We get it: No fast-food meal is complete without an order of fries.
And though they seem innocent enough (the government considers them a vegetable, after all), the truth is, many varieties are far worse than the burgers and nuggets they're paired with. To help you avoid becoming super-sized, we've examined all of the nation's most popular fast-food fries and ranked them based on their nutritional profiles. This way you can dig in without the guilt and continue losing weight.
HOW WE RANKED THEM
After examining the nutritional profiles of each fry, we ordered them by calories, fat and sodium per gram. Since a medium at Arby's could be larger or smaller than a medium at Burger King, for example, this was the best way to uncover the truth about each crispy dish. However, there was a caveat: Anything that was laced with trans fat—a man-made fat that's been shown to diminish memory and increase the risk of heart disease, weight gain and stroke—automatically got demerits, despite any other redeeming nutritional qualities.
Read on to discover the worst french fry in America, and the very best one, too! And to lose weight fast, keep the fast-food noshing to a minimum and read these 50 Best Eat This, Not That! Tips Ever!
#9 Worst Fast-Food French Fry
Sonic Natural-Cut Fries
Nutrition (Medium, 119 grams): 380 calories, 18 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 390 mg sodium, 50 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 4 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 3.19 calories, 0.15 g fat, 3.2 mg sodium
Sonic's crispy russet-potato fries fall in the middle of the pack in terms of sodium and are a bit high in calories, earning them the title of the 9th Worst Fast-Food French Fry in America. To ensure you stay on the straight-and-narrow at the fast-food joint, stay away from The Worst Burger at Sonic—especially because you're indulging in the fries.
#8 Worst Fast-Food French Fry
KFC Seasoned Potato Wedges
Nutrition (Individual size, 108 grams): 290 calories, 15 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 810 sodium, 35 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 4 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 2.7 calories, 0.13 g fat, 7.5 mg sodium
Though the calories per gram aren't out of control here, the sodium count is an entirely different story. Each gram packs in 7.5 milligrams of the salty stuff, which may be the most dangerous aspect of this dish for your waistline. In fact, a new study has linked obesity and sodium intake so closely that cutting down on salt might be the absolute best way to shed belly fat, fast!
#7 Worst Fast-Food French Fry
Chick-Fil-A Waffle Potato Fries
Nutrition (Medium, 125 g): 400 calories, 21 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 180 mg sodium, 48 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 5 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 3.2 calories, 0.17 g fat, 1.44 mg sodium
It might just be my imagination, but waffle fries just seem to taste better, don't they? Chick-Fil-A gets major points for having the least amount of salt in their fries than any other restaurant on this list, but the high calorie count keeps this dish on the Not That! side of the equation.
#6 Worst Fast-Food French Fry
Long John Silver Natural Cut Fries
Nutrition (Individual size, 105 grams): 350 calories, 17 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 500 mg sodium, 44 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 4 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 3.3 calories, 0.16 g fat, 4.8 mg sodium
Not only are these fries high in calories and sodium, they carry half a day's saturated fat. What's more, these yellow-painted fries (yup, they're laced with food dyes) are fried in palm oil, a fat that promotes flab-causing inflammation. No matter how you roll the dice, these taters are a definite no-go.
#5 Worst Fast-Food French Fry
Jack In The Box French Fries
Nutrition (Medium, 137 grams): 430 calories, 20 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 780 mg sodium, 58 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 5 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 3.13 calories, 0.15 g fat, 5.6 mg sodium
Jack claims his fries are "lightly salted," but we beg to differ. These caloric high-sodium fries have enough salt to spike your blood pressure and are a definite Not That!
#4 Worst Fast-Food French Fry
Jack In The Box Seasoned Curly Fries
Nutrition (Medium, 130 grams): 428 calories, 25 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 937 mg sodium, 46 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 5 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 3.2 calories, 0.19 g fat, 7.2 mg sodium
If you wouldn't eat seven-and-a-half slices of bacon in one sitting, you should reconsider adding these to your order. Because that's the fat equivalent you're getting when you dig into these curly fries.
#3 Worst Fast-Food French Fry
Five Guys Fries (Five Guys & Cajun Style)
Nutrition (One size, 411 grams): 953 calories, 41 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat, 962 mg sodium, 131 carbs, 15 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 15 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 2.3 calories, 0.10 g fat, 2.34 mg sodium
From the burgers to the fries, everything at Five Guys seems to be overflowing with trans fats. But that's not all: Both their cajun and Five Guys style fries serve up an entire day's worth of fat (the traditional kind)—yikes! Stay away if you want to maintain your taut tummy, and be sure to add these 9 Best Flat-Belly Superfoods to your diet, too.
#2 Worst Fast-Food French Fry
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Cajun Fries
Nutrition (Regular, 85 grams): 260 calories, 14 g fat, 5g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat, 570 mg sodium, 30 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 3 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 3 cal, 0.16 g fat, 6.7 mg sodium
Popeyes' special fry seasoning may be tasty, but these taters will wreak havoc on your waistline and your heart health, thanks to their trans fat content and sky-high levels of salt. (This dish carries more than a third of the recommended daily intake!) And speaking of your ticker, be sure you're also eating these 7 Best Foods to Decrease Your Heart Disease Risk.
#1 Worst Fast-Food French Fry
Arby's Curly Fries
Nutrition (Medium, 170 grams): 550 calories, 29 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat, 1,250 mg sodium, 65 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 6 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 3.2 calories, 0.17 g fat, 7.35 mg sodium
Arby's says their fries are "curly and fried to perfection," but that's not a good enough reason to indulge. Like many of the other "Not That" fries on our list, they're extremely high in fat, thanks to their deep-fried treatment. However, these trans-fat-laced potatoes pack more calories per gram than all the others. A better bet at the chain: the 2-piece Potato Cakes. Ordering them over this nutritional monstrosity will ax trans fat from your plate and save you over 300 calories and 820 milligrams of salt.
For more smart picks at the fast-food restaurant, check out these 5 Healthy Meals from Arby's!
AND NOW…THE BEST!
#9 Best Fast-Food French Fry
Nutrition (One size, 125 grams): 395 calories, 18 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 245 mg sodium, 54 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 7 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 3.16 calories, 0.14 g fat, 1.96 mg sodium
Though there are French fries out there lower in calories, these earn points for their lower-than-average sodium count. Order some to go and pair them with one of these 29 Best-Ever Proteins for Weight Loss.
#8 Best Fast-Food French Fry
McDonald's World Famous Fries
Nutrition (Medium, 111 grams): 340 calories, 16 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 190 mg sodium, 44 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 4 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 3 calories, 0.14 g fat, 1.7 g sodium
When it comes to choosing at side dish at McDonald's, our Eat This, Not That! nutritionists naturally recommend the apple slices or mandarin oranges. But if you want a side of fries, go for it once in awhile! They have fewer calories per gram than a fair share of the competition and are relatively low in sodium. Just be sure to eat them with one of Ronald McDonald's Best Burgers and Sandwiches—and don't add any extra salt!
#7 Best Fast-Food French Fry
Carl Jr. Natural Cut Fries
Nutrition (Medium, 147 g grams): 430 calories, 21 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 860 mg sodium, 55 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 5 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 2.9 calories, 0.14, 5.8 mg sodium
Gram for gram, these are lower in calories, fat and sodium than the majority of other fast-food french fries, but ordering a small is still the smartest way to go if weight loss if your goal.
#6 Best Fast-Food French Fry
Hardee's Natural Cut French Fries
Nutrition (Medium, 168 grams): 490 calories, 24 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 970 mg sodium, 63 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 5 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 2.9 calories, 0.14 g fat, 5.77 mg sodium
The Hardee's menu is a linguistic labyrinth in which words like "little" are added to 580-calorie burgers, and a double cheeseburger will cost you fewer calories than a single-patty version. The good news is that their fries are pretty straightforward—and if you stick with the kids-sized version, you'll only take in 230 calories and 240 milligrams of sodium. It doesn't get much better than that.
#5 Best Fast-Food French Fry
Wendy's Natural-Cut Fries
Nutrition (Medium, 142 grams): 420 calories, 19 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 420 mg sodium, 56 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 6 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 2.9 calories, 0.13 g fat, 2.9 mg sodium
Though you'd be hard-pressed to find a French fry that's low in calories or fat, these fare better than most, earning them one of the top spots on our list. And next time you're dining at the famous redhead's chain, be sure to stick with one of these 9 Diet-Expert Approved Orders at Wendy's.
#4 Best Fast-Food French Fry
Dairy Queen Fries
Nutrition (Regular, 113.4 grams): 290 calories, 13 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 590 sodium, 39 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 3 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 2.56 calories, 0.11 g fat, 5.2 mg sodium
These may carry a third of the day's salt, but they're actually pretty low in calories for french fries. And compared to the frozen calorie-bombs Dairy Queen is serving up, this is a fairly diet-friendly pick.
#3 Best Fast-Food French Fry
Nutrition (Medium, 113 grams): 310 calories, 13 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 460 mg sodium, 45 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 3 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 2.7 calories, 0.11 g fat, 4.07 g sodium
A&W promises that their fries are a burger's best friend, and we're totally on board with that statement. Although these potatoes are higher in calories than the DQ variety, they're very low in salt for something that comes through a drive-thru window. It's a fast-food winner in our eyes.
Eat This! Tip
Sure, your meal may taste better paired with a cola, but if you want to stay healthy and trim, stay away. Drinking just one serving of pop a day can increase your risk of fatal heart disease by a whopping 35 percent. Click here to see The 7 Amazing Things That Happen to Your Body When You Give Up Soda!
#2 Best Fast-Food French Fry
Burger King French Fries
Nutrition (Medium, 153 grams): 410 calories, 18 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 570 mg sodium, 58 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 4 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 2.6 calories, 0.12 g fat, 3.7 mg sodium
The King keeps his salt shakers in check when he cooks up these thick-cut fries, earning them the number two spot on our list.
AND THE #1 BEST FAST-FOOD FRENCH FRY IS…
Jack In The Box Potato Wedges
Nutrition (Medium, 144 g): 369 calories, 18 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 424 mg sodium, 44 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 5 g protein
Calories, fat, sodium per gram: 2.5 calories, 0.12 g fat, 2.9 mg sodium
Yes, it's true: Jack in the Box serves up the very best fries for your waistline! This crispy dish's ultra-low calorie, fat and sodium count is straight-up impressive, earning it the #1 spot on our list!
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