Will Cheesecake Factory's "SkinnyLicious" menu live up to its name?

Many of America's favorite places where diners can indulge in high-fat, calorie-loaded, sodium-stacked, multiple-ingredient fare seem to be cleaning up their menus. The latest on the list to go lighter is Cheesecake Factory.

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The restaurant chain, which already has a book-like menu full of foods from over-sized salads to a large variety of cheesecakes and other desserts, will soon offer customers a new "SkinnyLicious" menu with lower-calorie selections.

Will the SkinnyLicious foods live up to their new title? The items, which will roll out at each franchise over the next two months, will include 12 appetizers under 490 calories and 15 entrees under 590 calories. Cheesecake Factory CEO David Overton said the menu has incorporated simple changes, like subbing fresh vegetables for potatoes on some entrees, reducing the amount of cheese sprinkled on tacos, and replacing regular mayonnaise with light mayo.

The switches add up to something "astounding", Dave Zinczenko, author of Eat This, Not That said on a "Today" show segment about the new menu. (Watch below.) He cited the herb-crusted fillet of salmon, made over from more than 1,400 calories and a whopping 108 grams of fat to 540 calories and a third of the fat.

The change, Overton noted, comes in an attempt to appeal to the masses.

"It's something America wants. When you're in this business, you have to please as many people as you can," he said.

But what about what this country, locked tight in an obesity epidemic, needs? Is an additional lighter menu at a restaurant that boasts so many other treats enough?

"I hate to criticize a company for moving in the right direction," Bonnie Liebman, the nutrition director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest told USA Today, but "maybe this should become their main menu."

Would you order from the "SkinnyLicious" menu to justify having a slice of cheesecake for dessert?

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