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The Worst Menu Option at Every Popular Fast-Food Restaurant

Do your health and waistline a favor and never order any of these meals.

Even the healthiest of eaters can't always resist the temptation that comes lurking when you happen to drive by your favorite fast-food restaurant. There's nothing wrong with indulging in your favorite cheat meal every now and then, but there are some fast-food menu items that are truly the worst of the worst. They're high in calories, contain a ton of saturated fat and sodium, and some of these offenders even have dangerous heart-harming trans fat. Simply put: these are the fast-food menu options that are ridiculously unhealthy for you.

So you can make a better choice the next time you find yourself taking a trip to the drive-thru, here is a breakdown of the No. 1 unhealthiest menu options at some of the most popular fast-food restaurants. (And while you're making some changes, be sure to add The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now to your diet.)


McDonald's Big Breakfast with Hotcakes

mcdonalds big breakfast hotcakes regular size biscuit
Courtesy of McDonald's
Per platter: 1,340 calories, 63 g fat (25 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 2,070 mg sodium, 158 g carbs (5 g fiber, 48 g sugar), 36 g protein

McDonald's is known for its truly iconic breakfast options, but this huge platter will have you consuming more than half a day's worth of calories and nearly all of your allotted sodium in just one meal. And that's in the morning!


Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Pub Triple Cheeseburger

pretzel bacon triple cheeseburger
Courtesy of Wendy's
Per burger: 1,520 calories, 106 g fat (45 g saturated fat, 4 g trans fat), 1,910 mg sodium, 53 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 89 g protein

Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Pub Triple Cheeseburger really is big. It's made up of three of Wendy's square beef patties that are covered in warm beer cheese sauce, Applewood smoked bacon, smoky honey mustard, crispy fried onions, pickles, and a slice of muenster cheese, all on a soft pretzel bun. This all makes for a burger that has the most amount of calories out of all the burgers on the menu. That is reason enough to stay away from it. But then you take into account that it has 4 grams of trans fat.

So what's the issue with it having this much trans fat?

Well, the 2015-2020 American Dietary Guidelines say it's best to limit trans fats consumption to as low as possible. This means that having zero trans fats should be what you're aiming for. It's still found in certain meals, like this Wendy's burger, and these sneaky restaurant foods with the most trans fat.


Chick-fil-A Cobb Salad With Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing

Chick fil a cobb salad
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A
Per salad: 850 calories, 61 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 2,220 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (4 fiber, 9 g sugar), 42 g protein

It's time to drop the myth that fast-food salads are naturally the healthier menu option, as that is often not true. This salad from Chick-fil-A is proof, thanks to the combination of the crispy chicken and the ranch-based dressing. No thanks!

If you're looking for more helpful pointers, you're in luck as your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!


Burger King Triple Whopper with Cheese

triple whopper cheese
Courtesy of Burger King
Per burger: 1,220 calories, 82 g fat (32 g saturated fat, 4.5 g trans fat), 1,470 mg sodium, 50 g carbs (2 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 71 g protein

At Burger King, the combination of three quarter-pound beef patties that are topped with mayo, ketchup, and cheese contains more than 4 grams of trans-fats and more than half a day's calories. This is one item at BK you should avoid. Instead, go for the classic option: a plain, regular hamburger.


Sonic Oreo Peanut Butter Shake

sonic oreo peanut butter shake
Courtesy of Sonic
Per large shake: 1,720 calories, 104 g fat (48 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 1,040 mg sodium, 172 g carbs (4 g fiber, 111 g sugar), 30 g protein

This milkshake is one of the most caloric Sonic menu items and it not only has a staggering amount of sugar with more than 100 grams, but it's also high in sodium and fat. It's one shake that has nothing redeeming about it! No wonder it has a spot on our list of the wost fast food desserts on the planet.


Taco Bell Nachos BellGrande, Beef

taco bell nachos
Taco Bell/Yelp
Per order: 740 calories, 38 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,050 mg sodium, 82 g carbs (15 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 16 g protein

The best part about stopping to get a meal from Taco Bell is that everything on the menu is truly customizable, so you can easily make any menu option, well, healthier. The worst to just order and eat as is though is the Nachos BellGrande.


Popeyes Cajun Fries

popeyes cajun fries
Popeyes/ Facebook
Per large size: 804 calories, 42 g fat (15 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 1,761 mg sodium, 97 g carbs (9 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 10 g protein

Fries are often a go-to when it comes to fast-food side dishes, but these seasoned fries from Popeyes come in at more than 800 calories. And that's just a side order without factoring in the rest of the meal! Instead, pair your popcorn shrimp or chicken sandwich with green beans or coleslaw.


Arby's Half Pound Beef 'n Cheddar

arbys half pound
Courtesy of Arby's
Per sandwich: 740 calories, 39 g fat (14 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 2,530 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 49 g protein

It's no secret that Arby's prides itself on its roast beef sandwiches, but this menu option is a no-go. Here, an onion bun is packed with a half-pound of roast beef, cheddar cheese sauce, and red ranch. Together, this makes for a sandwich that has more than an entire day's worth of sodium! Keep in mind that The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day of sodium, with the hopes of moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 milligrams.


Checkers Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

checkers garlic parmesan wings
Anonymous A./Yelp
Per 10-piece order: 1,010 calories, 79 g fat (27 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 2,150 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 69 g protein

At Checkers, the worst menu item isn't a burger, but it's the chicken wings. They're fried and smothered in a creamy parmesan sauce, making for a meal that is packed with more than 1,000 calories. Plus that sodium count? No thanks!


Dairy Queen Royal Rocky Road Trip Blizzard Treat

dairy queen blizzard
Courtesy of Dairy Queen
Per large size: 1,510 calories, 70 g fat (27 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 770 mg sodium, 199 g carbs (9 g fiber, 151 g sugar), 35 g protein

While the name of this frozen treat from Dairy Queen sounds inviting, it's one you will surely want to never order. The Royal Rocky Road Trip Blizzard is made up of brownie pieces, peanuts, and cocoa fudge that are blended with vanilla soft serve and filled with marshmallow. If you think it's going to be a sugar overload, you're right. A large order has more than 1,500 calories and has more sugar than 15 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donuts.


Five Guys Fries

five guys large fries
Per large size: 1,314 calories, 57 g fat (10 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,327 mg sodium, 181 g carbs (21 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 20 g protein

The burgers from Five Guys are what they're best known for, but the fries are equally as delicious. If you're super hungry and end up ordering a large, you're then looking at a side order that has more calories than a burger! Be sure to stick with the "Little" size and remember, sharing is always a great idea.


Hardee's Monster Double Thickburger

hardees 2/3 lb monster thickburger
Hardee's / Facebook
Per burger: 1,400 calories, 97 g fat (35 g saturated fat, 4.5 g trans fat), 2,780 mg sodium, 53 g carbs (4 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 86 g protein

This burger from Hardee's is made up of two 1/3 pound charbroiled beef patties, four strips of bacon, three slices of American cheese, and mayonnaise. Here, you get a day-and-a-half's worth of blood-pressure-raising salt, and with more than 4 grams of trans fat, you'll want to just put that burger down.


Del Taco Queso Loaded Nachos, Taco Meat

del taco queso loaded nachos
Courtesy of Del Taco
Per large size: 1,060 calories, 55 g fat (20 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 2,060 mg sodium, 100 g carbs (17 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 43 g protein

"Loaded" is one of those menu words you'll want to always be wary of. It lets you know that the meal is going to be covered—or should we say smothered—in toppings. These nachos from Del Taco are proof, as they're piled high with beef, beans, a creamy Queso Blanco, sour cream, tomatoes, and jalapeños. If you're really in the mood for some, be sure you're sharing this and are only having a few chips.


Bojangles' Chicken Rice Bowl with Biscuit

Chicken rice bowl
Courtesy of Bojangles'
Per order: 1,090 calories, 42 g fat (16 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 4,330 mg sodium, 123 g carbs (13 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 54 g protein

When it comes to this rice bowl from Bojangles', don't let the 13 grams of fiber and 54 grams of protein fool you. It's more than 1,000 calories and paired with the biscuit, you're looking at more than 4,300 milligrams of sodium. That is nearly two full days' worth of sodium. Big yikes.


A&W Polar Swirl, M&M

aw polar swirl
Courtesy of A&W
Per 20-oz size: 1,190 calories, 43 g fat (26 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 640 mg sodium, 182 g carbs (3 g fiber, 162 g sugar), 24 g protein

At A&W, the Polar Swirl is a beloved item, but the scarily large size of the M&M flavor is the one to avoid. Those 162 grams of sugar are just unreal! If you happen to order this, it better be to share with a lot of friends, that's for sure.


In-N-Out 4×4

In-n-out 4x4 burger on tray
Daryl Q./Yelp
Per burger: 1,050 calories, 70 g fat (34 g saturated fat), 2,320 mg sodium, (3 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 68 g protein

If you find yourself on the west coast, then you know In-N-Out is a true fast-food star. The one thing you shouldn't do is order the 4×4 burger, an item from the restaurant's secret menu. Four burger patties are just way too much and create a sandwich that is high in fat, saturated fat, and has as much sodium as you should be consuming in an entire day.


Jack in the Box Oreo Cookie With Whipped Topping Shake

jack in the box oreo cookie shake
Courtesy of Jack in the Box
Per 24-oz, large size: 1,145 calories, 61 g fat (40 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 529 mg sodium, 137 g carbs (2 g fiber, 107 g sugar), 17 g protein

It should come as no surprise that milkshakes are always a red flag on any menu and this Oreo Cookie flavor from Jack in the Box is no different. Just don't even think about ordering it!


White Castle Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

white castle cheese sticks
Courtesy of White Castle
Per sack size, 10 sticks: 1,490 calories, 111 g fat (31 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 3,110 mg sodium, 77 g carbs (4 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 41 g protein

White Castle has a "sack" size option for its side dishes and the sack of Mozzarella cheese sticks is just downright scary. It's high in everything it shouldn't be, and low where it should be, like fiber. While this menu option is clearly meant to be shared, we all know how easy it is to get carried away and mindlessly eat these small sticks. It's better to resist temptation completely and just not order this side.


El Pollo Loco California Queso Burrito

el pollo loco california queso burrito
Courtesy of El Pollo Loco
Per burrit0: 930 calories, 42 g fat (14 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 3,110 mg sodium, 93 g carbs (9 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 40 g protein

It's always a bit of a gamble when you're ordering a burrito compared to when you're making one yourself at home, as you don't know just how overly stuffed it's going to be. The California Queso Burrito from El Pollo Loco has more than 900 calories and has nearly a day and a half's worth of sodium. And that's without factoring in any chips and guacamole or queso you most likely are munching on as well.


Wienerschnitzel Thousand Island Chili Cheese Fries

wienerschnitzel thousand island chili cheese fries
Courtesy of Wienerschnitzel
Per large size: 1,510 calories, 95 g fat (22 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 3,500 mg sodium, 131 g carbs (13 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 33 g protein

Between the calories, fat, and sodium count you get with this order of fries from Wienerschnitzel, you're really going to want to make sure you're splitting this side order with plenty of friends. You're better off just never ordering it.

Jennifer Maldonado
Jennifer Maldonado is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and health content. Read more about Jennifer