This is Why You’re Fat: Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt

The food industry has learned something from offering over-the-top menu items loaded with fat, sugar, and calories:  it gets press.  The KFC Double Down created quite a stir in the media and in blogging circles.  People noticed.  So now we're getting copycats.  Welcome to the Denny's Fried Cheese Melt. The lovely meal consists of fried cheese sticks set within a grilled cheese sandwich.  Layers of cheese and oils.  One upon the other.  It comes with marinara sauce on the side (willing to bet that's loaded with sugar) and, of course, fries.   The plate tops out at 1,260 calories!  It debuts Tuesday at Denny's everywhere. I have received the nutritional information from Denny's!  It's listed below. Fried Cheese Melt with Fries & Marinara
  • Serving Size:  17 oz
  • Calories: 1,260
  • Fat:  63 g
  • Trans Fat : 1 g
  • Sat Fat: 21 g
  • Chol: 75 mg
  • Sodium: 3010 mg
  • Carbs: 131 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 40 g
  • Sugar: 8g
There are people questioning the numbers though ... DietsInReview is estimating the calorie count at over 1,900 calories. What do you think of the food industry trend of going with "shock and awe" dishes?  What kind of message is this sending? Thanks, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.


21 Responses to This is Why You’re Fat: Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt

  1. Julie August 22, 2010 at 6:41 pm #

    Holy Smokes – this is crazy! No wonder our obesity rates are astronomical. Thanks for the article.

  2. FatGirlsCanRun August 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    OK, I’ll admit. I love grilled cheese. And I harbor a hidden love for the fried cheese stick. But these are not two tastes that taste great together. Even if I was going for fat and calories, I just could not bring myself to order this!

  3. Art August 22, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    That looks insane and delicious. And that is the problem.

  4. Ashley August 22, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    I really don’t think shock-and-awe dishes (love the phrase) are to blame for this country’s obesity problem. I think it has more to do with mindless eating, day in and day out … prepackaged cookies and snack cakes, sugary cereals for breakfast, processed/frozen foods for dinner and lunch, crackers, cookies and chips while you’re watching TV.

    I know the argument is “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,” but I just don’t think these dishes are to blame. No one eats those all the time. They other crap that doesn’t get as much press but does just as much damage.

  5. Duong sheahan August 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    This is just gross. But as consumers…until we resist this type of food that’s put our country on the top unhealthiest nation list…restaurants and companies will keep coming up with ways to make money at the expense of America’s health.

  6. Lisa Johnson August 22, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    Ashley, I get where you’re coming from, in the end we do most damage to our bodies on the day to day “extra” calories that creep on relentlessly. That being said, I’m taking the opportunity to make a point and get people to think about what’s on their plate. And although most restaurant meals aren’t in the 1,900 calorie range lots of them are way higher than people think they are. So the next time you’re at a restaurant, think about how many calories you’re really ordering.

    Duong, when someone gets this much press for putting out a healthy dish, that’ll be a good day.


  7. duongsheahan August 22, 2010 at 11:32 pm #

    I would love to see that!!! :)

  8. Amy August 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    This is beyond gross. It goes beyond obesity. Maybe speaking from someone that cannot consume dairy and other foods because of digestion problems, but I would be curious to know how a normal person(one that doesn’t have any food issues) feels after eating something like that.

    People need to be made aware that it’s not just about how you look on the outside. But those foods also damage your insides too. I am starting to think that before people have kids, they should see a dietician so you don’t feel kids this kind of junk.

    Ashley- I have to disagree with you because these dishes are part of the blame. People do consume fast food and take out restaurants not just once a week. And I can understand why they can. If you could get a hamburger, french fries and soda for only $3.00 and you didn’t realize the danger of what you’re eating, why wouldn’t you?

    Yes, Lisa, as a vegetarian I would love if someone gave publicity to kale or a salad like the way they do with unhealthy food.

  9. Lisa Johnson August 23, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Actually, technically Amy I think this meal is vegetarian, unless they fry the mozzarella sticks in animal fats … hmmm. Somehow that makes it more gross to me. I don’t think we need education at the adult level, I think we need education in the schools, at the child level. I think it should start in Kindergarten. I want to see more vegetable gardens and cooking classes and that sort of thing … we might have lost the adult generations but we can definitely get to the kids. Just talk to a kid for a few minutes about nutrition and they get it. My son is always coming back to me with stuff I said to him, sometimes months before. They want to be healthy and strong …

  10. Amy August 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    Lisa- that is awesome! I just think that even if you educate a kid, it is going to be the mom or dad buying the groceries and if you don’t have a lot of money and have problems with money, it is ultimately up to the parent what he/she is going to buy.

    Ya I guess the meal is vegetarian in the sense that it doesn’t have meat. But you’re right, that makes it even grosser to me.

  11. Lisa Johnson August 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Amy, the Let’s Move plan put forth by Michelle Obama has pressure from both ends. It’s aim is to eliminate childhood obesity in one generation and it’s literally got a 70 pronged approach. Part of it is school lunch programs, part of it is food manufacturer guidelines, part of it is school education and part of it is educating parents … it’s a deeply complicated issue that needs to be approached from many angles.

    While it’s easy to wave a hand and say, just make the parents give the kids good food. It’s really a lot trickier than that. There are social mores, lapses in good habits, educational issues, it’s really a huge complicated issue … honestly if Michelle Obama pulls this off she deserves a Nobel Prize. (I’m not kidding)

  12. Amy August 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    I really respect the first lady for all that she is trying to do and I completely agree with you :)

  13. Tammy August 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    I think it’s great we’re starting to at least talk about this stuff. I think this is disturbing. Ashley like others I was drawn to your comment. I completely agree with your statement about prepackaged foods, it is the mindless eating we do that is propelling us into a world of obesity, but I have to disagree that this type of meal is not part of the problem. I call this type of meal the runway of fast foods. It’s the extreme of fast food, people may not eat it everyday, but it draws attention for the restaurants and then people eat the toned down version of these foods. Often even when having to eat at restaurants and we think we’re eating healthy we’re not. Of course we all make choices, and I’m a conscious effort to teach my children healthy habits-but it’s going to be a battle! I’m writing a post about this stuff right now, so thank you Lisa for inspiring me to get going and finishing it!

  14. Lisa Johnson August 23, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    Thanks Tammy for adding your voice, when you get the post done let me know and I’ll tweet it out for you! :-)

  15. Jennifer August 23, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    Imagine how many people wouldn’t eat this if they disclosed how many calories and fat grams each menu item had underneath the description. It’s amazing to me how quickly calories add up when you eat out. Most people don’t realize exactly what they are eating.

  16. Lisa Johnson August 23, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    Jen, they’ve done this in NYC and studies have shown that it does make a difference. Knowledge is power. :-) Thanks for your comment.

  17. Dave August 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Enjoy your heart disease, America.

  18. Lisa Johnson August 23, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

    True Dave, 6 out of the 10 top causes of death in the US are related to diet …

  19. Deb August 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    wow heard about this thing. It looks grosser than it sounds!

  20. Cesar August 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm #


  21. Lisa Johnson September 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    Wow Cesar, how incredibly enlightened of you …

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