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Worst Burgers in America 2015

Call it a Burger Backlash: McDonald's, home of "billions and billions served," announced last week it would be closing more than 700 locations worldwide, due to declining sales and increased competition.

Customers now want healthier, casual dining options like Chipotle or LYFE Kitchen. The home of the Quarter Pounder is floundering every quarter—even as they've made strides lately to offer lower-calorie options.

A hamburger done right isn't a terrible nutritional choice. Topped with some lettuce and tomato, ketchup and mustard, and a relatively small bun, it's is a high-protein treat that shouldn't pack too much fat.

The fast-rising chain Shake Shack, for one, has mastered this formula, with no option more than 1,000 calories. But other chains are still supersizing their burgers like it's 2004. In our latest Annual Report, our editors at Eat This, Not That! magazine researched the most popular restaurants that serve burgers, and graded each and every one. Get a load—literally—of this list of The Worst Burgers in America 2015, and enjoy our Eat This, Not That! recommendations of relatively healthier choices. (Then keep your belly toned and tight—in record time—with these essential 7 Best Foods for Rapid Weight Loss!)


hardees thickburger el diablo

Hardee's and Carl's Jr. ½ Lb. Thickburger El Diablo

1,380 calories, 92 g fat (31 g saturated fat), 3,830 mg sodium, 84 g carbohydrates
That's the Fat and Sodium Equivalent of: 3 whole Big Macs!

Hardee's and Carl's Jr. take misplaced pride in their shamelessly caloric approach to everything they put under a heat lamp, which is probably reason enough for some to find another place to eat. Need more motivation? This burger is named after The Devil! Many of their offerings break the perilous 1,000-calorie barrier; but this bunbuster has nearly 75 percent of your entire day's calories and as much fat as a dozen Taco Bell soft beef tacos. Beware.

Eat This Instead!

⅓ Pound Low Carb Thickburger
470 Calories, 36 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 1,170 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrates

(And go from "thick" to thin: Slim down—fast—with these essential 14 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 14 Days!)


ruby tuesday portaballa burger

Ruby Tuesday's Portabella Crispy Onion Pretzel Cheeseburger

1,659 calories, 95 g fat (N/A saturated fat), 3,086 sodium, 130 g carbohydrates
That's the Carb Equivalent of: Shotgunning 10 slices of Wonder Bread!

Since our last Eat This, Not That! report, Ruby Tuesday's ditched their "Colossal Burger," which equaled six regular burgers at DQ. But they still offer the country's worst sit-down burger, adding a healthy portabella mushroom, but then piling on crisp onion straws and chipotle mayo, and topping it all with a salted pretzel as a bun!

Eat This Instead!

Turkey Burger Wrap
584 calories, 28 g fat, 1,395 sodium, 45 g carbohydrates


dennys double cheeseburger

Denny's Double Cheeseburger

1,120 calories, 67 g fat (32 g saturated fat, 4 g trans fat), 2,150 sodium, 49 g carbohydrates
That's the Trans-Fat Equivalent of: 8 Whopper Jrs. piled high!

The FDA just last week finally moved to ban trans-fats, deeming them "not generally recognized as safe"—why? Because they turn solid once they're inside your body, where they jam up your arteries, including those in your brain. Remember that next time you sit down at Denny's. This burger has 2 days' worth of the stuff—sharing that dubious honor with the Burger King Triple Whopper below.

Eat This Instead!

Build Your Own Burger Veggie Patty on a Whole Wheat Bun with lettuce, tomatoes and onions
374 calories, 4 g fat, 839 mg sodium, 59 g carbohydrates

And burn off the above and every high-cal restaurant meal—melting up to 10 pounds of fat in one week!— with our brand new weight-loss plan, The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Diet and Cleanse!


steak n shake 7 by 7 burger

Steak 'n Shake's 7×7 Steakburger

1,330 calories, 98 g fat (45 g saturated fat, 3.5 g trans fat), 4,490 sodium, 34 g carbohydrates
That's the Sodium Equivalent of: 12 servings of Pop Secret Homestyle popcorn!

Available only from midnight through 6am on the chain's "Up All Night" menu—because eating this monstrosity in daylight would be too shameful—the 7×7 isn't even described as food; they call it a "challenge." Steak 'n Shake smashes 7 Steakburgers and 7 slices of American Cheese into one pound of goopy, bloaty trans-fatty horror (usually sold for $7.77). You'd have to be either sleepwalking or drunk to think this marketing gimmick is a good idea.

Eat This Instead!

Nothing! Go to sleep! Nighttime fasting—aka closing the kitchen early—may help you lose more weight, even if you eat more food throughout the day, according to a study in the journal Cell Metabolism. But if somehow, you find yourself in a Steak 'n Shake at 2 am, and absolutely need a burger, get the Double Steakburger with Cheese
440 calories, 25 g fat (11 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 590 g sodium, 31 g carbohydrates

And fill up, but don't fill out: Use these Eat This, Not That!-recommended 10 Daily Habits That Blast Belly Fat!


mcdonalds bacon cheese sirloin burger

Bacon & Cheese Sirloin Third Pound Burger

810 calories, 41 g fat (18 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 2,060 sodium, 65 g carbohydrates
That's the Sodium Equivalent of: 68 Rold Gold pretzels!

Despite locations closing, the irony is, McDonald's has tried to clean up its act in recent years, eliminating trans-fats from its oils, reducing the number of calorie bombs and adding healthy options like yogurt, salads—even kale. Burger-wise, the chain is one of the least offensive when compared to the gut-busters on this list, but they're still the cheapest and easiest option for most Americans, making them a dangerous purveyor of affordable options that'll make you fat. This Bacon and Cheese is a prime example. The classic Big Mac or a McDouble will fill you up for 300-450 fewer calories.

Eat This Instead!

380 calories, 17 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 840 mg sodium, 34 g carbohydrates


burger king triple whopper

Burger King Triple Whopper Sandwich with Cheese and Mayo

1,160 calories, 75 g fat (27 g saturated fat, 4 g trans fat), 1,050 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrates
That's the Fat Equivalent of: 10 servings of Edy's Vanilla Ice Cream!

This Triple Whopper is triple trouble. You could remove 2 patties and still be looking at more calories than you need. And the fact that it's got more trans fat than you should eat in two days only adds insult to injury. We prefer the Grilled Chicken Sandwich—or the Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe, if you miss that char-broiled flavor. For more on which fast-food favorites are making you fat, don't miss The Worst Mall Foods in America 2015!

Eat This Instead!

Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe
290 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated fat, 0.5 trans fat), 720 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrates


oreo burger

The Carousel Foods Oreo Burger

Estimated: 3,047 calories, 212 g fat (64 g saturated fat, 0.2 g trans fat), 2,179 sodium, 226 g carbohydrates
That's the Calorie Equivalent of: 57 Oreo cookies eaten at once!

At Eat This, Not That!, we're big fans of healthy salty and sweet combos, like dark chocolate and popcorn, or peanut M+Ms. But leave it to Carousel Foods—whose best-selling item is the Krispy Kreme burger—to invent a burger deep fried in Oreo batter, and topped with bacon. The mashup hit the Florida State Fair earlier this year. "The crazier it is, the more people want to try it," Carousel's co-owner told the Tampa Bay Times. You'd have to be crazy to eat one. Although there is no official nutrition data available, we estimated it by tallying the counts ingredient by ingredient. Even if we somehow overestimated by, say, 1,000 calories, this is still the highest-calorie burger on this list. Consider yourself warned, and arm yourself with these other 8 Foods That Should Have Warning Labels!

Eat This Instead!

Corn Dog
280 calories, 18 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 755 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrates


chilis big mouth burgers

Chili's Big Mouth Bites

1,560 calories, 83 g fat (25 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 4,520 sodium, 144 g carbohydrates
That's the Calorie Equivalent of: 4 McDonald's McDoubles, all on one plate!

Isn't that an oxymoron: Big Mouth Bites? These four mini-burgers, topped with smoked bacon, American cheese, sauteed onions and house-made ranch, pack more calories than many of Chili's regular-sized burgers. That's no small difference.

Eat This Instead!

Make Your Own Double Thin Burger with veggies
Starting at 360 calories, 26 g fat (14 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 840g sodium, 1 g carbohydrates


wayback triple triple burger

Wayback Burgers Triple Triple Burger

1,780 calories, 108 g fat (42 g saturated fat), 700 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrates
That's the Fat Equivalent of: 10 Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnuts!

It'd be one thing if this were a one-time gimmick just to nab headlines, but the chain proudly features the Triple Triple front and center in its marketing and website: 9 burger patties with 9 slices of American cheese, stacked high. This one will take you way, way back—ideally to a time before you ordered it, so you can make a smarter swap.

Eat This Instead!

Philly Burger Single
440 calories, 22 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 970 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrates


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Images: Instagram / @rubytuesday, Florida State Fair, Instagram / @chilisphilippines

Eat This, Not That!
Inspired by The New York Times best-selling book series, Eat This, Not That! is a brand that's comprised of an award-winning team of journalists and board-certified experts, doctors, nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers, and dietitians who work together to bring you accurate, timely, informative, and actionable content on food, nutrition, dieting, weight loss, health, wellness, and more. Read more about Eat This