Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is LongHorn Steakhouse Bad For You?



Short answer

LongHorn Steakhouse's menu can be challenging for health-conscious diners due to high calorie, fat, and sodium content, especially in large portion sizes and indulgent choices. Opting for lean cuts, smaller portions, and vegetable sides, while avoiding excessive sauces and dressings, can help align your meal with health goals. For special diets, the restaurant does provide some accommodating options, but vigilance is required due to potential cross-contamination.



Long answer

Analyzing LongHorn Steakhouse Menu Nutrition

When dining out, especially at popular chain restaurants like LongHorn Steakhouse, understanding the nutritional content of menu items can be crucial to making informed decisions that align with personal health goals. Let's dive into the different aspects of LongHorn Steakhouse's menu and analyze their nutritional profiles.

Caloric Content Per Serving: Many LongHorn entrees are known for their hearty portions, which can often mean high caloric values. For example, a single serving of the restaurant's Renegade Sirloin or the LongHorn Salmon can vary significantly in calories, potentially affecting daily caloric intake limits. It's important to be mindful of portion sizes, and consider asking for a half portion or planning to take leftovers home.

Saturated Fats and Cholesterol: Red meats and creamy sides are prominent in the menu and can contribute to an increased intake of saturated fats and cholesterol, which may be a concern for cardiovascular health. Dishes like the Flo's Filet or loaded potato soup contain higher amounts of these fats, underscoring the need for balance and moderation. Opting for leaner cuts of meat or vegetable-based sides can be a healthier choice.

Sodium Levels: High sodium content is typical in restaurant food, and LongHorn Steakhouse is no exception. Meals such as their steakhouse burgers or seasoned fries can contain significant sodium, potentially leading to an increased risk of hypertension and other health issues over time. Considering items with the 'low sodium' or 'light' label might be more conducive to a heart-healthy diet.

Sugar Content: Desserts and certain beverages such as sweetened iced teas and cocktails can add an excessive amount of sugar to one's meal. While a treat on occasion is enjoyable, regular consumption of high-sugar items can contribute to unwanted weight gain and metabolic issues. Checking the nutritional information for sugar content in meals and opting for fresh fruit or unsweetened drink options is advisable.

Fiber and Nutrient-Rich Options: Although steakhouses are not typically known for their high-fiber foods, the menu does offer some selections rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Salads, such as the Grilled Chicken & Strawberry Salad, and side options like fresh vegetables, provide beneficial nutrients and can help balance out a meal. Paying attention to the inclusion of such items can positively impact overall diet quality.

Consideration for Dietary Restrictions: For individuals with specific dietary needs such as gluten sensitivity or those following a ketogenic diet, the restaurant provides options that can accommodate these restrictions. However, vigilance is required to avoid cross-contamination or inadvertent consumption of allergens or foods not permitted within certain diets.

Below is a table that illustrates a selection of LongHorn Steakhouse dishes along with their caloric and macronutrient content per serving:

Menu Item Calories Protein (g) Carbohydrates (g) Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Sodium (mg)
Renegade Sirloin (6 oz) 320 50 5 14 6 580
Flo's Filet (8 oz) 520 49 1 36 18 760
Grilled Chicken & Strawberry Salad 470 41 13 28 8 650
Loaded Potato Soup (Cup) 380 10 23 28 15 980
Seasoned French Fries 440 5 58 20 4 1020

Ensure you consult a dietician or nutritionist for personalized advice, particularly when managing diet-related health conditions. Remember, moderation is key to a balanced diet, regardless of where you're dining.

Understanding Portion Sizes at LongHorn Steakhouse

Portion size is a critical factor to consider when evaluating the impact of dining out on your health, especially at popular steakhouse chains like LongHorn Steakhouse. The restaurant is known for its generous servings, which, while appealing to the appetite, can often lead to overconsumption of calories, fats, and sodium. Here's a breakdown to help patrons make informed decisions.

First, it is essential to understand the recommended dietary guidelines for meat consumption. According to the American Heart Association, an ideal portion of cooked meat is roughly the size of a deck of cards, which equates to about 3 ounces or 85 grams. LongHorn Steakhouse steak servings typically start at 6 ounces, which is double the recommended portion size, and can go up to 18 ounces for some cuts, significantly exceeding what is considered a moderate portion.

In the context of a balanced diet, consuming larger portions of red meat, as often served at LongHorn Steakhouse, can lead to an intake of high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. This can increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, and other health concerns if consumed frequently and in large amounts. However, it's not just the steaks that can be oversized; sides and appetizers also tend to come in hearty portions, potentially contributing to excessive calorie intake.

  • Steaks: Sizes range from 6 ounces to 18 ounces, where a 6-ounce portion already exceeds the recommended serving.
  • Sides: Options such as the Loaded Idaho Baked Potato are substantial in size, with calorie counts that can rival main dishes.
  • Appetizers: Shareable starters may contain more calories than individual main courses, suggesting that they are meant to be divided amongst several diners.

To navigate LongHorn Steakhouse's menu healthfully, consider the following strategies:

  • Choose smaller steak sizes and supplement your meal with vegetables rather than starch-heavy sides.
  • If opting for a larger steak, consider sharing it with a dining companion or requesting a to-go box to enjoy the remainder at another meal.
  • Be cautious with appetizers and sides, which may significantly increase the total calorie count of your meal.
  • Request nutritional information and use it to make choices that align with your dietary needs.

It's also worth mentioning that LongHorn Steakhouse offers the 'Flavorful Under 500' menu, which consists of meals designed to be lower in calories, potentially helping guests stick to smaller portion sizes while enjoying a variety of dishes.

When evaluating portion sizes, it's necessary to align them with individual dietary needs based on activity level, dietary restrictions, and health goals. By being mindful of the portion sizes served at LongHorn Steakhouse, guests can enjoy their meals while maintaining a balanced diet. Remember, it’s not solely about the size of the portion but the quality and nutrient density of the food consumed.

Hidden Calories: Sauces and Dressings Debunked

When dining out, especially at steakhouses like LongHorn, it's easy to underestimate the impact of sauces and dressings on our overall caloric intake. These flavorful add-ons might seem insignificant, but they can stealthily contribute a significant amount of calories to a meal. Below, we'll unravel the caloric content of common sauces and dressings at LongHorn Steakhouse and provide tips on how to enjoy your meal without overindulging in hidden calories.

Caloric Breakdown of Popular LongHorn Sauces:

  • Horseradish Sauce: Often paired with prime cuts, one tablespoon can add approximately 50-70 calories.
  • BBQ Sauce: A favorite for ribs and burgers—two tablespoons might pack in close to 100 calories.
  • Steakhouse Butter: Used to enhance the flavor of steak, just one dollop (about one tablespoon) could add up to 100 calories.
  • Blue Cheese Dressing: Usually served with salads; 2 tablespoons contain around 140-150 calories.
  • Ranch Dressing: A common dressing choice that can add 140-165 calories per two-tablespoon serving.

To maintain a healthier caloric balance while enjoying these sauces, consider the following recommendations based on nutritional expertise and dietary guidelines:

  • Request sauces on the side: This classic tip allows you to control the amount you consume.
  • Portion control: Use a spoon to measure out servings, or even better, ask for a half-portion if the restaurant can accommodate.
  • Understanding serving sizes: Familiarize yourself with what a tablespoon of sauce looks like to avoid overpouring.
  • Alternative options: Inquire if the restaurant offers lower-calorie or reduced-fat versions of their sauces and dressings.
  • Simple substitutions: Opt for vinegar, lemon juice, or salsa for salads and vegetables to slash calories without sacrificing flavor.

Remember, the key isn't to deprive yourself of these delicious additions but to enjoy them mindfully. By being strategic about your sauce and dressing choices, you can savor your meal at LongHorn Steakhouse while still aligning with your nutritional goals.

For those tracking their dietary intake, the restaurant's nutrition information, often available online or upon request, can be a valuable resource. It details the caloric content of sauces and dressings, which can guide guests in making more informed choices. As with any aspect of a balanced diet, awareness and moderation are cornerstones to enjoying meals without the burden of excess calories unexpectedly altering your nutritional plan.

Experts recommend that no more than 10% of your daily caloric intake should come from added sugars and saturated fats, which are commonly found in rich sauces and dressings. By keeping this guideline in mind and using the tips provided above, you can ensure that a steakhouse visit is both enjoyable and nutritionally responsible.

Salt Content and Risk of Hypertension

LongHorn Steakhouse, like many restaurants specializing in steaks and grilled meats, has a varied menu that, if not navigated carefully, can be a source of high sodium. The deep flavors in their seasoning blends, marinades, and sauces often come with a significant amount of added salt. Excessive sodium intake is associated with an increased risk of hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

When discussing the salt content of restaurant meals, it is important to refer to dietary guidelines. The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day and move toward an ideal limit of 1,500 mg per day for most adults. However, a single meal at a steakhouse can approach or exceed these limits. For example, a 12 oz ribeye steak at LongHorn Steakhouse can contain nearly 1,000 mg of sodium—and that's before factoring in sides, appetizers, or soups, which can elevate the total significantly.

To provide a clearer picture of the sodium content in a typical meal at LongHorn Steakhouse, consider the following popular items:

  • Grilled White Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms: approximately 1,200 mg of sodium
  • Loaded Potato Soup (bowl): around 1,090 mg of sodium
  • Renegade Sirloin (6 oz) and Redrock Grilled Shrimp: over 1,600 mg of sodium
  • Prime Rib (12 oz): about 1,700 mg of sodium
  • Chocolate Stampede (dessert): nearly 340 mg of sodium

For those with existing hypertension or predispositions for cardiovascular conditions, frequent meals at LongHorn Steakhouse could exacerbate their risk if they're not careful with their selections. Fortunately, asking for nutritional information before ordering, choosing plainer cuts of meat without heavy seasonings or sauces, and opting for steamed veggies as a side can reduce sodium intake. Furthermore, considering shared meals or taking half to go can help manage portion sizes, thereby reducing the total sodium consumed.

Evidence suggests that the more sodium we consume, the greater the risk for high blood pressure. A meta-analysis published in the 'British Medical Journal' showed that a moderate reduction in salt intake for four or more weeks caused significant falls in blood pressure in both hypertensive and normotensive individuals, indicating a direct correlation between salt consumption and blood pressure levels. Another study published in the 'Journal of the American College of Cardiology' found that individuals who reduced their sodium intake, as part of a controlled diet, experienced profound improvements in their cardiovascular health.

Being mindful of the risks associated with high sodium intake is crucial when dining out. By understanding the potential for high salt content in LongHorn Steakhouse offerings, patrons can make informed decisions and take proactive steps to minimize the impact on their blood pressure and overall heart health.

Balancing Indulgences: Tips for Healthier Choices at Steakhouses

Steakhouses like LongHorn Steakhouse can be a culinary delight but navigating their menus for healthier choices can sometimes feel daunting. Whether you are on a diet or simply mindful about what you eat, a strategic approach can help you enjoy your meal without compromising on health. Here are some tips to make those indulgent steakhouse visits more aligned with your health goals:

  • Start with Water: Begin your meal with a glass of water. This habit helps in hydrating you, making you feel fuller, and can prevent overeating.
  • Opt for Lean Cuts: Choose lean cuts of beef, such as sirloin or filet mignon, which are lower in fat compared to marbled cuts like ribeye or porterhouse.
  • Control Portions: Steakhouse portions can be quite large. Consider splitting a main course with someone else or ask for a half portion if available.
  • Be Wise with Sides: Instead of high-calorie sides like loaded mashed potatoes or creamed spinach, go for steamed vegetables, a side salad, or a baked potato without the added fixings.
  • Say No to Sauces: Sauces and dressings can add a significant number of calories to your meal. Request them to be served on the side and use them sparingly.
  • Alternative Proteins: Look for other protein-rich alternatives on the menu, such as fish or chicken, which might be prepared in a healthier way than steak options.
  • Watch the Appetizers: Appetizers can be a source of extra calories, so opt for a broth-based soup or salad to start your meal.
  • Choose Whole Grains: If the option is available, choose whole grain bread or rice to increase your fiber intake, which is beneficial for digestion.
  • Practice Mindful Eating: Eat slowly and enjoy each bite to help you recognize when you’re full, reducing the chance of overeating.
  • Dessert Decisions: If you desire something sweet after your meal, consider sharing a dessert with the table or opt for a fruit-based option.

While research indicates that frequent consumption of high-calorie, high-fat meals can lead to various health issues, including heart disease and obesity, occasional indulgence can be a part of a well-rounded diet if approached mindfully. The American Heart Association suggests that when you do treat yourself, it’s still important to make informed choices and control portions.

Remember, a visit to a steakhouse doesn't have to derail your dietary goals. With a few strategic choices and a mindful approach, you can savor the experience without sacrificing nutrition. Integrating these tips into your dining routine will empower you to make health-conscious decisions that align with your lifestyle and dietary preferences.

Evaluating LongHorn Steakhouse for Special Dietary Needs

When considering the suitability of LongHorn Steakhouse for individuals with special dietary needs, it's essential to delve into the restaurant's menu to identify options that cater to various restrictions and preferences. It's important for patrons with specific dietary requirements to assess the menu carefully, as cross-contact with allergens can occur, and not all ingredients may be listed. Below is an evaluation of LongHorn Steakhouse's offerings for some common dietary needs:

  • Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease:

    For those avoiding gluten, LongHorn Steakhouse provides a range of gluten-sensitive items. However, guests should note that while certain dishes are labeled as gluten-sensitive, the restaurant is not a gluten-free environment. This means there might be a risk of cross-contamination. Steaks without added seasonings, salads without croutons, and certain sides like a baked potato can accommodate a gluten-sensitive diet.

  • Lactose Intolerance:

    Dairy-free diners may need to steer clear of dishes with cheese, butter, and cream-based sauces. LongHorn Steakhouse offers plain grilled meats and a selection of sides such as steamed vegetables that can be prepared without butter or cheese. Communication with the server about lactose intolerance is key in ensuring that the meal is prepared in accordance with dietary needs.

  • Vegetarian and Vegan Diets:

    While known for its meat-centric menu, LongHorn Steakhouse does have limited options for vegetarians and vegans, including a handful of salad and side dish options. Vegetarian guests can usually find dishes like salads (without meat), and vegans may opt for salad without dairy or eggs, as well as side items like mixed vegetables. It is advisable to inquire about cooking procedures to ensure no animal products are used in the preparation of these dishes.

  • Low-Carb and Keto Diets:

    High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets like keto are a good fit for LongHorn Steakhouse's offerings. Patrons can select from various steak cuts and proteins, and pair them with low-carb side options like asparagus or green beans. However, diners must be vigilant about add-ons and sauces that may contain hidden sugars and carbs.

  • Food Allergies:

    Guests with food allergies should be cautious. The diverse menu means cross-contact can occur with allergens like nuts, soy, shellfish, and others. It is crucial to communicate any food allergies to the staff before ordering, and the restaurant may provide an allergen information guide upon request.

  • Heart-Healthy Diets:

    Those on heart-healthy diets, looking to limit saturated fats and cholesterol, might find it challenging at a steakhouse. Selecting leaner cuts of meat, avoiding fried items, choosing sides like salads with dressing on the side, or steamed vegetables can help create a meal that is more in line with heart-healthy guidelines.

Remember, while some menu items may seem appropriate for particular dietary needs, recipes and preparation methods can change. Patrons should always talk to the server, ask for a manager, or consult a chef to ensure their meals meet their required dietary standards. Additionally, looking at the nutritional information provided on the restaurant's website or in the establishment before dining can further assist guests in making informed decisions.

Frequently asked questions

If you're managing blood cholesterol levels, choose lean cuts of meat like sirloin, and opt for sides rich in fiber such as steamed vegetables. Limit high-cholesterol foods like creamy soups and loaded potato sides. Request information on nutritional content to make informed decisions.

Yes, LongHorn Steakhouse offers a 'Flavorful Under 500' menu, which features meals that are designed to be lower in calories. These options can help guests who are watching their caloric intake enjoy a variety of dishes while dining out.

For healthier beverage options at LongHorn Steakhouse, opt for water, unsweetened iced tea, or black coffee. These choices are calorie-free and can help avoid the added sugars found in sweetened drinks and cocktails.

For a heart-healthy diet at LongHorn Steakhouse, select lean proteins, ask for sauces and dressings on the side, choose steamed vegetables over fried sides, and control portion sizes by considering half portions or sharing dishes. Always be mindful of the sodium content of your selections.

Ask a question about LongHorn Steakhouse and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased caloric intake
  • saturated fat consumption
  • added sugar intake
  • high sodium levels

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • metabolic issues
  • hypertension
  • cardiovascular health concerns

Ingredients to be aware of


  • lean protein sources
  • nutrient-rich options
  • dietary restriction accommodations

Healthier alternatives

  • half portions
  • vegetable-based sides
  • leaner cuts of meat
  • salads
  • fresh fruit
  • unsweetened drinks

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-22-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-22-2024

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