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The #1 Worst Order at Popeyes, According to a Nutritionist

Stay away from this huge meal filled with sodium.

Popeyes is known for its crispy, breaded chicken meals and Cajun-inspired flavors, which makes it a popular fast-food restaurant option for customers looking for a bit of southern comfort on the go. The classic and spicy chicken sandwiches are incredibly popular . . . remember when this sammie went viral and there were lines out the door with a limit of one sandwich per person at several locations? (I do!)

Plus, the chain also has several combo packs and family meal options, so it tends to be an accessible and easy option for those looking to get the most bang for their buck and feed their entire family at once.

Beyond chicken, Popeyes also offers fish and fries, as well as some desserts like cheesecake and pie, although these items are all fried, breaded, or super high in sugar, so they're not really the healthiest option.

While most items on the chain's menu are not so good for you, there is one menu option that is a major diet doozy and likely the worst option you can pick, according to nutritionist, author, and founder of The Candida Diet, Lisa Richards.

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The #1 Worst Item at Popeyes

4 piece popeyes chicken
Aileen C./ Yelp
PER SERVING: 4 Piece Meal: 1,505 calories, 91 g fat (35 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 3,962 mg sodium, 88 g carbs (9 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 82.5 g protein

The 4 Piece Meal is, unfortunately, the worst thing you can order at the chain. "This meal alone is nearly equal to the number of calories most individuals should eat in an entire day, not one single meal," Richards says. So what's in it, exactly?

The chicken meal comes with a leg, thigh, breast, wing, biscuit, and a side of cajun fries. "If the calories weren't concerning enough, the amount of sodium in this meal puts anyone who eats it at risk for high blood pressure and water retention," she says. The standard recommendation for daily sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams, according to the American Heart Association, and this meal contains almost 4,000 milligrams.

If you really can't say no to this menu item, however, you don't necessarily need to swap it for something healthier. Just try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting. "This meal should be avoided or at least split between two or more individuals," Richards says.

What's a better option?

2 piece chicken popeyes
Daniel B./ Yelp
PER SERVING: 2 Piece Meal: 915 calories, 57 g fat (23 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 2,122 mg sodium, 64 g carbs (6 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 34.5 g protein

When you're craving that juicy, crispy Popeyes chicken, the healthier way to go about enjoying it is to reduce the number of chicken pieces in your order. "A better option would be to choose the 2 Piece Meal, which reduces the calories almost by half and drops the sodium down to the daily recommended amount," Richards says.

The sodium amount in this order is about as low as it'll go at this chain.

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Isadora Baum
Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy. Read more about Isadora