Fast food, in all its greasy glory, tends to get a pretty bad rap. And no wonder: For the most part, fast food chains’ offerings are loaded with fat, calories, and cholesterol, and contain very little in the way of nutrients. But there’s another health hazard lurking in your fast food as well: sodium, and a lot of it. We checked out the nutritional information for 11 leading fast food chains and identified the saltiest items on each of their menus.
According to the Food & Drug Administration, we should be limiting our sodium content to about 2,400 milligrams per day, or about one teaspoon of salt. Americans, however, tend to consume way too much sodium (about 3,300 milligrams per day), which can lead to high blood pressure, and the bulk of the sodium we consume comes not from the salt shaker, but from restaurant and packaged foods.
The reason why sodium raises your blood pressure is pretty straightforward: “Sodium attracts water and a high-sodium diet draws water into the bloodstream, which increases the volume of blood and over time can increase your blood pressure. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) forces the heart to work harder and can damage blood vessels and organs — increasing your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke,” according to the FDA.
So the next time you’re at your favorite fast food restaurant, you might want to think twice before ordering the following items, which are loaded with sodium. Some of these items exceed the daily recommended allowance all by themselves! Read on to learn what the saltiest menu item is at 11 fast food chains, along with lower-sodium alternatives.
The saltiest item on the small menu at In-N-Out is the Double Double, which contains 1,440 milligrams of sodium. A plain hamburger, for comparison, contains 660 milligrams.
The Bacon Clubhouse Crispy Chicken Sandwich contains the most sodium out of any item on the McDonald’s menu, with 1,720 milligrams. Opt for the Premium Grilled Chicken Classic instead, which contains only 820 milligrams.