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14 Unhealthiest Items at Fast Food Restaurants

Fast food and unhealthy eating concept

Fast-food restaurants have come to be associated with convenience and a quick bite to eat on the run in our fast-paced society. But within these places, tucked away among the appetizing and flavorful menu selections, are some of the tastiest and least nutritious things you’ll find. This piece will examine fast food options that go beyond recommended daily intake in terms of calories, saturated fats, sodium, and sugar. Our mission is to bring attention to the “heavier” side of fast food, with everything from massive cheese-topped burgers to massive milkshakes and mouthwatering fried dishes that entice the palate. Our intention is not to discourage you from enjoying the occasional fast-food treat, but to provide you some understanding of the nutritional value of these choices. Our guide will help you make sense of the decadent but less healthful menu items, whether you’re a fast-food enthusiast or looking to eat in moderation. Come along as we explore the delicious but frequently unhealthy realm of fast-food excess and offer substitutes for a more well-rounded and fulfilling experience.


Burger King’s Triple Whopper with Cheese

Burger King's Triple Whopper with Cheese
Source: Instagram

Burger King is best known for its savory, satisfying whoppers, and people feel inclined to order the Triple Whopper when they’re exceptionally hungry. The Triple Whopper with Cheese has three juicy beef patties, tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, mayo, pickles, ketchup, and onions. All of these ingredients are sandwiched between bread, totaling 1,216 calories. This sandwich is also high in saturated fat, containing more than half the daily recommended value. So while you might want to feast like a king, it’s important to know what you’re putting in your body.


Hardee’s Monster Thickburger

Hardee's Monster Thickburger
Source: Instagram

Hardee’s Monster Thickburger includes 1/3 pound of Angus beef and fatty ingredients like bacon, mayo, and cheese. Fat is flavor, so this burger is just as tasty as it sounds. But at 1420 calories, this burger is certainly on the highly caloric side. For reference, this is about 3/4 of the daily caloric intake an average adult should be consuming. Unless you’re eating a salad or other lighter, greener meals for the rest of the day, you might want to avoid ordering this burger. I like splitting this burger with a friend so I can enjoy it but not overdo it.

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KFC Chicken Pot Pie

KFC Chicken Pot Pie
Source: Instagram

KFC is a world-renowned chain known for its tender fried chicken. While no deep-fried dish is going to come with many health benefits, KFC’s Chicken Pot Pie is particularly harmful. This dish is one of the most unhealthy fast food items. A single pot pie contains a whopping 790 calories and 41 grams of fat. The filling is made with chunks of chicken, vegetables, and a gravy-like sauce. The majority of these calories come from the doughy crust that encases the creamy filling. While it certainly sounds finger-licking good, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by eating this regularly.


Pizza Hut -Personal Meat Lover’s Pizza

Pizza Hut -Personal Meat Lover's Pizza
Source: Instagram

Pizza Hut’s Personal Meat Lover’s Pizza is, as the name suggests, a pizza loaded with meat. The pizza’s ingredients include:

  • Pepperoni
  • Sausage
  • Ham
  • Beef
  • Bacon

It also has a double layer of cheese on a thin crust. So, this pizza is packed with calories and fat! While it may be fine to have a slice or two, keep in mind that most people have more than one slice of pizza when they sit down to enjoy a pie, so the calories will surely add up. I recommend getting a pizza with fewer meats and more veggies. You could also limit your consumption to just one slice and supplement your meal with a tasty, filling salad.


Panera Bread Mac and Cheese

Panera Bread Mac and Cheese
Source: Instagram

Mac and cheese is classic comfort food that is loved by many. And while it might be delicious, it’s not the healthiest food out there. Panera Bread’s Mac and Cheese is made with a blend of cheddar, Jack, and Parmesan cheeses, as well as elbow pasta and a creamy sauce. A single serving of this dish contains 920 calories, which is a lot considering its small size. Fortunately, Panera has a range of healthier menu items to choose from, such as their steel-cut oatmeal, caesar salad with grilled chicken, and roasted turkey and avocado BLT.


Sonic -SuperSonic Bacon Double Cheeseburger

Sonic -SuperSonic Bacon Double Cheeseburger
Source: Meat+Poultry

Sonic’s SuperSonic Bacon Double Cheeseburger is, as the name suggests, a burger with two beef patties, cheese, and bacon. But that’s not all! It also comes with mayo, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and pickles on a toasted bun. This burger contains a whopping 1,190 calories and 83 grams of fat. And that’s just for the sandwich itself! If you add fries and a drink, you’re looking at a meal that contains well over 2,000 calories. I love this burger, but I always avoid the fries and get water instead of a sugary drink on the side.

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Taco Bell Cinnabon Delights

Taco Bell Cinnabon Delights
Source: Pinterest

Taco Bell’s Cinnabon Delights may seem like a strange menu item for a Mexican-inspired fast food joint, but they’re one of the most popular items on the Taco Bell menu. These sugar-coated cinnamon pastries are deep-fried and filled with a cream cheese frosting.

A single Cinnabon Delight contains:

  • 80 calories
  • 4.5 grams of fat
  • 40mg of sodium

If you love cinnamon as much as I do, you’re more likely to eat more than two! Plus, unlike some of the other menu items that have vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles, Cinnabon Delights have no real nutritional value. They’ll certainly make you smile but eat them sparingly.


Shake Shack’s Double SmokeShack Burger

Shake Shack's Double SmokeShack Burger
Source: Instagram

Shake Shack’s Double SmokeShack Burger is a burger made with two beef patties topped with American cheese, bacon, and the delightful ShackSauce. This burger contains 830 calories and 53 grams of fat. Although it’s delicious, you’d need to walk about 240 minutes to burn that amount of calories. This comparison is a good way of deciding whether or not it’s tasty enough to justify ordering. While the Double SmokeShack Burger is one of the most unhealthy fast food items on Shake Shack’s menu, there are some healthier options that you can choose from that will be just as tasty. For example, if you’re a fast-food loving vegan, you could try out their plant-based veggie burger instead.


Burger King’s Ultimate Breakfast Platter

Burger King's Ultimate Breakfast Platter
Source: Instagram

Burger King’s Ultimate Breakfast Platter is filled with all the carbs and fat you can imagine. Most people choose between items like biscuits, pancakes, and hash browns if they want a savory and heavy meal to start their day. But with this platter, you don’t have to choose; you get all three, plus eggs and sausage! This meal is extremely filling. But it’s also loaded with more calories than you likely need in the morning unless you plan on going to the gym for several hours that day! If you really want Burger King but don’t want to get one of the most unhealthy items on their menu, try out their Whopper Junior instead. I like getting one of their burgers without the bread to cut a few calories off my meal.


Carl’s Jr -½ Pound Mile High Bacon Thickburger

Carl's Jr -½ Pound Mile High Bacon Thickburger
Source: Instagram

Carl’s Jr 1/2 Pound Mile High Bacon Thickburger is as thick as a burger can get.If the 1/2 pound patty doesn’t tempt you, the Applewood-smoked bacon might be what lures you in. I love the idea of this burger, as well as the look and the taste, but at 1,230 calories for just the burger, it might not be worth it for someone looking to watch their calorie intake. The high-calorie count is due to the large beef patty and the bacon, mayonnaise, and cheese. These toppings make the burger a flavor explosion but also incredibly unhealthy.

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Cinnabon’s Caramel Pecanbon

Cinnabon's Caramel Pecanbon
Source: Instagram

Nothing at Cinnabon is particularly healthy because they specialize in gooey cinnamon rolls. But the Caramel Pecanbon is one of the worst offenders regarding unhealthy items on the menu. This cinnamon roll is topped with caramel, pecans, and frosting, making it even more delicious – and even more unhealthy. A single classic Cinnabon roll contains 880 calories and 37 grams of fat, which is already a ton. But the Caramel Pecanbon takes it up a notch, containing a whopping 1,090 calories and 51 grams of fat. That means you’ll consume more than half of the recommended daily caloric intake in just one cinnamon roll. Plus, you’re not getting much nutritional value.


Five Guys – Large French Fries

Five Guys – Large French Fries
Source: Instagram

Many people assume that the unhealthiest items at fast-food restaurants are burgers and see french fries as an innocent side item. But fried potatoes can also do a lot of damage, especially when you order large portions. Five Guy’s large french fries are a heavyweight contender – arguably the most unhealthy fast food fries on the market at around 1,400 calories! Five Guys’ fries are fresh, hand-cut, and some of the tastiest fries you can find in a fast-food joint. But if you want to treat yourself, it might be best to stick with the small size unless you plan on sharing with a big group.


Taco Bell -XXL Steak Burrito

Taco Bell -XXL Steak Burrito
Source: Instagram

It’s not surprising that a fast food item with “XXL” in the title is a whopper of a meal and extremely unhealthy. It’s even less surprising when you hear it’s from Taco Bell. Taco Bell is known for not being the healthiest restaurant, regardless of their “low-fat sour cream” or inclusion of lettuce and tomatoes in some of their items. This particular Taco Bell burrito contains close to 1000 calories from the beef, cheese, rice, tortilla, and other heavy ingredients.If you’re craving Taco Bell but want something a little bit healthier, try their fresco-style burritos instead.


Wendy’s Baconator 

Wendy's Baconator 
Source: Instagram

Known for its burgers and frosty drinks, it’s no surprise that a Wendy’s item makes this list. Wendy’s Baconator is one of the fast-food restaurant’s top-rated items due to its fresh 1/2 pound beef patties, Applewood-smoked bacon, and delicious melted cheese. This burger is a meat lover’s dream! But it’s not the best choice for someone trying to live a healthier lifestyle. There are 1,010 calories, 67 grams of fat, and 38 carbs in the Baconator. It also has a fair amount of sugar and salt, two ingredients that are quite addicting.

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  1. While most of Americans are considered to be overweight, these foods are probably the the fuel for the fire belly. I am one of the fortunate ones that can eat a cow and never gain! Don’t really think the author is telling anyone what to eat, rather just alittle education on fast food. Cruze

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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