14 Of The Unhealthiest Things To Order At Arby's

Arby's has separated itself in the fast food sphere as the restaurant you go to when you're looking for roasted meat and market-style sandwiches. People gravitate to these tasty menu items, and the sales reflect it. According to Technomic's report on the top 500 chain restaurants in 2022 (via Restaurant Business), Arby's ranked in the top 20. People are busy and on the go, and Arby's provides plenty of quick options for them.

Arby's has captured the attention of the public, but an important question remains: How healthy is its food? A glimpse at the chain's nutrition guide shows several items that shouldn't be deemed healthy by any measure. This picture of poor health becomes clearer when you break down the raw numbers, while also adding context to the ingredients. In this article, we will discuss the unhealthiest items on Arby's menu, and why you should avoid them.

1. Mozzarella sticks

Breaded, salty, deep-fried cheese is a no-no for any healthy diet. Arby's mozzarella sticks have very little nutritional value, yet are incredibly high in calories and sodium. They're on the restaurant's side item menu, and come in 4-piece and 6-piece varieties.

The FDA nutritional labeling guidelines use 2,000 calories as a general benchmark for how many calories people should eat daily. With these guidelines in mind, ordering just four mozzarella sticks accounts for more than 20% of your daily calories. A 4-piece order of mozzarella sticks has 440 calories, while the 6-piece has 650 calories. 

The sodium content is also a problem. The FDA says that people should cap their daily sodium intake at 2,300 milligrams. A small order of Arby's mozzarella sticks comes in at 1,410 milligrams of sodium, while the 6-piece has a staggering 2,110 milligrams. A salty, fatty snack might seem like a harmless treat, but you'll easily surpass your daily sodium intake, putting you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems.

The sticks are fried in corn oil, lots of soy, and include a dipping sauce that adds even more calories and sodium. High amounts of soy are a problem, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, in that it can cause diarrhea and constipation. Pregnant women may also inadvertently cause developmental issues to their fetuses when ingesting too much soy. Fried foods can also clog your arteries over time. The cheese just isn't worth the dip knowing what it does to your health. 

2. Milkshakes

Mint chocolate. Chocolate. Jamocha. Vanilla. The mere mention of these flavors might make your mouth water. Unfortunately for your tastebuds, these milkshake menu items should be limited or eliminated from your intake because of the sheer amount of fat, sugar, and calories that they contain.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), women should limit their daily sugar intake to 25 grams, while men shouldn't exceed 36 grams. Every milkshake at Arby's blows these recommendations out of the water. For instance, the snack version of the mint chocolate shake (which is smaller than the small) has a whopping 52 grams of sugar. The small size features 93 grams of sugar, while the medium has 128 grams, and the large has 161 grams. These shakes are also all high in calories, with the large topping out at 1,131.

The sugar and calorie load, along with high amounts of saturated fat, makes these desserts a contributor to chronic health problems. Because these shakes are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, too many of these shakes can contribute to fatty liver disease and heart disease, according to Hartford Hospital. The tricky part is that it's easy to take in these harmful amounts in mass quantities since you're drinking them, rather than eating them. Adding a milkshake to a meal combo can create a health nightmare; while they may be tasty, it's best to avoid them.

3. Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit

Arby's also has an impressive amount of breakfast options and you can stop by to grab some favorites like the bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. This biscuit is a trifecta of sodium, cholesterol, and calories. It's high in fat and carbs and contains enriched bleached flour, which is linked to the development of diabetes, according to the Biodiversity Journal. This heavily processed flour spikes your insulin levels, which wears down insulin resistance, leaving you feeling hungry and never satisfied. 

If you choose the bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit at Arby's, you're also taking in 1,720 grams of sodium and 470 calories –- all in a small item. According to the restaurant's menu ingredient list, both the egg patty and the breakfast biscuit also contain modified food starch. The Weston A. Price Foundation states that this type of starch can bring unpleasant side effects, like headache and diarrhea. There is never a good time to experience these digestive side effects, but they're even worse when experienced first thing in the morning. Grabbing one or two of these biscuits before work every day will take a toll on your health long-term. There are better ways to start your day, so skip this breakfast item and find a healthier Arby's menu item to tide you over. 

4. Turkey, ranch, and bacon sandwich

Market sandwiches aren't exempt from Arby's unhealthy food list. The turkey, ranch, and bacon sandwich features a staggering 2,520 milligrams of sodium, which exceeds the daily limit. It's also high in fat, carbohydrates, and cholesterol. This isn't a good combination for your heart and can lead to high blood pressure and a litany of other health problems.

When you bite into a turkey, ranch, and bacon sandwich from Arby's, you're sinking your teeth into 810 calories, 34 grams of fat, and 80 milligrams of cholesterol. Taking in too much cholesterol can leave fatty deposits that clog your arteries and constrict your blood vessels, according to Mayo Clinic. In excess, this can lead to blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. These risks become even more severe for people 65 and older. 

The sandwich also features 77 grams of carbohydrates. According to the Cleveland Clinic, eating too many simple carbs can also make you more of a candidate for heart disease and diabetes. This is unlike the complex carbs found in fruits and vegetables, which your body digests more easily, and without the blood sugar spikes. Simple carbohydrates generally don't give you the essential vitamins and minerals that you get from complex carbs, so you're not getting quality nutritional value to make up for this laundry list of potential negative health effects. 

5. Reuben sandwich

The Arby's Corned Beef Reuben sandwich is hefty and meaty, but it also packs in many food compounds that you don't need in your life. This sandwich is one of the unhealthier items because it combines high cholesterol with 2,420 milligrams of sodium. The cheese sauce features maltodextrin, canola oil, artificial coloring, and additives like sodium phosphates, which can spike blood pressure. 

You might know that too much sugar can lead to insulin spikes, which contribute to diabetes. Maltodextrin is an even bigger contributor, because of its higher glycemic index (GI), according to Medical News Today. Eating too many maltodextrin-rich reubens can also throw off your gut bacteria, which contributes to bowel inflammation and poor overall health.

To top it off, the Reuben comes with 80 milligrams of cholesterol, which further puts your heart at risk. Though this sandwich features a hefty 680 calories, you might feel hungry a few hours later due to a spike in insulin levels.

6. Half pound beef 'n cheddar

This Arby's sandwich is a loaded half-pound of beef and cheddar cheese that includes a number of unhealthy attributes. It has 740 calories and blows right past the daily recommended sodium limit, at 2,530 milligrams –- all in a single menu item. 

This beef and cheddar sandwich is drenched in Thousand Island dressing, which includes corn syrup as an ingredient. The addition of the dressing gives the sandwich a higher sugar content than you'd find with other savory sandwiches.

Though the beef and cheddar features a half-pound of food, the insulin spikes from the corn syrup and carbs might still prevent the sandwich's 680 calories from keeping you full and satisfied. The 48 grams of simple carbohydrates also lead to glycemic index spikes. 

The Half Pound Beef 'n Cheddar also features nitrites. Nitrites and nitrate food additives are often used to cure meat, but they also pose a cancer risk, according to the International Journal of Epidemiology. The associations between prostate and breast cancer risks are cause for concern in a world where these forms of cancer are rampant. This combination of factors leads to chronic health issues, making this menu item a half-pound hard pass.

7. Half pound roast beef

This sandwich is yet another heavyweight, delivering half a pound of sliced roast beef. Like other sandwiches in its weight class, Arby's Half Pound Roast Beef is also a knockout combination of sodium and additives. In addition to the large amount of beef that features unhealthy nitrites, this sandwich also features more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium. According to the National Library of Medicine, people should cap their saturated fat limit at 22 grams per day. The half-pound roast beef features more than half of the daily saturated fat limit, at 12 grams.

To top it off, the Arby's sauce alone adds another 180 milligrams of sodium, while the Horsey Sauce adds 150 milligrams. It's also a half-pound powerhouse of carbohydrates, with 38 grams per sandwich. The insulin spikes, mixed with the density of the beef can make you feel sluggish and lack energy, which is the opposite of what healthy food does.

8. Chicken tenders

Fried, white meat chicken is a treat for the tastebuds, but it can be quite the opposite for your health. The 3-piece nuggets features 1190 milligrams of sodium and a massive 60 milligrams of cholesterol. The 5-piece nuggets are even worse, with nearly 2,000 milligrams of sodium and 100 milligrams of cholesterol.

The tenders are deep-fried in cooking oil, and have 18 to 30 milligrams of fat depending on the number you order. They feature unhealthy processed food items like bleached wheat flour and blood pressure-boosting additives like sodium phosphate.

For such small menu items, Arby's chicken tenders also have a high calorie content. The 3-piece tender has 370 calories, while the 5-piece chicken tender brings 610 calories. It's also a carb-heavy snack, featuring 28 grams of carbohydrates for the 3-piece and 47 grams of carbohydrates for the 5-piece chicken tenders.

This menu item creates further health issues if you, like most people, have a favorite dipping sauce that you eat with your tenders. Arby's has four dipping sauce options — tangy barbecue, buffalo, honey mustard, and ranch. The tangy barbecue sauce brings another 45 calories and 360 milligrams of sodium. With the buffalo sauce, you're eating another 10 calories from fat, along with 720 milligrams of sodium. The honey mustard sauce has 130 calories (120 calories from fat), and 160 milligrams of sodium, and the ranch sauce has 100 calories and 135 milligrams of sodium. To top it off, the dipping sauces are made with high-fructose corn syrup.

9. Soda and other sweet beverages

Arby's, like all fast food restaurants, has partnerships with soda companies. Because of this, you have several options for fountain drinks to add to any combo meal.

The fountain sodas are incredibly high in sugar and feature artificial flavors and colors. There are a variety of soda options, many of which feature 10% or more of your daily required calorie intake, without any nutritional value.

For example, Barq's Root Beer has 44 grams of sugar in the 13-ounce drink, while the 18-ounce Barq's has 62 grams of sugar. The 13-ounce Hi-C Flashin' Fruit Punch has 45 grams of sugar, while the 18-ounce version has 63 grams of sugar.

Taking in these large amounts of unnecessary added sugar makes you more susceptible to blood sugar spikes, while also raising blood pressure, causing inflammation, and putting you at risk for diabetes. These qualities are bad enough in a vacuum, but when you add the fact that these sodas accompany a typically unhealthy combo meal, the negatives are multiplied. Even the small version is bigger than a can of soda, which is 12 ounces. The restaurant also offers unlimited refills for customers dining in. This equals a wash, rinse, and repeat of poor health decisions. 

10. Curly fries

Combo meals come with curly fries –- another menu item that does more harm than good. They range in size, from snack size to large, all of which are high in calories and sodium. The snack size with a paltry serving weight of just 77 grams, still packs on 250 calories, 120 of them from fat. This is in addition to 570 milligrams of sodium. 

A small order of curly fries has 410 calories and 940 milligrams of sodium, while the medium comes with 550 calories and 1,250 milligrams of sodium. Large curly fries have 650 calories and 1,480 milligrams of sodium. These are outrageous amounts for an item that is a side and not a main course. 

Curly fries are also high in carbohydrates, ranging from 29 grams for the snack size order, and 77 grams for the large. These simple carbs will spike your hunger signals, which can cause accidental overeating. The fries are also high in fat, with a large order delivering 35 grams. 

They are also deep-fried in potentially unhealthy oils, such as cottonseed oil. According to a study published in the International Journal of Toxicology, cottonseed oil features a chemical called gossypol, which is linked to causing infertility. When you throw in the fact that a ketchup packet adds another 85 milligrams of sodium, it's best to skip the fries or keep consumption to a minimum. 

11. Chicken Bacon Ranch Loaded Mac 'n Cheese

Just about every word of this menu item leaves clues for how unhealthy it is for you. Arby's Chicken Bacon Ranch Loaded Mac 'n Cheese is also loaded with calories, fat, saturated fat, and a staggering 2,222 milligrams of sodium.

It comes with 780 calories, 430 of them from fat. This menu item also delivers 47 grams of fat and 17 grams of saturated fat. The Chicken Bacon Ranch Loaded Mac 'n Cheese has a higher cholesterol content than most of the menu, coming in at 100 milligrams.

The ingredients list for the white cheddar sauce reveals that there are plenty of additives and highly processed items like maltodextrin, enriched macaroni product, and sodium phosphate. Too much maltodextrin and enriched pasta will cause glycemic index spikes, while sodium phosphate can cause kidney damage, according to the National Library of Medicine. This is a definite no-no for people with existing kidney issues. 

12. Double sausage gravy biscuit

If you're pulling up to an Arby's that serves breakfast, the Double Sausage Gravy Biscuit isn't a meal that you'll want to start your day with. In fact, it's arguably the unhealthiest item on Arby's menu. This breakfast biscuit features 970 calories, which is nearly half your daily intake, along with 56 grams of fat, and a staggering 3,540 milligrams of sodium. This sodium content is through the roof if you eat one of these biscuits, so imagine how much of a toll this takes on your heart and blood pressure if you make it a go-to item that you eat for breakfast daily or several times per week.

With 96 grams of carbohydrates, you're also starting your day with blood sugar spikes that can confuse your hunger signals and make you feel sluggish. This is the exact opposite of what breakfast is supposed to do for you. If you're trying to get your nutrition in order and are in search of the breakfast for champions, this isn't it, and this biscuit should be avoided at all costs.

13. Crispy chicken club wrap

The Arby's crispy chicken club wrap makes the list largely because of its calorie and sodium content. This wrap has 880 calories, with half of them from fat. It also features 1,870 milligrams of sodium. The cholesterol content for this wrap is one of the highest on the menu, coming in at 97 milligrams.

It also has a considerable fat content, with 49 grams of fat and 14 grams of saturated fat. The wrap packs on the carbohydrates, too, with 64 grams. When you order this wrap, every bite is dripping with high fructose corn syrup thanks to the addition of Dijon honey mustard dressing. To top it off, the chicken is fried, rather than baked or grilled. Even the 12 grams of sugar is on the high side for this section of the menu. The food industry has too many healthier wrap options for you to consider than this version from Arby's.

14. Apple and cherry turnovers

With Arby's apple turnover, you're getting sugar, spice, and little to no nutritional value. These little dessert items carry big calories, with 430  on them -– and 160 of these calories are from fat. It features 18 grams of fat with 9 grams of saturated fat. Though these menu items are small add-ons, they still deliver 210 milligrams of sodium and 65 grams of carbohydrates. You're also ingesting 39 grams of sugar. 

The cherry turnover is much of the same, with 390 calories, and 120 of those calories from fat. This dessert item has 13 grams of fat with 6 grams of saturated fat. You're ingesting 200 milligrams of sodium, along with 65 grams of total carbohydrates. It also features 40 grams of sugar. 

Like other dessert menu items from Arby's, these turnovers are rich in high fructose corn syrup. They are also made with enriched flour and genetically modified corn, which affect your body's ability to absorb these food items. The blood sugar hit isn't worth adding either of these turnovers to your order.