The Worst McDonald's Menu Items You Should Never Order
There's no doubt McDonald's is the biggest player in the fast-food game. With 69 million customers served each day and more than 35,000 restaurants worldwide, you're bound to be within at least a few miles of the golden arches at any one time. With so many convenient locations (and tasty fries, of course), there's no shame in hitting up the drive-thru every once in a while—unless you're planning on ordering one of these 10 McDonald's menu items.
Despite its bad rap, it is actually possible to eat healthy at McDonald's. Unfortunately, a McFlurry with M&Ms and a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese don't make the cut. If you find yourself at a Mickey D's, be sure to stay away from these fattening, sugary, and high-sodium monstrosities. Then, be sure to read up on our list of the 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.
Not That! The 10 Worst Orders at McDonald's
Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese
A quarter pounder with cheese is caloric enough; doubling that sandwich gives you a half-pound of beef and more saturated fat than you need in a day. There's no reason to eat that much beef just at lunchtime.
Big Breakfast with Hotcakes
If you're looking to eat your entire day's worth of fat, sodium, and sugar just at breakfast, then order the Big Breakfast with Hotcakes. With 5 grams over your recommended daily saturated fat allowance and enough calories to cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this meal will start your day off on the wrong foot.
If you think you need a big hit of caffeine in the morning to get your day going, you're going to want to skip this McCafé drink. This blended drink is made with rich caramel flavor and a hint of coffee and is topped with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle. You're just guzzling sugar here—a shocking 89 grams.
McFlurry with M&M's
The McFlurry may be an iconic dessert offering at McDonald's, but with a sweet ice cream base and even more sugar mixed in, this clocks in at a whopping 83 grams of sugar — almost as much as seven McDonald's Baked Apple Pies! Since the FDA recommends no more than 50 grams of added sugar per day, this is a hard pass.
Quarter Pounder With Cheese Bacon
The Big Mac has nothing on this single patty item. McDonald's adds bacon and two slices of American cheese to their quarter pounder, but they did so in classic supersize fashion: by creating a monstrosity of calories, fat, sodium, and carbs. If an indulgent burger is what you're looking for, stick to the classic Big Mac to save 100 calories, 6 grams of both fat and saturated fat, and 540 milligrams of sodium.
McDonald's is known for its world-famous fries, but it's possible to have too much of a good thing. One large order will set you back almost 500 calories—more than a double cheeseburger! That's not to say you have to give up these tasty French fries for good. Stick to a small order for just 220 calories, 10 grams of fat (1.5 grams saturated), 29 grams of carbs (3 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar), and 3 grams of protein.
This meal seems simple enough, but it packs almost your entire day's worth of sugar and more than 101 grams of carbs. Eating something with so many simple carbohydrates so early in the morning sets your body up for an extreme blood sugar spike, leading to an even worse crash. Cue the feelings of tiredness and cravings for more unhealthy sweets.
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Even if you order the small, you're still getting more calories than a double cheeseburger and as much sugar as seven glazed Krispy Kreme donuts. (Nab a large, and you'll gulp down a staggering 830 calories and 110 grams of sugar.) In comparison, a small chocolate Frosty at Wendy's has just 340 calories.
Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
Not only does this sandwich pack half a day's worth of fat, but it's also a sodium bomb. Yikes!
Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich
At fast-food chains, "crispy" is just code for "breaded with sugar and fried in fat." Not only does this sandwich deep fry this chicken patty, but it's also topped with a heaping scoop of spicy mayo dressing. Plus, it has over 1,000 milligrams of sodium in one sandwich, which is exactly half of the allotted sodium you should limit in a day.
Eat This! The Best Orders from McDonald's
Not everything from McDonald's is bad for your waistline. In fact, there are quite a few better-for-you options that can fit nicely into your weight-loss plan, from breakfast to dessert. Check out these healthier McDonald's menu items that are Eat This, Not That! approved.
You can still enjoy two patties of beef without going overboard on the calories and fat. Ranked as our #1 best McDonald's Main, the McDouble has 23 grams of protein for just 400 calories and 20 grams of fat. Although there isn't as much fiber as we'd like (the only toppings are some pickles and onions), it does have 340 fewer calories than a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese and 50 fewer calories than the Double Cheeseburger, making it the much smarter choice.
The Egg McMuffin consistently ranks as one of our favorite menu items at McDonald's.
"The sandwich only has 310 calories and it offers 17 grams of satiety-providing protein," says Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND, a Chicago-area registered dietitian and nutrition communications consultant. She likes it even better than the Egg White Delight. "I stick with the whole egg sandwich because the yolk contains carotenoids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals," says Palumbo. It's a classic breakfast sandwich that can't be beat!
Who says you can't have dessert? The chocolate chip cookie, overall, is a pretty good steal for a fast-food dessert, considering the small chocolate shake packs five times that amount.
The McDonald's classic is still a good option, especially for less than 300 calories.
"Every so often, when I have a long drive and can't pack food or snacks, McDonald's is where I go," says Toby Amidor, MS, RD. She stands behind the original burger. "l order a kid's meal comprised of a hamburger, small order of fries, a bottle of water, and a Cuties clementine. Then you have a meal with a decent 390 calories and 13 grams of fat."
Probably didn't expect to see this menu favorite on the "best" list, did you? These little guys aren't terrible for you if eaten plain. In fact, they're one of our best-ranked fast-food chicken nuggets. We just wish the fat count were a little lower, so be careful when choosing dipping sauces: BBQ or honey mustard are the better choices.
Baked Apple Pie
This apple pie dessert seems indulgent, but it has less than 14 grams of sugar and comes in at less than 250 calories. It's also topped with an all-natural sugar and cinnamon blend.
McCafe Iced Latte
When it comes to something to drink at McDonald's, the obviously healthy choice is water. But we all know that's not always going to cut it. At that point, your next best choice on the McCafe menu for a drink that's under 30 grams of sugar per serving is going to be an unsweetened iced latte. You'll get a touch of sweetness, creaminess, and a hit of caffeine.