The Unhealthiest Fast Food Items In America

According to a study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over 85 million Americans eat fast food every single day. Fast food is an integral part of the American diet with fast food establishments on street corners across the country.

While some of these quick dining locations are changing their menus to add healthier alternatives, there are others where health goes out the window. Restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell have a lot of unhealthy menu items with high trans fats, sodium, sugar, and more. Keep reading to find out which menu items are the most unhealthy.

The Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito

a taco bell grilled cheese burrito with a green drink on a table
Taco Bell
Taco Bell

Global News recommends that people eat between 500 and 700 calories for their lunch and dinner. Taco Bell’s Grilled Cheese Burrito comes to a total of 710 calories. There are also 39 grams of fat, 1,490 milligrams of sodium, and 64 grams of carbs.

This giant burrito is filled with seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, a three-cheese blend, red tortilla chips, seasoned rice, sour cream, and chipotle sauce. While cheese lovers may want to try this dish, it is certainly one of the unhealthiest items on the Taco Bell menu.

The Burger King Triple Whopper With Cheese

a burger king triple whopper with cheese on a sesame seed bun with lettuce, mayo, tomatoes, onions, and pickles
Burger King
Burger King

The most popular menu item at Burger King has always been their signature hamburger, the Whopper. They took that idea and made it a lot less nutritious with the Triple Whopper with cheese. It’s called a Triple Whopper because it contains three quarter-pound patties.

Fast Food Nutrition found that the Triple Whopper with cheese contains 1,216 calories and 60 percent of those calories come from fat. It also has 1,470 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbs, 4.5 grams of trans fats, and 32 grams of saturated fat.

A Large Order Of Five Guys Fries

french fries and ketchup from five guys against a red background
Five Guys
Five Guys

It’s almost weird to order a burger and not get a side of fries. Fast food chain Five Guys has one of the largest options of fries that comes to a total of 1,314 calories. The fries also have 57 grams of fat, 1,327 milligrams of sodium, and 181 grams of carbs.

The large order of fries at Five Guys actually has more calories than their burgers. According to Taste of Home, their fries are made by soaking the raw potatoes in oil. Then, they take the oil-soaked potatoes and fry them in more oil.

Little Caesars’ Extramostbestest Italian Sausage Pizza

Little Caesars Extramostbestest Italian Sausage Pizza against an orange background
Little Caesars
Little Caesars

The FDA says that Americans eat about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, but the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends only eating no more than 2,300 milligrams. That can be equated to about one teaspoon of salt. The large Extramostbestest Italian sausage pizza at Little Caesars has 5,620 milligrams of sodium.

Not only does it have an above average sodium intake, but it also contains 2,660 calories, 128 grams of fat, and 252 grams of carbs. Little Caesars topped this pizza with a mozzarella and muenster cheese blend and made sure to include as much savory Italian sausage as possible.

The Subway Chicken And Bacon Ranch Melt

subway chicken and bacon ranch melt sandwich with tomatoes, spinach, and shredded lettuce on a bread roll
Subway
Subway

There are endless combinations when it comes to Subway sandwiches. While this fast food chain is often thought of as one of the healthier options, they still have a decent amount of unhealthy sandwiches. One of the worst menu items to order is the Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt.

The foot-long Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt with Italian herbs and cheese bread has 1,150 calories, 57 grams of fat, 2,580 milligrams of sodium, and 87 grams of carbs. The sandwich ingredients that really take it over the edge are the bacon, cheese, ranch dressing, and the bread roll.

McDonald’s Big Breakfast With Hotcakes

mcdonald's big breakfast with hotcakes including pancakes, sausage, biscuits, hash browns, and syrup
McDonald’s
McDonald’s

According to Global News, breakfast meals shouldn’t exceed 400 calories. The Big Breakfast with Hotcakes meal at McDonald’s comes to a whopping 1,340 calories. The meal includes a couple of hotcakes, a biscuit, a sausage patty, scrambled eggs, hash browns, syrup, and butter. The McDonald’s website says that the saturated fat in this meal is 123 percent of the daily recommended amount.

It has 44 grams of fat, 2,090 milligrams of sodium, and 155 grams of carbs. This giant platter of breakfast foods has a lot more than the daily recommended amounts of fats, carbs, and sodium, so it should either be avoided or shared among others.

Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Pub Triple Cheeseburger

a cheeseburger with 3 patties, pickles, bacon, and mayo on a pretzel bun
Wendy’s
Wendy’s

Since it’s in the name, the Pretzel Bacon Pub Triple Cheeseburger at Wendy’s contains three of their signature square hamburger patties. The burger is topped with warm beer cheese sauce, Applewood smoked bacon, smoky honey mustard, crispy fried onions, pickles, a slice of muenster cheese, and piled into a soft pretzel bun.

Anyone would think that is quite a mouthful. According to Fast Food Nutrition, this burger comes to a total of 1,520 calories, 106 grams of fat, 1,910 milligrams of sodium, and 53 grams of carbs. The Pretzel Bacon Pub Triple Cheeseburger happens to have the most amount of calories out of all the menu items at Wendy’s.

The In-N-Out 4×4 Cheeseburger

cheeseburger with four patties
Julianibarra/Wikimedia Commons
Julianibarra/Wikimedia Commons

Something that can make fast food customers feel more exclusive is ordering off the secret menu. In-N-Out is one of the many fast food restaurants with a secret menu with items such as Animal Style French Fries and Neapolitan milkshakes. One of the most outrageous things on their secret menu is the 4×4.

This is a hamburger or cheeseburger with four patties. A 4×4 cheeseburger contains 1,050 calories, 70 grams of fat, 2,320 milligrams of sodium, and 11 grams of sugar. As far as health goes, ordering one of these should be a rare occasion, at best.

Del Taco’s Queso Loaded Nachos With Beef

del taco queso loaded nachos with beef, jalapeños, tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese
Del Taco
Del Taco

Judging by the name of this dish, customers should know that it will be piled high with toppings. Del Taco’s Queso Loaded Nachos with beef comes with refried beans, a creamy Queso Blanco sauce, sour cream, tomatoes, jalapeños, tortilla chips, and of course tons of beef chunks.

The large size of the nachos contains 1,060 calories, 55 grams of fat, 2,510 milligrams of sodium, and 100 grams of carbs. It’s recommended to only have a few chips of this unhealthy dish and share it among many others.

The KFC Donut Sandwich

boy holding a kfc chicken donut sandwich
TheReportOfTheWeek/YouTube
TheReportOfTheWeek/YouTube

Adventurous eaters are in for something truly one-of-a-kind at KFC. They crafted a Donut Sandwich with two glazed donuts and a piece of fried chicken in the middle. Without knowing the nutrition facts it’s pretty much a given that this sandwich will have a bunch of sugar and sodium.

One KFC Donut Sandwich has 1,100 calories, 65 grams of fat, 1,310 milligrams of sodium, 100 grams of carbs, and 40 grams of sugar. This may be a fun thing to get once in a while at a fair or carnival, but probably shouldn’t be eaten regularly.

Dairy Queen’s Royal Rocky Road Trip Blizzard

dairy queen royal rocky road trip blizzard with a cup split open showing the inside of the ice cream
Dairy Queen
Dairy Queen

The amount of sugar in this Dairy Queen treat is staggering. The Royal Rocky Road Trip Blizzard is made up of brownie pieces, peanuts, cocoa fudge, marshmallow, and vanilla soft serve ice cream. All in all, the large Royal Rocky Road Trip Blizzard contains 1,510 calories, 70 grams of fat, 770 milligrams of sodium, 199 grams of carbs, and 151 grams of sugar.

To put the amount of sugar this Blizzard has in perspective, there is more sugar in this than 15 Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. If you simply have to get a taste of it, try to get their smallest size.

The Chick-Fil-A Cobb Salad

chick-fil-a cobb salad with chicken, tomatoes, eggs, and corn
Chick-fil-A
Chick-fil-A

Typically, salads are supposed to be a healthy meal, but there are quite a few fast food restaurants where that is simply not the case. The cobb salad at Chick-fil-A isn’t actually that healthy, mainly due to the crispy chicken and avocado lime ranch dressing.

Their cobb salad has 850 calories, 61 grams of fat, 2,220 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbs, and nine grams of sugar. Since it’s recommended to only eat no more than 700 calories during lunch and dinner, this salad isn’t a healthy meal option.

Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese

broccoli cheddar mac & cheese in a bread bowl
Panera
Panera

It can be upsetting when things that taste so delicious are some of the unhealthiest things on the menu. One of Panera’s most recent menu items is their Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese, which is a combination of their broccoli and cheddar soup and white cheddar mac & cheese.

When this dish is ordered in a bread bowl it contains 1,050 calories, 31 grams of fat, 2,290 milligrams of sodium, 155 grams of carbs, and eight grams of sugar. This equates to about an entire day’s worth of sodium and over half a day’s amount of carbs.

Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccinos

starbucks java chip frappuccino with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and a green straw
Starbucks
Starbucks

The Frappuccinos at Starbucks can be a festive and fun treat once in a while, but customers should know that they have almost no nutritional value. The Venti Java Chip Frappuccino with whole milk and whipped cream has 600 calories, 22 grams of fat, 360 milligrams of sodium, 96 grams of carbs, and 88 grams of sugar.

The amount of sugar in the Venti Java Chip Frappuccino is about the equivalent of eating 19 Oreo cookies.

KFC Cheesy Bacon Bowl

kfc-cheesy-bacon-bowl
KFC
KFC

KFC’s Cheesy Bacon Bowl is packed with mashed potatoes, popcorn chicken, shredded cheese, corn, gravy, and of course, bacon bits. It’s an extremely savory menu item, basically packing in all your favorite KFC ingredients and topping it with bacon.

The fast food chain has yet to share the nutritional facts on the Cheesy Bacon Bowl– but for reference, the regular bowl on their menu weighs in at 680 calories, 280 calories from fat, and 2,130 milligrams of sodium. You can bet that this version, with more fixings, raises those numbers by quite a bit.

Sonic Oreo Peanut Butter Shake

sonic oreo peanut butter shake with whipped cream, cherry, and red straw
Sonic Drive In
Sonic Drive In

Not only is the Sonic Oreo Peanut Butter Shake one of the unhealthiest fast food items in America, but it’s also one of the least healthy around the world. A large serving contains 1,720 calories, 104 grams of fat, 1,040 milligrams of sodium, 172 grams of carbs, and 111 grams of sugar.

While Sonic milkshakes are one of their most popular menu items, they are filled with all kinds of unhealthy ingredients. One Sonic Oreo Peanut Butter Shake has more than enough calories, fat, sodium, carbs, and sugar for an entire day.

The Pei Wei Chicken Pad Thai

pei wei chicken pad thai with onions, herbs, egg, and bean sprouts
Pei Wei
Pei Wei

There’s a fast food restaurant for almost any type of cuisine. Pei Wei specializes in various Asian-inspired dishes. One of their unhealthiest menu items is the Chicken Pad Thai. It has steamed white meat chicken, rice noodles, scrambled egg, bean sprouts, scallions, peanuts, cilantro, and a Thai sweet and sour sauce.

A bowl of their Chicken Pad Thai contains 1,490 calories, 42 grams of fat, 4,720 milligrams of sodium, 167 grams of carbs, and 52 grams of sugar. Customers who decide to order this dish should be aware of the excessive amount of sodium inside.

Popeyes Cajun Fries

popeyes cajun fries on a plate
Popeyes
Popeyes

French fries can be a delicious compliment to a burger or sandwich, but keeping up with a healthy diet means limiting fast food. The Cajun Fries from Popeyes are one of the unhealthiest fast food fries. A large size has 804 calories, 42 grams of fat, 1,761 milligrams of sodium, and 97 grams of carbs.

Knowing that an entire lunch or dinner shouldn’t exceed 700 calories means that these fries alone are more calories than a typical meal. Luckily, Popeyes has some healthier side options such as green beans or coleslaw.

White Castle Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

white castle mozzarella cheese sticks in a container against a black background
White Castle
White Castle

Fast food side dishes can really add to the unhealthy sodium, fat, and sugar intake that some may forget about while eating. The White Castle mozzarella cheese sticks are one of the worst fast food items in the United States. A pack of 10 contains 1,490 calories, 111 grams of fat, 3,110 milligrams of sodium, and 77 grams of carbs.

Eating just the side of the mozzarella sticks is almost the entire recommended amount of calories per day and over the recommended amount of fat and sugar. Customers should avoid this menu item at all costs.

El Pollo Loco’s Chipotle Chicken Avocado Burrito

el pollo loco chipotle chicken avocado burrito with guacamole, beans, tomatoes, sour cream, and fries
El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco

Unfortunately, burritos are one of the least nutritious foods available. The tortilla usually provides enough carbs and fat for the day. The Chipotle Chicken Avocado Burrito at El Pollo Loco is no exception. This burrito includes a foot-long tortilla, rice, cabbage, salsa, avocado, shredded cheese, pinto beans, chicken, and sour cream.

Although the ingredients don’t seem too bad, the burrito has 870 calories, 39 grams of fat, 2,260 milligrams of sodium, and 84 grams of carbs. Opting for a salad or using a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla can be a healthier alternative.

Carl’s Jr. Monster Angus Thickburger

carl's jr. monster angus thickburger with bacon, cheese, and mayo
Carl’s Jr.
Carl’s Jr.

The east coast calls it Hardee’s and the west coast calls it Carl’s Jr., but they both have the Monster Angus Thickburger. This giant cheeseburger contains two beef patties, four strips of bacon, three slices of American cheese, and huge globs of mayonnaise.

A Monster Angus Thickburger equals about 1,400 calories, 97 grams of fat, 2,780 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbs, and 11 grams of sugar. The amount of sodium in this burger is more than anyone should eat in one day, so it’s probably best to not order this monstrosity.