McDonald’s, the largest fast food chain in the world, is no health food store. It serves greasy French fries, cheeseburgers, and mayo-slathered sandwiches at its many locations worldwide. Although its food isn’t known for being nutritious, it’s expected to be quick, cheap, and fun.
Yet McDonald’s has gotten all kinds of criticism from experts 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, it has taken a number of initiatives to try to improve the healthfulness of its 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 now has less added sugar. But some of its 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.