IHOP made waves when it announced on Twitter that it was changing its name to IHOb—a move that prompted some faux-outrage and angst (at least on social media). The “b” stood for burgers—it was adding seven “steakhouse” burgers to its menu.
Since we live a PR-driven world of perpetual April fools-style gimmicks, the whole thing was a marketing stunt. IHOb almost immediately reverted to IHOP, and it's not yet clear if the whole charade boosted the company's bottom line.
But it’s a safe bet that more people than ever before are wondering what’s on IHOP’s menu and whether any of those foods are healthy. Fret not. We’ve got you covered.
Jim White, R.D.N., is a certified exercise physiologist and owner of Jim White Fitness Studios. Here, he breaks down the healthiest and unhealthiest options in a variety of categories on IHOP’s menu—starting with those infamous new burgers.
The Classic Hamburger vs. The Mega Monster Cheeseburger
“The Classic is clearly the more healthy option between the two,” White says. Order the Classic without cheese, and you’ll consume nearly half the calories and fully half the fat of the Mega Monster. “The Mega Monster also contains 1.5 grams of trans fat and double the sodium, carbohydrates, and sugars as the Classic,” White says.
Original French Toast vs. Stuffed French Toast with Peach Vanilla Topping
“In the French toast category, the calories jump significantly higher from the healthiest to the unhealthiest option on the menu,” White says. While the Original French Toast clocks in at 740 calories, the Stuffed French Toast with Peach Vanilla Topping packs 1,080 calories. But the real issue here is the sugar; while the Original French Toast has 28 g—a lot, but not crazy—the Stuffed French Toast with that peach topping has 89 g of sugar. And all that’s BEFORE you add syrup. Yikes.
Original Buttermilk Pancakes vs. Belgian Chocolate Pancakes
“The serving size is different for the two dishes—three buttermilk pancakes compared to four chocolate pancakes,” White points out. So that’s something to keep in mind from the get-go. “The Belgian Chocolate Pancakes have almost triple the calories of the Original Buttermilk Pancakes”—1070 calories versus 430—“more than double the total fat, and more than triple the saturated fat,” he says. “The sodium levels are dramatically different as well, with the chocolate pancakes almost doubling the sodium content of the buttermilk pancakes.” Maybe most concerning: The sugar content of the Belgian Chocolate Pancakes (62 g) is “an astonishing” five-times greater than the Original Buttermilk Pancakes (12 g), he says.
Cesar Salad with Grilled Chicken vs. Cobb Salad with Crispy Chicken
When it comes to IHOP salads, it’s easy to be misled by the menu descriptions. While a Cobb salad may seem like a healthier choice than a Caesar, just the opposite is true when you break down the nutritional info. The Caesar Salad contains far fewer calories than the Cobb Salad—700 versus 1250—and roughly half the total fat, White says. Both salads are loaded with sodium—2,530 mg for the Cesar versus 2,350 mg for the Cobb salad. But the Cobb packs more sugar and almost 50% more carbs. “The grilled chicken Caesar salad is the healthier option, but the nutrition facts are nowhere near as dramatic as some of the other menu items,” White says.
Egg White Vegetable Omelet vs. Cheeseburger Omelet
OK, you probably don’t need White to explain to you which of these is healthier. The calories and total fat in the Cheeseburger Omelet more than quadruple those in the Egg White Vegetable Omelet. (1,450 versus just 330.) But the discrepancy between their sodium and carb contents is just as striking, White says. While the cheeseburger monstrosity contains a staggering 3,380 mg of sodium and 54g of carbohydrates, the Egg White Omelet packs a modest 790 mg sodium and 13g of carbs.
Bacon Crusted Chicken Breast with Potato Hash vs. Roasted Turkey and Fixings
This one’s a shocker. We don’t know what they put in that turkey gravy, but the Roasted Turkey and Fixings packs 106g of carbs and 38g sugars compared to just 44g and 5g, respectively, in the Bacon Crusted Chicken Breast. In terms of calories, fat, and sodium, “the other nutrition fact numbers are all relatively close,” White says. You know you wanted to order the bacon dish anyway. Go for it.
Bonus ‘Just Don’t Order This’ Item: Banana Crepes with Nutella
“This last item is somewhat of a nutrition nightmare,” White says. Tuck into the Banana Crepes with Nutella, and you’ll consume more than 1,000 calories, 120g of carbs, and 67g of sugar—“all in one plate!” White says. Unless it’s your birthday or you just finished an Iron Man, you probably don’t deserve a treat this decadently bad for you.