Restaurant desserts you should avoid at all costs

This trip into the underworld of restaurant desserts was completely eye-opening. Where I live in New York, calories are posted on all menu items, but I don't tend to really get into the nitty gritty of nutritional facts. It's my own version of a don't ask, don't tell policy.

However, having a little sweet after a meal is a habit that can be hard to break. It seems no matter how full someone is from their dinner, there's always room for a bite of dessert. The following desserts, however, are more than just a "bite" or a "little sweet," they might even be more gut-busting than the entire meal. It's not easy to turn away from a warm chocolate chip cookie baked in a skillet or pie à la mode, so if you do choose to have dessert, you'd be better off sharing with the table.

Red Lobster's Chocolate Wave

Who among us haven't felt the pull of their neighborhood Red Lobster, or as I like to call it homard rouge. Classy, non? You even lie to yourself and say you're only going to have one biscuit. And then somehow you forget about the Lobsterita and the dozen coconut shrimp you just had and find yourself staring at the dessert menu. The Chocolate Wave is the only dessert at Red Lobster with a sea-faring name, and with one bite any semblance of eating healthy will come crashing down around you. The decadent layers of chocolate cake and fudge frosting, piled high with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, will set you back 1,100 calories, 62 grams of fat, and 133 carbs. You could have eight, yes eight, Cheddar Bay Biscuits for the same amount of carbs. Is a slice of cake really worth it? At least the biscuits are complimentary.

Skillet chocolate chip cookie from Chili's

Cookies should definitely be calorie-free and yet, somehow this one from Chili's is more caloric than I could have ever imagined. It's just one cookie baked in a skillet, topped with a little ice cream. How bad could it be? Bad, shockingly bad. At 1,420 calories, of which 640 are calories from fat, with an eye-popping 71 grams of fat, and 115 grams of sugar, it may be more beneficial to eat the skillet the cookie is baked in. At least there's iron. Maybe they've been "Chillin' since '75" because their still in sugar shock.

Peanut butter silk pie from Perkins

Oh, Perkins. I spent many-a-late nights at a Perkins in college. The one by my school was open 24 hours, and it was always packed with students drinking endless pots of coffee and plowing through plates of breakfast specials. It was also the first place I ever had a Mammoth Muffin, which may have led to me gaining more than one round of the "freshman fifteen."

Their pies look so innocent, just a little filling, some whipped cream, nothing at all, right? And then I did my research and almost fell over, because I definitely indulged in copious slices of this pie while I was an undergrad. One slice of peanut butter silk pie not only has 930 calories and 65 grams of fat, but that one measly slice has 145 milligrams of cholesterol! That's nearly half the daily average, which should be less than 300 milligrams. So basically you can have a slice of pie and nothing else all day. If you're still not willing to avoid the pie, there are twelve grams of protein per slice so, you know, silver-lining.

Brownie Obsession from T.G.I. Friday's

Nothing good ever came from an obsession. Even if it's a warm brownie, topped with vanilla ice cream, Ghirardelli caramel sauce and pecans, like the one from T.G.I. Friday's. If you need something to obsess over, how about the fact that if you eat this sundae you'll have consumed 153 grams of carbohydrates and one and a half times the amount of saturated fat recommended in one day. Or the fact that if the full-sized obsession has 1,200 calories, why does the half-sized portion have 720 calories, and not 600? Honestly, just do yourself a favor and don't get too obsessed with this dessert. Find something less caloric to obsess over, like a fantasy sports team.

Grilled Stickies à la mode from Eat n' Park

Eat n' Park is a family-run chain with locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, known for it's buffet, iconic smile cookie, and a signature dessert called Grilled Stickies. For anyone who didn't have the pleasure of growing up in Pennsylvania like I did, a stickie is a version of a sticky bun which is a version of a sweet roll, and a product of the large Pennsylvania Dutch influence. Eat n' Park's signature dessert consist of two "famous grilled stickies", vanilla ice cream and a warm honey sauce. It also has 39 grams of fat, 727 calories, and a whopping 1,267 milligrams of sodium! That's more than the Whale of a Cod Fish sandwich (p.s. How adorable is that name?) which only has 1,192 mg of sodium. And three times as much as a basket of loaded fries—salty, bacon, cheese-covered fries. Now, you can just get the grilled stickies without the ice cream, but since you'd only be saving 8 grams of fat and about 250 calories, you might as well get the ice cream. It's the way they were intended to be served.

The Cheesecake Factory's Chocolate Truffle Tower Cake

The chocolate truffle tower cake is by far the worst non-cheesecake dessert to get at The Cheesecake Factory. Seven layers of cake, seven layers of alternating Chocolate Truffle Cream and Chocolate Mousse, frosting, and a few mounds of whipped cream just because. Unfortunately, The Cheesecake Factory doesn't supply it's nutritional facts on their website, but only in restaurants when required. Thankfully, with sites such as My Fitness Pal and CheesecakeFactoryNutrition.com, the sleuthing is a bit easier. An average of nearly 1,700 calories per serving, it also serves up 206 grams of carbohydrates, nearly two-thirds of the daily recommended amount. Unless you're carb-o-loading for a big race, do yourself a favor and skip this.

The Cheesecake Factory's Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake

Did you think that a cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory wouldn't make this list? Not a chance. Like I mentioned above, the nutritional facts are not readily available, but from what I've deduced, Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake really takes the (cheese)cake for flavor to avoid. This cheesecake contains 200 percent of your daily allowance of saturated fat, topped off with Butterfingers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, as well as caramel and peanut butter. "Hey Adam, did you leave any room for the actual cheesecake batter?!"

P. F. Changs' Great Wall of Chocolate

I grew up in the suburbs so I've obviously been to my fair share of chain restaurants before but I've never been able to wrap my head around a chain Chinese restaurant. I always got the feeling there would be something a little lost in the authenticity of the meal. And since the fanciest dessert I was ever offered at the end of a meal in a Chinese place was a plate of homemade almond cookies, The Great Wall of Chocolate from P. F. Changs is working on a whole other level. With 1,490 calories, 26 grams of saturated fat, and 72 grams of fat, you would have to walk along the real Great Wall for over six hours to burn this off. Oh, and you think because it's a dessert, you're free from a lot of sodium? Think again, this massive slice of cake is loaded with 1,410 milligrams of sodium! Who knew a dessert so sweet could be so salty?

Olive Garden's zeppoli

Fried pillows of dough dusted in powdered sugar may not sound as whimsical as the term zeppoli, but the truth can sometimes sting. Like so many other desserts, this offering from the Olive Garden is most likely a shareable size with 810 calories, 28 grams of fat, and 119 grams of carbohydrates. Oh, but don't forget to factor in the dipping sauces! The raspberry sauce tacks on an additional 210 calories and 51 grams of carbohydrates, but no fat (a small win), while the chocolate sauce adds an additional 220 calories, 3 grams of fat and 48 grams of carbohydrates. Surprisingly, this is one of the better desserts on this list, but it's still more than twice the amount of carbohydrates in the tiramisu. And let's be honest, didn't you have enough of those at dinner?

California Pizza Kitchen's butter cake

There's no way something called butter cake wasn't going to be a dessert to avoid! California Pizza Kitchen boasts that they're featured on Healthy Dining Finder, but I'm guessing they weren't talking about this particular dessert. Touted for being a vegetarian dessert and a signature dish, the menu tells the consumer "Trust us" when it comes to the butter cake. Here's what you can trust. This single dessert has 73 grams of fat and 315 milligrams of cholesterol and an astonishing 45 grams of saturated fat. Did I mention that this was before you add on the preferred serving of vanilla Häagen-Dazs? The ice cream addition brings the total fat to a mind-boggling 92 grams and the cholesterol rises to 415 milligrams. Oh it clocks in at over 1,300 calories. To put it into perspective, that's the same amount of fat in almost three of CPK's Original BBQ chicken pizza (with bacon), but the butter cake still has more saturated fat and cholesterol. I'm uncomfortable writing about this, are you uncomfortable reading about this? Just think how you'd feel after eating it.

Bahama Breeze's banana nut bread supreme

No time for a trip to the tropics? That's OK, Bahama Breeze will turn any night out into an island retreat. After indulging in the banana nut bread supreme you may not be ready to don a bathing suit, however a nap in a hammock could be in order. It starts off safe with sliced bananas, but that's where this dessert takes a sharp turn from healthy. Vanilla ice cream, warm banana bread and a hot sauce made from butterscotch and brandy really tie it together. So how damaging is this island treat? Supremely. With a total of 69 grams of fat, over half of that is saturated fat. The calories weigh in at 1,120 and this one serving also contains nearly a day's worth of cholesterol with 235 milligrams. That doesn't give you much nutrition to play with for the rest of the day, but maybe it's the incentive you need to get out and play.

Yard House's s'mores brownie

Yard House is a sister restaurant of Bahama Breeze with really decadent comfort food and according to their logo, "The world's largest selection of draft beers", which is my kind of place. And then there is the S'mores Brownie, clocking in at nearly 1,500 calories. Once again, a dessert to break the saturated fat cap for the day, this time with 26 grams. Is there some sort of contest restaurants are participating in that I don't know about? Do they even try to reduce this number? Are you ready for s'more bad news? This single brownie, contains 59 grams of fat and 230 grams of carbohydrates. But, with 970 milligrams of sodium, this is one of the least salty desserts I've found, so, success! Sort of. It does take an extra fifteen minutes to prepare so consider using that time wisely and go for a jog around the restaurant a few times.