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14 Unhealthiest Items at Fast Food Restaurants

Find out the least healthy fast food items to avoid if you’re watching your weight.

Most people recognize that fast food is usually not the healthiest meal choice. Fast food is loaded with calories, unhealthy fats, and high sodium levels. But sometimes, you just want to treat yourself.

Fast food and unhealthy eating concept

It’s perfectly fine to enjoy fast food in moderation! I love fries as much as the next person, but it’s important to note that not all fast food items are created equal. Some fast food items aren’t as fatty or caloric as others. 

If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthier diet and lifestyle, there are several fast food items you should avoid.

Most Unhealthy Fast Food

In this article, I’ll share the most unhealthy fast food items at major fast-food restaurants so that you can avoid them or eat them sparingly as a treat.


Burger King’s Triple Whopper with Cheese

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 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.


KFC Chicken Pot Pie

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’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

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’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.


Taco Bell Cinnabon Delights

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 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 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 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.


Cinnabon’s Caramel Pecanbon

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

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

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 

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.


Most Unhealthy Fast Food

  1. Burger King’s Triple Whopper with Cheese
  2. Hardee’s Monster Thickburger
  3. KFC Chicken Pot Pie
  4. Pizza Hut -Personal Meat Lover’s Pizza
  5. Panera Bread Mac and Cheese
  6. Sonic -SuperSonic Bacon Double Cheeseburger
  7. Taco Bell Cinnabon Delights
  8. Shake Shack’s Double SmokeShack Burger
  9. Burger King’s Ultimate Breakfast Platter
  10. Carl’s Jr -½ Pound Mile High Bacon Thickburger
  11. Cinnabon’s Caramel Pecanbon
  12. Five Guys – Large French Fries
  13. Taco Bell -XXL Steak Burrito
  14. Wendy’s Baconator 

Final Thoughts

These are the most unhealthy fast food items that you should think twice about before consuming.

The high fat, sugar, and salt levels in these meaty, cheesy, and carb-heavy meals make these items so popular. People love the taste and satisfaction of biting into these juicy, crunchy, and savory items.

While it’s okay to indulge every once in a while, frequent consumption of these items can lead to weight gain, health problems, and an overall unhealthier lifestyle.

So, the next time you’re at a fast-food restaurant, look at the nutritional information and consider whether you want to order one of these items or opt for something a little healthier.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.