The Unhealthiest McDonald's Menu Items Gallery

McDonald's, the largest fast food chain in the world, is no health food store. They serve greasy French fries, cheeseburgers, and mayo-slathered sandwiches at their many locations worldwide. Their food isn't known for being nutritious; instead, it's expected to be quick, cheap, and fun.

Yet McDonald's has gotten all kinds of criticism from experts and media voices for selling what's thought of as unhealthy food. With good reason — foods like hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and ice cream are delicious, but if you eat them in excess and don't supplement your diet with other foods, you're bound to have some health problems. Fried and sugary foods can have adverse effects on your blood pressure, your heart health, and even your risk of diabetes or cancer.

To McDonald's credit, they've taken a number of initiatives to try to improve the healthfulness of their menu options. Recently, cheeseburgers were taken off the displayed Happy Meal menu, replaced by grilled chicken. The portion size of Happy Meal fries was reduced, and the chain's chocolate milk was altered to include less added sugar. But some of their menu items are still heavy with fat, calories, and sodium.

We looked through McDonald's posted nutritional info and selected some of the unhealthiest items. We figure you're probably going into the fast food restaurant with some vague idea of what you want to eat — and when you compare a salad with a Quarter Pounder, you probably already know which is the more nutritious choice. So we broke it down by category and found the unhealthiest options in each. Here are the unhealthiest McDonald's menu items.

Breakfast: Hotcakes and Sausage

This menu item might sound sexy, but it certainly won't turn you into a hotcake. This breakfast of buttered pancakes and sausage has 790 calories and 35 grams of fat. Most alarmingly, the sweet menu item has 45 grams of sugar.

Breakfast: Big Breakfast With Hotcakes

When nutritionists recommended you eat a big breakfast, this was not what they had in mind. On the McDonald's menu, meals truly do not get bigger than the Big Breakfast. This order, which comes with pancakes, scrambled eggs, a biscuit, syrup, hash browns, and a sausage patty, has 1,350 calories, 65 grams of fat, and nearly 90 percent of your recommended daily limit of sodium. That's enough to send anyone's blood pressure through the roof.

Burgers: Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese

A regular cheeseburger from McDonald's actually doesn't amount to very many calories at all. But a Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese? That's another story. This burger is piled high with not one, but two beef patties, two slices of processed cheese, and condiments galore. The result? A whopping 770 calories and 45 grams of fat worth of greasy, meaty goodness.

Burgers: Sweet BBQ Bacon Burger

If you're trying to avoid the side effects of eating too much red meat, you might not want to pick this menu option. Decked out with a quarter pound of beef, melted cheese, thick slices of bacon, and deep-fried onions, it's not easy on the arteries. This burger has 770 calories and 40 grams of fat. The kicker for your ticker? It also has 18 grams of sugar — probably from all that sugary barbecue sauce.

Chicken & Sandwiches: Pico Guacamole Buttermilk Crispy Chicken

The guacamole might have some good fats from avocado, but that might not be enough to salvage this deep-fried, sauce-slathered sandwich. Between layers of McDonald's buttermilk ranch sauce, there's a thick chunk of fried chicken, white cheddar cheese, and lots of guacamole. Order this sandwich with grilled chicken instead, if you want to save yourself some saturated fat. This order has 720 calories, 34 grams of fat, and 1,380 milligrams of sodium.

Chicken & Sandwiches: Sweet BBQ Bacon With Buttermilk Crispy Chicken

Almost everything stuffed between these two burger buns is fried. Fried chicken, bacon, fried crispy onions... Add the cheese and the sweet barbecue sauce and you're left with 830 calories of greasy goodness. This might not be an everyday kind of order.

Salads: Southwest Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Salad

You're not skimping on much if you're ordering this salad. If you've selected it for health reasons, you may as well get a burger. Though it's not an unhealthy option, per se, it is more caloric and fat-heavy than some other non-salad options. The Southwest Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Salad has 520 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 960 milligrams of sodium.

Snacks & Sides: World Famous Fries

McDonald's world-famous fries might not be cooked in beef fat anymore, but that doesn't make them healthy. These crispy, delicious French fries just can't compete nutritionally with the other sides on McDonald's menu, like the apple slices or yogurts. Of course, if you're ordering the fries, it's not because you're trying to get your daily vitamins. These fries have nearly 20 ingredients, some of which are chemical; they also have 230 calories and 11 grams of fat in a small order. Opt for the large and you're eating 510 calories and 24 grams of fat — that's more calories than some of the chain's meal options. But, come on — live a little. A couple of fries won't hurt you, unless you've got some serious medical concerns to account for — but avoiding the fries entirely just might drive you crazy once you watch everyone else chowing down.

Desserts & Shakes: McFlurry With M&M’s Candies

Who's trying to skimp on calories when ordering dessert? According to some nutritionists, that's a little misguided. Eat what you crave and don't regret it. But if you're fretting over added sugars and other nutrition facts while enjoying decadent dessert, here's the heaviest item on their dessert menu: the McFlurry with M&M's Candies. The regular size of this rainbow-colored dessert has 630 calories and 86 grams of sugar.

Drinks: Chocolate Shake

I mean, sure. A milkshake is technically a drink. But when viewed in parallel with menu items like water and orange juice, this beverage doesn't stand a chance. The vanilla ice cream they use to blend might be the reduced-fat kind, but McDonald's certainly didn't reduce any sugars in the formula. There are 74 grams of sugar in the Chocolate Shake, all mixed into 530 calories' worth of ice cream, syrup, and whipped cream.

McCafé: Caramel Frappé

If you're visiting the McCafé for an energizing pick-me-up, you might do well to avoid anything topped with whipped cream. But if you're there for an afternoon sweet treat, by all means treat yourself. If you want to avoid post-indulgence guilt, here's your calorie-count warning. This blended beverage has 420 calories and 55 grams of sugar. If your sweet tooth isn't satisfied after finishing this off, there might be something wrong with your taste buds... Or you could be in the midst of a sugar overload. Here are some other sure signs it's time to cut back.

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