The One Dessert You Should Never Order At A Restaurant

Dessert is a non-negotiable at restaurants (at least sometimes). Whether you arrive planning to treat yourself or the display just looks too tempting, sweet treats can be wonderful in moderation. However, there is one dessert that should absolutely be on your never-order list, and it's unfortunately cheesecake. Cheesecake is packed with trans fat and sugar, and it is very high in calories. Not to mention, when you add other toppings like Oreos or brownies, there's more where that came from (via Eat This, Not That!). 

If you think the Cheesecake Factory is the only place to avoid this dessert, think again. Cheesecake, but especially cheesecake with extra sweet toppings or add-ins, is a bad choice no matter where you're ordering from. According to nutritionist Julie Cunningham, "A restaurant-sized portion typically has more than 300 calories and is loaded with sugar and artery-clogging fat." The amount of fat cheesecake packs isn't so surprising when you consider that it primarily consists of cream, cream cheese, butter, sour cream, sugar, eggs, and graham crackers.

Cheesecake even loses out to chocolate cake

Cheesecake is incredibly tempting thanks to its rich ingredients and smooth, creamy texture, but it's surprisingly even less healthy than chocolate cake. Even though you might think chocolate cake might be more indulgent, it's actually the better option, according to Health. "Chocolate has health perks like antioxidants and the mineral magnesium," says Stephanie Middleberg, RD, adding that you can also save around 150 calories if you skip the icing.

When you compare the two, chocolate cake has fewer calories, but the major difference really comes down to the saturated fat. A serving of chocolate cake has about 30 grams of fat, with 11 grams of saturated fat. A serving of New York-style cheesecake with strawberry sauce has a whopping 60 grams of fat, with 33 grams of saturated fat.

There is one delicious offender that tops the list of the worst cheesecakes to order. According to Jennifer Glockner, RDN, "At The Cheesecake Factory, the Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake, has 1,630 calories, 98 grams of fat, 57 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of trans fat, 135 grams of sugar, and 860 milligrams of sodium." That's enough to surpass many daily nutrition intake guidelines (via Eat This, Not That!).

Other desserts to avoid at restaurants

While cheesecake might be one of those desserts you should essentially avoid altogether no matter what restaurant you are at, other desserts on the menu might require a closer look. For example, the Caramel Fudge Brownie Sundae from Friendly's is one of the worst desserts for you, according to Society 19. Though a brownie sundae might seem harmless, the version at Friendly's definitely packs some seriously bad nutritional info. The dessert is composed of two brownies with three scoops of ice cream on top, ultimately adding up to 1,900 calories, 90 grams of fat, 890 milligrams of sodium, and 180 grams of sugar. Given it's size, it surprisingly only has 26 grams of carbs, though. 

The Blue Ribbon Brownie at Applebee's is another brownie option to steer clear of. According to Society 19, the brownie itself is massive — plus it is served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate syrup. One of the most shocking nutrition facts for this brownie is the amount of cholesterol. It has 225 milligrams, which is about 3/4 the recommended daily intake. To top it off, Applebee's brownie dessert contains 211 grams of carbs and 147 grams of sugar. In all, it rings in between 1,500 and 1,600 calories, with 65 grams of fat and 640 milligrams of sodium.

These are the desserts you should go for in a restaurant

While there are obviously a ton of unhealthy desserts at restaurants, there are some that you might actually want to spring for. When you are ready to splurge for a dessert, Insider recommends chocolate mousse, soufflé, and even — dare we say it — cheesecake. The rationale behind ordering these desserts from a restaurant certainly isn't that they are healthy for you, but that these are ones to order out because they are notoriously difficult to make well yourself. That's why it is better to leave these sweets to the professionals, according to Insider. Although you know these desserts are less than healthy, especially cheesecake, it is easier to enjoy them in moderation from a restaurant with a single serving or slice. (And perhaps sharing with a friend.) 

So, for the most part skip the cheesecake, chocolate cake, or brownies à la mode when you're out at a restaurant. When no other dessert will do, really go for it and order something impressive. Enjoy your (occasional) indulgent order!