Here’s How Unhealthy Those Olive Garden Breadsticks Really Are

Olive Garden is a household name. It’s a budget-friendly, family-oriented chain restaurant known for its nearly-endless pasta selection — oh, and it’s fat and fluffy breadsticks. And while you might not be paying much attention to your calorie intake when you go for a meal at Olive Garden, you might be surprised to learn how unhealthy those breadsticks actually are.

Olive Garden breadsticks

Olive Garden breadsticks | Olive Garden via Instagram

One Olive Garden breadstick clocks in at 140 calories

One breadstick will set you back 140 calories. And although it might be worth every calorie, it’s important to know what else is hiding in those tasty, fluffy snacks.

Fat: 2.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 25 grams
Sodium: 460 milligrams

140 calories and 2.5 grams of fat doesn’t seem like too much for a decent-sized breadstick. But odds are you won’t eat just one. Two breadsticks would double these nutrition facts, which means you’re eating 920 milligrams of sodium. For reference, your body only needs about 500 milligrams per day to sustain normal bodily functions, and the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams each day. Unless you plan on eating hardly anything else all day, that 920 milligrams will wreak havoc on your heart. Too much sodium can lead to hypertension, heart attack, or heart failure.

The breadstick dipping sauces have as many as 440 calories and 43 grams of fat

The breadsticks are only the first part of the equation. It’s likely you’ll indulge in a dipping sauce, too. Depending on which sauce you choose, you might be eating nearly a day’s worth of fat just by dipping those breadsticks. The alfredo dipping sauce contains 440 calories, 43 grams of fat, and 600 milligrams of sodium per serving. This means for two breadsticks and some alfredo dipping sauce, you’ve eaten 720 calories, 48 grams of fat, and 1,520 milligrams of sodium (that’s more than an entire day’s worth of sodium).

If you choose a lighter sauce option, such as marinara, you’re still consuming 370 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 1,400 milligrams of sodium.

The soup, salad and breadsticks combo isn’t the best option, either

The breadsticks are a big part of the package, but they’re not the whole package. You might head to Olive Garden just to devour a few breadsticks, but you might also order their soup, salad, and breadsticks combination for the famously low price of $9.99. Definitely a good monetary deal, but what about health-wise?

If you order two breadsticks and a dipping sauce (let’s say marinara to give Olive Garden a little break), plus the zuppa Toscana soup and house salad with Italian dressing, here’s what the nutrition facts would look like:

Calories: 740
Fat: 35 grams
Carbohydrates: 89 grams
Sodium: 2,960 milligrams

If you’re splurging on a great meal, 740 calories might not be the worst thing. But it definitely doesn’t count as healthy. 35 grams of fat and 89 grams of carbohydrates for one meal are both extremely high, but the sodium is the real kicker. Nearly twice the recommended daily amount is in one Olive Garden soup, salad, and breadsticks meal. And let’s remember this meal is bottomless, meaning people tend to order far beyond that. Who would have thought a breadstick could lead to such an unhealthy meal? If you’re looking for something nutritious, you might want to skip the Olive Garden.

All nutrition facts courtesy of olivegarden.com.

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