Fast food isn’t exactly known for being healthy, but there are some menu items that take that reputation to another stratosphere. We’ve scoured the nutrition information supplied by the biggest fast-food chains and have uncovered some options that would leave any dietitian in disbelief.
All but one of the items we’ve chosen for this list pack at least 1,000 calories each, and some of them more than double that tally. From breakfast platters to burgers to frozen treats, here are the worst fast-food items you can find on a menu near you.
McDonald’s: Big Breakfast with Hotcakes and Large Biscuit
They call breakfast the most important meal of the day, but if you choose this platter from McDonald’s, it might be the only one you’ll need all day. This Big Breakfast option comes with hotcakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, butter and a biscuit for good measure. All told, it’s 1,340 calories of morning meal, but a deeper look at the nutrition facts is even more stunning. If you eat it all, you’ll have consumed 155 grams of carbohydrates and 25 grams of saturated fat, which is well over 100% of your daily recommended intake.
Hardee’s: Hardee Breakfast Platter with Sausage
Another way to start your day that won’t please your physician is with this mammoth meal from Hardee’s. If you choose the most unhealthy option of the Hardee Breakfast Platter, you’ll get a biscuit and gravy, two eggs, hash rounds and sausage. It all adds up to 1,150 calories and more than 100% of your daily recommended intake for saturated fat and sodium. You might want to go back to bed after a breakfast that heavy.
Dunkin’: Large Caramel Swirl Frozen Coffee with Cream
I’m not going to lie to you, the frozen coffees at Dunkin’ are some of my favorite drinks on any fast-food menu. But that doesn’t make them a healthy choice. While there are many flavor options and customizations to choose from, the worst iteration you can order, in terms of nutritional value, is the large-sized caramel swirl with added cream. If you grab this coffee drink on your way to work, you’ll be buzzing not only from its caffeine content but also from its 180 grams of carbs and 172 grams of sugar. Considering that 50 grams of sugar is at the highest end of the daily recommended intake, that’s some serious sweetness.
KFC: Three-Piece Nashville Hot Extra Crispy Meal
When KFC introduced its Nashville hot flavor option in 2016, it took its reputation for deep-fried indulgence to a new level. We used the chain’s online nutrition calculator to figure out the most unhealthy individual-size meal option you could currently order. If you pick up a three-piece Nashville hot meal with a breast, thigh and drumstick in the extra crispy option with potato salad, fries and a biscuit as sides, you’ll be adding 2,360 calories to your diet. Fun fact: the 4,940 milligrams of sodium packed into this meal are more than two full days worth of your recommended intake.
Checkers/Rally’s: 20-Piece Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings
The picture shown here is of a 20-piece order of angry Buffalo wings from Checkers/Rally’s, but the garlic parmesan option is the real focus of our entry. Eating 20 chicken wings would be a tall order for many people, and when you get a load of the nutrition facts for this hefty order, you’ll want to think about splitting it. All told, a 20-piece order of garlic parmesan traditional wings has 2,040 calories, which is more than an entire day’s recommended intake. It also has more than the recommended total for two whole days’ worth of sodium and saturated fat.
Jersey Mike’s Subs: Giant Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak on White Bread
The giant-size sub sandwiches at Jersey Mike’s Subs are recommended for serving four people, but given that they measure about 14 inches in length, we’d say serving two people with one would be generous. The giant version of the chain’s Buffalo chicken cheesesteak on white bread is the most obscene item on their menu, in terms of nutritional content. This mammoth sandwich has 1,690 calories and more than three whole days’ worth of recommended sodium. In fact, the 7,024 milligrams of sodium in this item was the highest count we found in any single entree during our research.
Wendy’s: Pretzel Bacon Pub Triple
It was only a few weeks before this writing that Wendy’s introduced its line of pub-inspired burgers with pretzel buns, but one of them immediately vaulted into our rankings. The pretzel bacon pub triple makes the chain’s Baconator look like a dainty side salad by packing three beef patties in with plenty of cheese and other toppings. This burger has 1,520 calories and nearly 2,000 milligrams of sodium. Perhaps its most stunning achievement is containing 45 grams of saturated fat, which is more than twice your daily recommended intake.
Firehouse Subs: Large Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket
I’m going to just go ahead and admit that I’ve eaten this one before, and it is delicious, but I might’ve thought differently if I had looked at the nutrition facts. A large Smokehouse beef and cheddar brisket sandwich from Firehouse Subs will hit you with more than 1,500 calories once you’re all finished. The combination of barbecue sauce, smoked beef brisket, melted cheddar, mayonnaise and the roll adds up to 33 grams of saturated fat and nearly 3,000 milligrams of sodium, both of which are well above your entire daily recommendations. It’s probably a good thing Firehouse Subs doesn’t also offer fries!
Domino’s: Italian Sausage Marinara Penne Pasta Bread Bowl
Who knew that when picking up some Domino’s, the worst individual-sized item you can get wouldn’t have anything to do with pizza? The chain lists the serving size on its pasta bread bowls as half a bowl, but come on. If you were to consume an entire Italian sausage marinara penne pasta bread bowl, you’d be putting away 1,480 calories and 192 grams of carbs. I now feel slightly better about my go-to choice of the Memphis BBQ chicken pizza!
Pizza Hut: 9-Inch Meat Lover’s Personal Panormous Pizza
Pizza Hut likes to say that “No one out-pizzas the Hut,” and that’s true when it comes to this individual-sized pie. Of all the single-serving items on the chain’s menu, the 9-inch meat lover’s personal Panormous pizza is the least healthy. This monstrosity has 1,470 calories in total and a whopping 123 grams of carbs. It’s also got well over your daily recommended values for sodium and saturated fat.
Carl’s Jr.: Spicy Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger
In case you hadn’t noticed the pattern, burgers that are stacked up with multiple patties, cheese and bacon tend to be low in nutritional value. Of course, they are absolutely delicious, which is why they’ll always pop up on fast-food menus. Take the spicy double western bacon cheeseburger at Carl’s Jr., for example. This sandwich has 1,400 calories and 35 grams of saturated fat, making it one of the fattiest burgers on the market.
Carl’s Jr.: Monster Angus Thickburger / Hardee’s: Monster Double Thickburger
Speaking of Carl’s Jr., it has a shared menu item with its partner chain, Hardee’s, that is nearly just as bad for you as the spicy double western bacon cheeseburger. The monster Angus Thickburger — which is called the monster double Thickburger at Hardee’s locations — also has 1,400 calories and 35 grams of saturated fat in its wrapper. The sodium content is slightly lower with this choice but, with 2,780 milligrams, you’d still be getting more than your entire day’s recommendation.
Checkers/Rally’s: Smoky BBQ Bacon Buford Triple
The photo here only shows the double variety of the smoky BBQ bacon Buford from Checkers/Rally’s, but imagine, if you will, a third patty between the buns. It’s also got all the classic staples, including Swiss cheese, bacon, barbecue sauce and mayonnaise for good measure. The smoky BBQ bacon Buford triple will load you down with 1,340 calories and 2,500 milligrams of sodium. If you add a large order of fries onto the order, you might as well let out your pants now.
Chipotle: Steak Salad
As many people who’ve counted calories know, the word “salad” on a restaurant menu can be misleading. You’d expect anything with that magic word in it to automatically be a healthy option, but many salads are covered in toppings that make them worse than other entrees. Case in point: the steak salad option at Chipotle. If you order this item with white rice, black beans, fajita vegetables, roasted chili-corn salsa, sour cream, cheese, guacamole and vinaigrette, you’ll have a meal with 1,305 calories, 117 grams of carbs and more than your entire daily recommendation of sodium and saturated fat.
Wendy’s: Big Bacon Classic Triple
Before the pretzel bacon pub triple rolled into town this year, the big bacon classic triple was the bad burger to beat on the Wendy’s menu. While it has been dethroned, this meaty sandwich is still a brute in terms of its nutrition facts. When you throw three beef patties, three slices of cheese, some bacon and mayonnaise between a couple buns, you get a 1,220-calorie entree. Considering that it’s not recommended to eat more than 2 grams of trans fats per day, the big bacon classic triple’s 4.5 grams will disappoint your cardiologist.
Burger King: Triple Whopper with Cheese
If you see a triple-patty option on a fast-food menu, you can probably bet it will be the least healthy option on the board. Like at rival Wendy’s, that’s the case at Burger King. The ubiquitous chain offers the triple Whopper with cheese, which manages to boast 1,220 calories without even using bacon. We’ll credit Burger King for keeping the sodium content relatively low when compared to other burgers on this list, but the triple Whopper with cheese still drops 32 grams of saturated fat and 4.5 grams of trans fat into your lap.
Burger King: Cheddar Bacon King
Another option from Burger King that’ll stretch your waistband is the cheddar bacon King. This savory sandwich doesn’t even try to fool you into thinking your getting anything healthy, as there isn’t even a slice of lettuce on it. You get 1,190 calories from two patties, two slices of cheese, some bacon, ketchup, mayonnaise and buns. More than 1,900 milligrams of sodium give you 84% of your daily recommended intake, while the 33 grams of saturated fat give you 150% in that category.
Panera: Mac and Cheese Bread Bowl
Panera is one of those restaurants that plays itself off as a haven for health-conscious eaters, but its menu still has its fair share of stunners. Take, for instance, the mac and cheese bread bowl. This heavy entree will give you 164 grams of carbs and 1,180 calories if you manage to finish it all. To Panera’s credit, the saturated fat and trans fat content leave you with some room for the rest of your day, but the 2,270 milligrams of sodium will have you reaching for the blood-pressure pills.
Subway: Footlong Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt
Compared to some of the other sandwiches we’ve featured, Subway’s most unhealthy option seems slightly trim, but its nutritional content is still plenty shocking. If you opt for a chicken and bacon ranch melt on footlong harvest bread, you’ll be consuming 1,160 calories, possibly even more with certain add-ons. You’ll also be getting more than 90% of your daily recommendations for sodium and saturated fat.
Sonic: SuperSonic Bacon Double Cheeseburger with Mayonnaise
Our final entree option comes from Sonic and contains roughly half as many calories as some others we’ve written about, but that doesn’t make it a diet-friendly choice. The SuperSonic bacon double cheeseburger with mayonnaise has 1,030 calories under the wrapper, which doesn’t leave you a ton of room for fries and a milkshake. It packs 54 grams of carbs and 23 grams of saturated fat, which is just over a man’s daily recommended intake of 22 grams.
Five Guys: Large Fries
Now we move on to some of the side items that pack as many calories as — if not more than — an entree. Anyone who has ever eaten at Five Guys knows two things about the fries there: they are delicious, and you get a ton of them. A large order of fries from Five Guys is best split among two people simple because of its sheer volume, but also because it has more than 1,300 calories and nearly 200 grams of carbs. Surprisingly, the sodium content this side packs adds up to less than 60% of your daily recommendation.
Popeyes: 10-Piece Chicken Livers
I grew up eating a lot of Southern cooking, so I know that deep-fried chicken livers are a true delicacy. But I had no idea they were so nutritionally bankrupt! If you get a 10-piece order of livers at Popeyes, which would likely be just an add-on to your normal meal, you’re getting 1,190 calories from that alone. On top of that, you’ll get 90% of your daily sodium recommendation and well over 100% of your daily recommendations for saturated and trans fats.
Dairy Queen: Large Cheese Curds
While those livers are beloved by people in the South, this next fast-food doozy comes from the heart of dairy country. Cheese curds are a classic at the county fair, but Dairy Queen has made them available all year long as part of its menu of hot treats. A large order of cheese curds packs in 1,000 calories on its own, but the most shocking part of its nutrition facts comes when you examine the saturated fat content. These cheesy delights have 38 grams of saturated fat per large order, which is nearly twice the daily recommended limit of 22 grams.
Sonic: Large Chili Cheese Tots
One more side item that no dietitian would recommend comes from Sonic. Does it shock you that something with the words “chili cheese” attached to it would be very bad for you? A large order of chili cheese tots at the drive-in restaurant packs in 960 calories and 92 grams of carbs, which are nightmarish figures for anyone watching theirs. However, the sodium content is even more stunning: With 2,690 milligrams, this side takes you well beyond your daily recommendation all by itself.
Sonic: Large Oreo Peanut Butter Shake
Let’s move on to desserts, where Sonic also has the single worst sweet treat of any of the fast-food menus we browsed. A large Oreo peanut butter shake contains more calories than any of the food items on Sonic’s menu, and more than most items on any menu we checked, for that matter. This drink has a whopping 1,720 calories coming through its straw and into your gut (or thighs, or wherever these things tend to hit you hardest). On top of that, you’re getting 172 grams of carbs, 111 grams of sugar and an incredible 48 grams of saturated fat, which is more than twice your daily recommended intake.
Baskin-Robbins: Large Peanut Butter ‘n Chocolate Milkshake
Another dessert that will hit you with more than twice your daily recommendation of saturated fat is this one from Baskin-Robbins. A large peanut butter ‘n chocolate milkshake comes loaded with 45 grams of saturated fat and 2 grams of trans fat, which also meets your daily recommendation. The 1,670 calories and 174 grams of carbs are also stunning, but its 137 grams of sugar are even more so. That’s equal to roughly 34 teaspoons!
Culver’s: Tall Salted Caramel Concrete Mixer with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Culver’s has its own monstrous sweet treat to contribute to our list. If you roll up to the drive-thru and order a tall salted caramel concrete mixer with Reese’s peanut butter cups mixed in, you’ll be putting a container of 1,630 calories into your cup holder. This frozen custard-based item is really a knockout across the board, as it has 156 grams of sugar to go along with your entire daily recommendation of trans fat and more than twice the daily recommended intake of saturated fat. You also get 198 grams of carbs to boot.
Dairy Queen: Large Royal Rocky Road Trip Blizzard
How could we have a party full of bad fast-food desserts and not invite Dairy Queen? The chain that offers some of the most indulgent ice cream treats on the planet has one for the ages in its royal rocky road trip Blizzard. This version of the classic beloved Blizzard has a core of straight marshmallow filled into the center and surrounded by vanilla soft serve that’s mixed with cocoa fudge, peanuts and brownie pieces. It may sound like the perfect remedy to 2020, but is it worth the 1,510 calories, 151 grams of sugar and 199 grams of carbs it packs? On second thought, don’t answer that.
A&W: Large Chocolate Shake
While the other desserts we’ve featured here have been full of crazy flavors and mix-ins, A&W has kept it simple with its most obscene treat. A simple large chocolate shake from the restaurant chain will stun your system with a remarkable 225 grams of carbs, which is more than any of the other desserts we saw on fast food menus by a decent margin. It also contains 188 grams of sugar, 1,320 calories and an entire day’s worth of saturated fat. But on the bright side, it has 0 grams of trans fat!
McDonald’s: 32-ounce Chocolate Triple Thick Shake
We were somewhat surprised to find that this milkshake from McDonald’s contains more calories than any individual item on the fast-food giant’s entire menu. A 32-ounce chocolate triple thick shake offers you 1,150 calories in a single cup. This decadent dessert is loaded with 152 grams of sugar that adds up to its mammoth total of 203 grams of carbs. Those totals make the shamrock shake seem like a dieter’s dream.