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 hasn'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 one of many desserts at Red Lobster with a seafaring name, and with one bite of this one, 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 134 carbs. You could have eight, yes eight, Cheddar Bay Biscuits for a few less 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 116 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 they're 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 15."

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 then very little the rest of the day. If you're still not willing to avoid the pie, there are 12 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 more than double the amount of saturated fat recommended in one day. 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 its buffet, iconic smile cookie, and a signature dessert called Grilled Stickies. For anyone who didn't have the pleasure of growing up in Pennsylvania, 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, 733 calories, and a whopping 1,249 milligrams of sodium! That's more than the Whale of a Cod Fish sandwich (p.s. How adorable is that name?) which only has 961 mg of sodium. 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 150 calories, you might as well get the ice cream. It's the way they were intended to be served.

P. F. Chang's' 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. Chang's is working on a whole new level. With 1,700 calories, 30 grams of saturated fat, and 71 grams of fat, this is one dessert that should serve as a meal itself. 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 this as a vegetarian dessert and a signature dish, and 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 410 milligrams. Oh, and 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 67 grams of fat, about half of that is saturated fat. The calories weigh in at 1,110 and this one serving also contains nearly a day's worth of cholesterol with 225 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 1,360 calories. Once again, a dessert to break the saturated fat cap for the day, this time with 22 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? There are 213 grams of carbs in this fruity dessert. But, with 840 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.