Portion Sizes Still Too Big, Cheesecake Factory Still Too Unhealthy


Have you noticed a difference in food portion sizes when you go to a chain restaurant? Yeah, me either. Granted, lots of menus now have a healthier section or marked indications of a few choices that won’t cause your body a whole lot of grief, but for the most part, chain restaurants are still serving enormous portions.

According to a survey conducted by the RAND Corporation, 96 percent of chain restaurants in America are still serving dishes that are in excess of the USDA recommendations for daily intake of sodium and fat. Crazy, right? But with meals like Cheesecake Factory’s Chicken & Biscuits, it’s pretty easy to see how many foods out there can pack a serious punch to your diet. This one alone contains 2,580 calories, 68 grams of saturated fat and 2,621 mg of sodium. For perspective, you should typically eat up to 20 grams of saturated fat a day and have 2,4000 mg of sodium. And that’s not even the worst dish on the menu — their Bistro Shrimp Pasta contains even worse numbers.

Granted, a lot of people have become more health conscious (obviously, Blisstree would not exist if that wasn’t the case), so the fact that this many restaurants are still going over-the-top with their unhealthiness is a bit surprising. One-third of people questioned in a survey stated their willingness to have portion sizes reduced if smaller plates were offered at restaurants, so clearly, a great deal of the country has a desire to change the way food is served. Additionally, research has given evidence that people are responding positively to restaurants showing the calorie counts for meals on their menus.

Having information is clearly valuable to people in regards to food options, but that’s not the only way restaurants can help consumers make healthier choices. Hopefully more chains will begin offering smaller portions, but considering places like Cheesecake Factory are still booming with dishes that have thousands of calories, I won’t hold my breath.

Photo: juliam1111 / Flickr

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    • IIFYM

      If you are going to “Cheesecake factory” looking for “healthy choices” you are an idiot. If you choose to eat 3000 calories in one sitting then you should be able to do that if you wish. Don’t blame the restaurant that bad its reputation selling cheescake for you making bad health choices. This article is ridiculous.

      • yoyoma

        Yes, anyone can eat anywhere they like. However, why should your insurance company, medicare, or medicaid have to foot the bill for these fat hogs waddling across our nation?

    • Lulu

      Doesnt seem to have hurt their business at all. If you don’t like it, don’t eat there. Its quite simple really.

    • Imcjl

      Who makes anyone eat at these restaurants, or eat everything placed in front of them? Pls stop with victimization slant…make consumers accountable for what they shove in their pieholes, and vote with their pocketbook. And stop telling me what i should and shouldnt eat…look at how wrong the “govt” was with their last “scientific/we know better than you” nutritional food pyramid.

    • Vinny

      Rather than making smaller portions, they should learn how to cook. Large portions are good, I don’t want to leave a restaurant feeling hungry. Learn how to prepare tasty dishes without resorting to cheap tricks (butter, fat, sodium, etc).

    • Guard16162001

      It all comes down to money as always. Increase portion size 30% and cost to the consumer 30%. and restaurants increase their profits because there is a larger profit on larger dishes. The profit margin remains the same, but profits increase because of the higher cost overall.

    • gratan2008

      Eating out once in a while isn’t going to kill you. If you choose to eat the high-calorie meals at “Cheesecake Factory” or any other restaurant it’s your (the diner’s) choice, not the restaurants’. Blaming the restaurants for their high fat, high calorie meals is ridiculous. They’re just offering it, not forcing you to eat it. So, if I’m going to go out to eat, of course I’m going to get the high calorie, high fat food because it’s so good and I don’t eat that kind of stuff at home, so it really should not be a big deal..
      Also, a lot of the eateries that have reduced their portion sizes have either increased their menu prices or kept them the same. So you’re getting less food for the same price or for at a higher price, (i.e. P.F. Chang’s). If a restaurant is going to reduce meal portions, then they should reduce menu prices as well.

    • #eat.happy

      I totally understand the need to better educate the public about portion size and nutritional values/intake. But people go out to restaurants to enjoy themselves and have a good time. I personally consider myself relatively fit and active, and though I dont calorie count I am always conscious of whether I am eating a healthy choice. That said, if I want to splurge on a decadent meal, let me!
      I find it extremely preposterous that amidst all this talk of making the nation healthier, very ilttle emphasis is being placed on the great equalizer of unhealthy foods – EXERCISE! The reason our country is fat is because we’re lazy and inactive. Caloric intake should equate to caloric expenditure. Make the public smarter and active instead of taking away our freedom of choice and pursuit of happiness.

      Ps – I LOVE getting larger/supersized portions… It saves me the trouble of preparing lunch for work.

    • Richard

      Restaurants serve what people want to eat. There are already healthy choices on the Cheesecake Factory menu so I do not see what the issue is. Portion size is also not as important as ingredients. Again people want big portions and if they do not get them they will go somewhere else.

    • CharleyX

      You food Nazis need to get over yourselves. Fat people know what they are doing. No one is holding a gun to their heads. They choose to be fat. Get over it!

      • JR

        Obesity is an epidemic that is one of the leading causes of health problems in this country. Sure no one is holding a gun to their heads, but all of us will be paying tax dollars to cover their medical problems in the future. I wouldn’t blame the restaurants either, but it’s not a bad thing to call attention to the astronomically high amount of calories, etc in food to help people make good choices.

    • gaunzo

      You notice that the prices went up

    • Eileen

      The fact that they put it in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat all of it, especially if it’s a dinner that will make good leftovers. (Is there any lunch more amazing than leftovers?)

      Also, I’ve been to a couple of restaurants that use really nice ingredients and serve a reasonable portion. They regularly get labelled “rip-off.” The food is not particularly expensive; it’s just that we’re used to large amounts of food for cheap, and restaurants are still businesses.

    • catlady

      what is so difficult with the portion sizes? you eat half & take the rest home. i’ve done this for years.