nutritional disclosure. If and when they open that door, expect to be shocked by how much fat is in this cheese-layered brick of beef and noodles. We predict it's at least two days' worth of saturated fat and sodium. Yuck.

Bonus tip: The 2,500-calorie appetizer. The 1,800-calorie kid's meal. The 960-calorie slice of pizza. The 2,000-calorie drink. Those are just a few of the dietary disasters to avoid on our list of The 20 Worst Restaurant Foods in America. (Sign up to follow me on Twitter. I'll let you know when I come across new gut-busting dishes, so you can run the other way!)

Eat This Instead!
640 calories
#4: Worst Cajun Pasta
T.G.I. Friday’s Cajun Shrimp & Chicken Pasta
1,420 calories

The “Cajun” flavoring here is actually seasoned butter, and the sauce is cream-and-cheese-infused Alfredo. That makes this the absolute worst pasta dish on the menu, and among the worst in the country. On the flipside, while we normally advocate against the mighty Alfredo, Friday’s Blackened Chicken Alfredo is the lightest Alfredo dish we’ve ever seen. Only two pasta plates on T.G.I. Friday’s menu have fewer than 900 calories—this one and the Garlic Chicken Primavera, which rings in at 560 calories.

Bonus tip: Not even the sandwiches at Friday’s are safe from caloric distortion. See The 30 Worst Sandwiches in America for a lineup of jaw-dropping examples. Then make the smarter choice a couple of times a week and strip away the belly fat fast!

Eat This Instead!
Blackened Chicken Alfredo
610 calories
#3: Worst Bread Bowl Pasta
Domino’s Chicken Carbonara Breadbowl Pasta
1,480 calories
56 g fat (24 g saturated, 1 g trans)
2,280 mg sodium
188 g carbohydrates

This tops our list of "Dumbest Ideas in Restaurant History." The bowl itself—before you fill in the pasta—carries 840 calories and a third of your day’s saturated fat. When eating at Domino’s, stick to what they do best—pizza. Anything else and you’re messing with a carbohydrate and caloric conundrum of epic proportions.

Bonus tip: For thousands of tips and tricks like this one, download Eat This, Not That! to your iPhone. It now lists more than 100,000 of your favorite foods. It’s like having your own personal nutritionist at your fingertips 24/7.

Eat This Instead!
Thin-Crust Ham and Pineapple Pizza (medium, 3 slices)
465 calories
21 g fat (7.5 g saturated)
720 mg sodium
#2: Worst Kids’ Pasta
Cheesecake Factory Kid’s Pasta with Alfredo Sauce
1,803 calories
87 g saturated fat
876 mg sodium
70 g carbohydrates

It’s bad enough to stick this much fat into an adult-size meal, but for a child? That ought to be deemed criminally negligent. This cream- and cheese-infused pasta bowl is bloated with--are you ready for this?-- MORE SATURATED FAT THAN AN ADULT SHOULD EAT IN FOUR DAYS, and more calories than you’d find in 40 Chicken McNuggets.

Bonus tip: Save calories, time, and money by signing up for our free Eat This, Not That! newsletter.

Eat This Instead!
Kid’s Pasta with Butter and Parmesan
510 calories
8 g saturated fat
198 mg sodium
70 g carbohydrates
#1: The Worst Pasta Dish in America
Cheesecake Factory Bistro Shrimp Pasta
2,819 calories
77 g saturated fat
1,008 mg sodium
184 g carbohydrates

How would you feel is someone asked you to eat three full orders of Fettuccine Alfredo and three bread sticks from Fazoli’s? Or how about three Big Macs and three orders of fries from McDonald’s? Or 14 Original Doughnuts from Krispy Kreme? It’s ludicrous, for sure, but the truth is that any of these options would actually save you calories over this horrendous glut of oil and cream from the Cheesecake Factory. It has four days' worth of saturated fat and a day and a half of calories--and that's before you get to appetizers, sides, drinks and dessert!

Eat This Instead!
Pasta Marinara (Lunch portion)
697 calories
1 g saturated fat
617 mg sodium
110 g carbohydrates
I hope none of these dishes were your favorites!!!


  1. thank goodness non of these were my favorites! *phew!* lol!!! i have eaten at Carraba's and no wonder there stuff tasted so good! lol! full of fat!! i haven't eaten there in years though. good post hun!

    laurie declario

  2. It is all very confusing, so I just use common sense-LOL (I have very little of that)Hi there! Just popping in from the UBP to be your newest Google Follower! Hooray! Hope you had a great weekend and have a great week! Swing by my blog when you get a chance!

    Bridgette Groschen
    The Groschen Goblins