Pasta has many benefits: It’s a lasting source of energy that doesn’t cause blood sugar to spike, and it’s low in fat, low in sodium, inexpensive, and convenient—unless it’s drowned in cream, doused in salt, disguised with processed meat and cheese, and served in a portion that befits a family of four.
Gallery: 30 Unhealthiest Pastas
There are a few healthy options available at the country’s leading chain restaurants, but if you’re trying to find them, it’s best to avoid the pasta section of the menu. Pasta dishes as served can contain nearly four servings according to USDA portion guidelines. They can also have as much salt as a plate of cheese fries and twice the saturated fat of a 16 oz. prime rib steak.
The Daily Beast parsed the menus of more than a dozen national chains to figure out which restaurants offer the worst of the worst carbohydrate havens on a plate. The final ranking was based on calories, saturated fat, sodium, and carbohydrates for each dish. Each pasta dish was ranked within each nutritional category, then the ranks were totaled to determine the final ranking. Ties were broken by calorie content, and each eatery was limited to three appearances. Nutrition facts listed are for the dishes as served.