If there was ever a place that was more of an anathema to a low carb diet, the very definition of a low carb den of inequity – it’s The Cheesecake Factory. There are plenty of restaurants that are tough to navigate, certainly, noodle houses and pasta places are a rough spot to be caught in when out with friends and trying to maintain your low carb mojo, but The Cheesecake Factory somehow shines through these pikers in high carb dining because of their ability to hide carbs in nearly everything.
The worst part is the low carb cheesecake. Yes, it’s low carb – but it is a trap to lure low carbers in the door – then whack them upside the head with bread at the table, yummy appetizers, and carb-laden entrees. By the time you get to the low carb cheesecake, it’s too late – you might as well buy the high carb version because you’ve probably trashed your diet for a few days and will need a few days of low carb rehab to recover.
To make matters worse, while they tout their low carb cheesecake, they are suspiciously silent about the nutrition info of their other foods. Yes – they do have a ‘Skinnylicious‘ menu, but it’s geared toward calorie counters – not carb counters – and a check of the website lists no nutrition info. The word ‘skinnylicious’ is meaningless unless it gets defined.
In the restaurant I believe the actual menu lists calories, but for low carbers not particularly interested in calories, it is yet another minefield in this restaurant that also excels in perhaps some of the most garish and hideous architecture and interior design ever conceived by the mind of man.
However, there is hope. According to a post on CalorieLab, Washington State forced The Cheesecake factory to reveal their nutrition info. This was 5 years ago and recipes change – but the list here provides at least something to go on.
There is another site – Cheesecakefactorynutrition.com that also provides similar info, but neither list jibes entirely and it is a hassle to go through either.
I was going to The Cheesecake Factory for a family celebration and spent about an hour going through the menu to find items that would at least not rival their most carb-laden concoction: the somewhat innocuous-sounding ‘Orange Chicken‘ which has 298 freakin’ grams of carbs – that’s over 10 ounces – per serving! This is more than any of their cheesecakes.
I decided for myself to have the ‘Steak Diane and Shrimp Scampi Combo‘. The supposedly has 1770 calories and 74 grams of carbs, but the combo comes with potatoes. I substituted the sautéed spinach for the potatoes, and subtracted out the 44 grams of carbs from their mashed potato side. This gave me about 1,200 calories and 30 grams of carbs – not great, but not bad either. The sautéed spinach was about 100 calories and 6 grams of carbs.
All in all, not the worst meal Ive ever had, though the 2 forkfuls of the peach mango cheesecake did my diet no good – yummy as it was.
I did avoid the bread and the deep-fried appetizer that my family tore though like starving refugees. It wasn’t easy though.
The end result is: you can navigate The Cheesecake Factory with a little homework and and some restraint – but it’s risky.
you have been warned.