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5 Ways Your McDonald's Order Is Making You Gain Weight

A registered dietitian explains how your favorite entrées and sides could be causing you to pack on extra pounds.

If you're someone who cannot live without a weekly trip to McDonald's drive-thru window but are also in the process of trying to shed a few pounds, then it may be time to switch up your go-to order.

Kelli McGrane RD, for the free calorie counting app, Lose It!, identifies five menu items that could be wreaking havoc on your health goals and also offers five healthier swaps you can make instead. Now here are five ways your McDonald's order could be making you gain weight.

You're ordering…


The Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich

buttermilk chicken sandwich
Courtesy of McDonald's

"While you may think chicken is a healthier option than a hamburger, it actually has 350 more calories and 20 more grams of fat than a standard hamburger," says McGrane. "Instead, opt for the grilled chicken sandwich, which is lower in calories and fat than the crispy chicken sandwich but higher in protein than the hamburger."

RELATED: We Tried 6 Fast-Food Chicken Sandwiches & This Is the Best


French fries on the side

Two mcdonalds fries bags

"Not only are French fries high in fat and calories, but they're also not very filling. Instead, opt for a side salad as it's lower in calories and fat, yet higher in vitamins, minerals, and fiber thanks to the veggies," says McGrane. "Just make sure to choose balsamic dressing instead of a creamier option to keep the calorie and fat content lower."

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The Southwestern Crispy Chicken Salad

mcdonalds southwest buttermilk crispy chicken salad
Courtesy of McDonald's

"While a salad may sound like a healthier, lower carb option than a sandwich, the fried chicken, shredded cheese, fried tortilla strips, and creamy buttermilk dressing cause this salad to actually be higher in calories, fat, saturated fat and carbs than the grilled chicken sandwich, says McGrane.

Instead, she suggests opting for the Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad as it's packed with veggies and protein, minus 160 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 19 grams of carbs.

"To make it even leaner, leave off the fried tortilla strips and use half of the salad dressing," she adds.


A vanilla milkshake

McDonald's vanilla milkshake with whipped cream on a white background
Courtesy of McDonald's

"Even a small vanilla milkshake contains nearly 500 calories, [which is] twice as much as a hamburger, 80 grams of carbs, and 59 grams of sugar, which is nearly six times more sugar than a glazed donut," says McGrane. "Instead, if you want something cold and creamy, opt for a Kiddie Cone, which has 45 calories and only 6 grams of sugar."

RELATED: We Taste-Tested Chocolate Milkshakes from 5 Franchise Restaurants—This One Was the Best


The Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit

mcdonalds bacon egg cheese biscuit regular size biscuit
Courtesy of McDonald's

"This breakfast sandwich contains a butter-brushed biscuit and bacon, both of which result in a breakfast that's high in total and saturated fat," says McGrane. "Instead, order an Egg McMuffin, which uses an English muffin and ham. This simple swap has just as much protein, but half the amount of total and saturated fat."

And for more, check out The Best & Worst Fast Food Breakfast Sandwiches—Ranked.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more