It wasn’t so long ago when few would consider fast-food restaurants to be breakfast destinations, places to relax over a hearty platter of pancakes, sausage, eggs, and the like. But over the years the majority of major chains have gotten in on the breakfast game, and now there’s a lot more than just the Egg McMuffin out there. We looked at the breakfast offerings from 10 major fast-food chains, and tracked down the unhealthiest breakfast offering at each of them.
Fast-Food breakfasts make sense for a number of reasons. First, and most importantly, they’re convenient. Many are hand-held, and can be quickly picked up on the way to work and eaten in the car. Second, it’s served at a time when the restaurant would otherwise be closed, giving them the opportunity to make money during a different time of day (called a ‘daypart’). Third, the ingredients — eggs, ham, English muffins, and the like — are easy to source and employees don’t require much additional training in order to prepare the menu items. In the end, it’s a win-win for everybody — except for your waistline.
It’s no surprise that fast food, for the most part, is unhealthy, but it might come as a shock to learn just how unhealthy some fast-food breakfasts are. Sure, a traditional Egg McMuffin (the standard-bearer of breakfast sandwiches) only contains 290 calories and 12 grams of fat, but their steak, egg, and cheese bagel contains a whopping 680 calories and 35 grams of fat (more than a Quarter Pounder with bacon and cheese), and that isn’t even the chain’s unhealthiest offering!
Healthy or unhealthy, fast food breakfasts don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. Since the fast-food breakfast was invented in 1969 with the release of Jack in the Box’s Breakfast Jack (ham, egg, and cheese on a bun) and brought mainstream with the rollout of the Egg McMuffin three years later, it’s caught on like wildfire. The newest entrant into the breakfast scene is Taco Bell, which rolled out 13 new breakfast items last month, their biggest menu expansion ever, with new items including a waffle taco, A.M Crunchwraps, and Cinnabon Delights.
So before you drive up to your favorite chain for your next breakfast, check out our ranking of the 10 unhealthiest fast-food breakfasts, ordered according to the number of calories.
10) Starbucks: Sausage and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich
Sausage, egg, and cheddar on an English muffin
Fat: 28 grams
Sodium: 920 milligrams
Saturated Fat: 9 grams
Cholesterol: 165 milligrams
9) Dunkin Donuts: Big N’ Toasted
Eggs, bacon, and cheese on Texas toast
Fat: 28 grams
Sodium: 1,360 milligrams
Saturated Fat: 10 grams
Cholesterol: 110 milligrams