America’s Unhealthiest Fast-Food Items
Quick: which fast-food sandwich do you think has more fat and calories, a McDonald’s Big Mac or Wendy’s Asiago Ranch Chicken Club? If you guessed the Big Mac, you’d be wrong by nearly 10 grams of fat and almost 200 calories.
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The Big Mac is still the standard-bearer of fattening fast-food sandwiches, but in reality, these days it doesn’t hold a candle to some of the other offerings out there. As the American palate demands larger and larger portions of food, packed with as many toppings as possible, fast-food chains have been more than happy to rise to the occasion. In the 1960s the concept of a burger with 93 grams of fat and 1,300 calories was unheard of (original McDonald’s hamburgers only contain 9 grams of fat and 250 calories), but that’s exactly what’s on offer at Hardee’s, by way of their Monster Thickburger. And if you had told someone 30 years ago that a salad could contain more than 40 grams of fat they’d have laughed at you, but that was long before Taco Bell introduced their Fiesta Taco Salad with beef.
And while burgers tend to get most of the attention when it comes to calorie overload, there are plenty of super-unhealthy items rounding out menus at the fast-food chain near you, especially breakfast items. McDonald’s breakfast items, for example, generally pack in as much fat and calories as Big Macs, and while Hardee’s Breakfast Bowl might be advertised as "low carb," it still manages a whopping 61 grams of fat.
While it might not be super-easy to discern which fast-food items are better for you than others, there are a few common-sense giveaways. First of all, whenever something has more than one type of meat (especially if advertised as "Meat Lover’s" or the like), that’s a sure sign of calorie overload. Also, the more ingredients piled in, the more calories, so maybe next time you’re at Chipotle you should forego the sour cream and cheese. And one beef patty will generally suffice.
We took a look at the menus of the major chains, and have assembled a roundup of the least healthy fast-food items out there. Maybe next time you’ll think twice before ordering that Baconator!
Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.