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10 Worst Menu Items at McDonald's

Don't even think about picking up these high-calorie, belly-busting menu items.
mcdonalds chicken sandwich with fries and drink

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, McDonald's 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. And keep reading to find our Eat This!-approved orders!

Not That! The 10 Worst Orders at McDonald's

1

Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich

mcdonalds buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich

600 calories, 29 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 980 mg sodium, 58 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 27 g protein

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 made with fattening buttermilk and topped with a heaping scoop of mayo dressing. This gives it more fat than three slices of Domino's cheese pizza…

2

Big Breakfast with Hotcakes

mcdonalds big breakfast hotcakes regular size biscuit
Courtesy of McDonald's

Big Breakfast with hotcakes, biscuit, scrambled eggs, sausage & hash browns

1,340 calories, 64 g fat (25 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 2,090 mg sodium, 155 g carbs (6 g fiber, 48 g sugar), 35 g protein

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.

3

Caramel Frappé

Mcdonalds mccafe caramel frappe
Courtesy of McDonald's
Large size: 670 calories, 27 g fat (17 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 96 g carbs, (0 g fiber, 89 g sugar), 11 g protein

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.

4

McFlurry with M&M's

mcdonalds m and m flurry

Regular size: 640 calories, 21 g fat (14 g saturated, 0.5 trans fat), 200 mg sodium, 96 g carbs (2 g fiber, 83 g sugar), 13 g protein

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 86 grams of sugar — almost as much as seven McDonald's Apple Pies! Since the FDA recommends no more than 50 grams of added sugar per day, this is a hard pass.

5

Quarter Pounder With Cheese Bacon

Mcdonalds quarter pounder cheese bacon
Courtesy of McDonald's

620 calories, 33 g fat (15 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 1,500 mg sodium, 44 g carbs (3 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 38 g protein

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.

6

Large Fries

mcdonalds large fries
Courtesy of McDonald's
490 calories, 23 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 400 mg sodium, 66 g carbs (6 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 7 g protein

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.

7

Hotcakes Breakfast

mcdonalds hotcakes
Courtesy of McDonald's
Per 3 hotcakes, syrup, and butter: 590 calories, 15 g fat (6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 600 mg sodium, 102 g carbs (2 g fiber, 45 g sugar), 9 g protein

This meal seems simple enough, but it packs almost your entire day's worth of sugar and more than 100 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.

Looking for more helpful tips? Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!

8

Chocolate Shake

McDonalds chocolate shake
Courtesy of McDonald's
Per small: 530 calories, 15 g fat (10 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 260 mg sodium, 87 g carbs (1 g fiber, 74 g sugar), 12 g protein

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 840 calories and 122 grams of sugar.) In comparison, a small chocolate Frosty at Wendy's has just 340 calories.

9

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit

mcdonalds sausage biscuit with egg regular size biscuit
Courtesy of McDonald's
530 calories, 34 g fat (15 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,140 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 17 g protein

Not only does this sandwich pack half a day's worth of fat, but it's also a sodium bomb. Yikes!

10

Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese

McDonalds double quarter pounder
Courtesy of McDonald's
720 calories, 40 g fat (19 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 1,370 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 49 g protein

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.

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.

1

McDouble

mcdonalds mcdouble
Courtesy of McDonald's
390 calories, 18 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 850 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (2 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 22 g protein

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 380 calories and 18 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 290 fewer calories than a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese and 50 fewer calories than the Double Cheeseburger, making it the much smarter choice.

2

Egg McMuffin

mcdonalds egg mcmuffin
Courtesy of McDonald's
300 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 760 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 17 g protein

The Egg McMuffin consistently ranks as one of our favorite menu items at McDonald's. "The sandwich only has 300 calories and it offers 18 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!

3

Cookies

mcdonalds cookies
Courtesy of McDonald's
1 Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie: 170 calories, 8 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 95 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 2 g protein

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.

4

Hamburger

mcdonalds hamburger
Courtesy of McDonald's
250 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 480 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (2 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 13 g protein

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."

5

Chicken McNuggets

mcdonalds chicken nuggets
Ann Marie Langrehr/Eat This, Not That!
6-piece: 250 calories, 15 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 500 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 14 g protein

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.

6

Baked Apple Pie

McDonald's apple pie

240 calories, 11 g fat (6 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 95 mg sodium, 33 g carbs, (4 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 2 g protein

This apple pie dessert seems indulgent, but it has less than 15 grams of sugar and comes in at less than 250 calories. It's also topped with an all-natural sugar and cinnamon blend.

7

McCafe Iced Latte

Mcdonalds mccafe iced latte
Courtesy of McDonald's

Per medium: 120 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 90 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (0 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 6 g protein

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.

Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is a senior editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more