Top 10 Most Butt-Blimping Fast Foods

A Calorie Counter has put together an awesome graph of all the fast food offerings. Based on his charts, here’s the most calorie packed fast food items, the ones most likely to bloat your belly:

Worst…

Fries – Dairy Queen: 730 calories
Hamburgers – Carl’s Jr: 470 calories
Sandwiches/Hamburgers – Carl’s Jr Double Six Dollar Burger 1520 calories
Individual Piece Chicken – Dairy Queen Chicken Strip Basket (6pc): 1270 calories
Chicken Sandwich – Hardee’s (Big Fillet) & Burger King (TENDERCRISP): 800 calories
Onion Rings – White Castle (Homestyle, Sack): 790 calories
Breakfast Sandwiches/Biscuits/Croissants/Wraps – Arby’s Sausage Gravy Biscuit & Jack In The Box Spicy Chicken Biscuit: 961 calories
Mozzarella Sticks – Arby’s 8 pc (Large) & White Castle 10 pc: 849 calories
Breadsticks, Cheesy Bread, Cheese Breadsticks – Papa John’s (Cheesesticks): 370 calories
“14 Inch Large Cheese Pizza” Compared (1 slice, no toppings) – Pizza Hut (14″ Large Pan Pizza): 390 calories

His chart has sortable columns for comparing food restaurant, type, serving size, calories, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, carbs, and sodium across all the major fast food restaurants. Neat stuff so you know what you’re stuffing in your butt, er, gut.

Fast Food Restaurants & Nutrition Facts Compared [A Calorie Counter]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. Nick says:

    That table would be 500% more helpful if they also adjusted the info based on the serving size. For example, the Carl’s JR hamburger is deemed the “worst,” but it is also twice the size (by weight) as many of the other hamburgers. (For example, Carl’s JR = 2.26 Cal/g; Sonic = 2.65 Cal/g)

    Although I think listing the total calories is useful, it is also useful to put the different food items on a level playing field. I can imagine someone eating two Sonic Burgers in order to fill themselves up, while one Carls Jr burger would do the trick with fewer calories and much less fat.

  2. karlrove says:

    News flash: Fast food is bad for you. (In fairness, most people seem to be pretty oblivious to the fat content of supposedly “good” food like fast-food salads)

    and…
    *obligatory my hippie wife and I make all our own nutritious food at home from our organic garden and prepackage that food to eat throughout the week comment*

  3. SabrinaFaire says:

    *lalalalala* I can’t hear you. *lalalalala*

  4. cashmerewhore says:

    I love how everything is the largest portion possible. A SAK of onion rings folks. Six chicken strips. Portion control….

  5. @schwnj: The idea was to compare similar products rather than products of similar weight. When people get fast food, they only think “Should I get this burger or this burger?” No one ever thinks anything like “Should I get this 100 gram burger, or should I get this 300 gram burger and eat 1/3 of it?”

    People tend to only buy fast food in terms of Burger A vs Burger B, Chicken Nuggets A vs Chicken Nuggets B, etc. and this comparison was done with that in mind.

    I included weight so people could still see the difference in serving size. But really, comparing them in terms of X grams of each product isn’t going to be much use to anyone who was just going to eat 1 full order of whatever they ended up ordering.

    Unless people are bringing their digital food scales to McDonald’s, the only real level playing field is burger vs burger, fries vs fries, etc.

  6. Caprica Six says:

    Is there such a thing as a *best of* list? I know fast food can be bad for you, especially if you eat it everyday and all the time, but I am sure *something* on the menu must be good. I’ve been stuck at a trade show where all they had was a McDonald’s (McCormick – Chicago) and I ate a salad justifying that it must be good for me :)

  7. KJones says:

    Fast food is a bit like bikinis…the higher the price, the smaller the portion yet more skin gets exposed than with the cheaper ones.

  8. @big keytee: Off the top of my head, I remember some kind of Burger King salad (with chicken) containing 3.5 grams of trans fat. Some are better than others though, I’m sure.

  9. Balisong says:

    Why don’t those charts list cholesterol? Makes them kinda useless to me.

  10. gte910h says:

    1. “Fat”, as a raw number, doesn’t matter at all. It is just a particular storage mechanism for calories. It can either make you more or less healthy.

    2. Trans-Fat and Saturated Fat are an *extremely* important numbers to have. Both metabolize in your bodies in ways that make your cholesterol profile less healthy. These are things to avoid.

    3. In theory, both polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats lower your “bad” cholesterol. However, polyunsaturated fats go rancid quickly if not properly refrigerated, so are dangerous if not properly stored. The most current FDA guidelines have *completely lifted* all recommendations to avoid this fat. I.e. Eat as much as calorically appropriate for your metabolism. Remember though, fat is very energy dense (~9 calories per gram, as opposed to ~4 for a gram of carbs), so eat a smaller portion if it is higher fat.

  11. gte910h says:

    @Balisong: Dietary Cholesterol is largely meaningless. The amount of saturated/trans fat will dictate 90% of all serum cholesterol changes caused by eating a meal.

  12. MikeB says:

    First, excellent post acaloriecounter.
    I think a good rule of thumb if you must eat at a fast food place, No cheese, mayo, or “special sauces” and stay away from fried food. If you are jonesing for some fries with your burger, get a kids meal (small) as their fries are normally smaller than the small.

    This fall, once a week, I have had to pick my kids up from afterschool care @ 5 and have them at the baseball field by 5:30 so a quick stop by McDonalds on the way made sure everyone was fed. Since I am currently working on losing weight my options were very limited. I would get a Chipotle BBQ Wrap with Grilled chicken and a reg hamburger. Total Calories/Fat 540/17, well within my alloted Calorie/fat for the day. Not the greatest meal but it filled me up.

  13. jamesdenver says:

    @mbouchard:

    I always use that rule when eating out. The “hold the sauce” diet is excellent.

    When dining out during lunch with co-workers or medium-high end restaurants I do the same. A ceaser salad sounds healthy, but it’s slathered with heavy dressing canceling out the benefits of a salad. Same with chickens and steaks drenched in sugary sauces.

    I just ask for “sauce on the side,” and add however much I think is appropriate.

    Oh and at most restaurants I end up portioning half or 1/3 of my meal, taking it back to work/home and having it later.

    james

  14. liquisoft says:

    I notice some correlation with that list of the worst Trans Fat offenders from last week or the week before. Mostly that White Castle SACK of onion rings. I wonder, is it a burlap sack full of them?

  15. Buran says:

    Let me guess, all the food that is on this list actually tastes good, unlike the crap you get shoveled in your face by “health experts”?

    Make it taste good AND be healthy, and people will eat it.

    News flash: people eat what tastes good! Duh.

  16. karlrove says:

    @Buran: Uh, healthy can taste just fine. Some abhor salads because they make them with crappy iceberg lettuce and other unsavory ingredients. Try romaine or baby spinach, toss in other fresh veggies and some decent vingerette…yum. Same goes with any sort of chicken or even red meat, depending on how it’s prepared.

    It’s all about retraining your brain to not crave a piece of greased-covered, polysaturated, high fructose-infused lard ball. Really, when you put it in those terms, healthy sounds just dandy.

  17. newtonite says:

    Does this imply that mom and pop restaurants are any healthier?

    How about some info on what’s good to get in a pinch?

    How bad’s a Big Mac without the sauce. Wish a seemingly good article went a little deeper.

  18. @newtonite: As nice as it would be to go even deeper, I can only really work with what’s available. I don’t have access to the nutritional content of mom and pop restaurants. The same goes for certain brand name items minus part of it’s ingredients.

    And I did make some “best” and “worst” picks from each fast food category. In a pinch, any of those “best” picks are your best choice.

  19. bbbici says:

    Man, I had no idea a plain pizza had so many calories. I’ll eat five slices, no problem! yikes!

  20. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @newtonite:

    Panera or Subway?

  21. SonicAD says:

    So, I suppose it’s a bad thing I like to get 5 orders of the 4-piece mozzarella sticks at Arby’s?

  22. SOhp101 says:

    I agree with the comment that people don’t think too much about serving size when eating at a fast food restaurant.

    @gte910h: I only partially agree with you. It’s always better to eat healthier fats but when you’re getting this much fat from a product you know can’t contain any healthy fats (all coming from either the cheap dressings/mayo, frying oil, or processed meat) then it’s pointless.

  23. B says:

    Carl’s Jr. and Dairy Queen, here I come.

  24. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    Nice article/charts. I’d like to see KFC and Taco Bell on it.

  25. syndprod says:

    They really should have included Chik-Fil-A in the chicken sandwich portion of the information. Their plain old grilled chicken sandwich only has 270 calories, and not a lot of fat. The original has something like 410 calories. And, they never put condiments (besides pickles) on the sandwiches – you add your own mayo and such.

  26. thalia says:

    People…just stop eating fast food!!! It takes 30 seconds to chop up some tomatoes and radishes and cucumber and dump it onto a bed of lettuce! Now THAT’S fast!

  27. BigNutty says:

    Why would anyone care about calories and fat if they are eating at a fast food joint? If you are that concerned about the nutrition value of the food you eat, don’t make that turn into the drive-thru and instead go the the grocery store and buy real food.

  28. UpsetPanda says:

    @syndprod: That’s why if I eat any fast food, I try to go to Chick-fil-a because their items are always lower than others. I rarely eat fries, so I usually just buy a drink and the chicken sandwich. It’s healthier and it tastes better.

  29. @big keytee: “Is there such a thing as a *best of* list?”

    Yes, there is. A lot of diet/health sites have lists of this type; even my nutrition textbook talks about it. Typically at burger places (McFood, Wendy’s, BK) it’s a regular hamburger (the 89 cent one), with no cheese, no mayo, and a reasonable amount of ketchup. (Mustard has very little caloric value so you can have buttloads of it.)

    You have to watch the sides — even with the side salad, people often get very caloric dressings and then put too much of them on — and the drinks. But it’s perfectly possible to include occasional fast food within a health eating plan.

    @newtonite: “Does this imply that mom and pop restaurants are any healthier? How about some info on what’s good to get in a pinch?”

    Depends on how they cook it, what ingredients they use, etc. Look for grilled or baked instead of fried; skinless chicken; few condiments; portion control; and keep an eye on the sides (skinless baked chicken is no good if you have a giant baked potato with butter, cheese, bacon, and sour cream on the side!).

    And if you eat a generally healthy diet, really you can eat any darn thing you want every now-and-again at a restaurant, as long as you keep the rest of your diet under control. Lots of nutrition-savvy folks eat a light breakfast and lunch when they know they’re going out for dinner so they can indulge at dinner and eat the whole steak platter or a McValue Meal, and then make sure to do a little extra exercise the next day. But only once in a while.

    @BigNutty: “Why would anyone care about calories and fat if they are eating at a fast food joint? “

    Because eating a healthy diet, whether to lose weight or to maintain a healthy lifestyle, shouldn’t involve cowering in one’s home hiding from the big bad world of not-home-made food. Healthy eating shouldn’t mean you can’t ever go out with your friends, or have convenience foods. And it shouldn’t mean you have to starve when traveling when restaurants are your only food option!

    Knowing how to pick a healthy meal at a fast food joint or a restaurant is a good skill to have. Why mock people for watching their health and learning about it?

  30. scarletvirtue says:

    @syndprod: Oh how I miss Chick-Fil-A … their sandwiches are the best, and I usually would avoid the fries because I didn’t like the taste.

  31. royal72 says:

    dear america,
    just a friendly reminder to keep eating! we need you to kick the bucket asap, as you’ll be used as fertilizer for all the forests that need to be replenished. thanks for helping out!
    sincerely,
    mother earth

  32. swalve says:

    @nursethalia: Why would I want to eat that?

  33. JAYEONE says:

    @swalve: gonna have to agree with you here!
    (defiant-but-friendly look in the direction of @nursethalia)

  34. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @nursethalia: Jesus Christ, I’m a vegetarian and your post turns me off.

  35. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @scarletvirtue: OK, I used to date a guy who was a manager at Chick-Fil-A in college. If you cultivate a good relationship with the staff, and you order enough fries to lessen waste (say you go with your family), you may be able to talk them into dropping a fry basket into the oil they use to fry the chicken. They will protest that it doesn’t make the fries “crispy enough,” but the fries are not all that crispy anyway. They will taste better, and everyone on staff knows this, but they are supposed to pretend they can’t do it.

  36. korith says:

    Surprised mcdonalds the frequent target wasn’t on the worst offenders list.

  37. Sidecutter says:

    @cashmerewhore: You do realize that a “sack” of onion rings is the ONLY size White Castle has, right? It’s not some massive bag (I think you’re reading it as an entire “to-go” bag full of onion rings, perhaps), but maybe equivilent to a medium size order at Burger King, give or take, sizewise.

    And DQ Chicken Strip meals only come in two sizes. 4 or 6. Like it or not, people who are “HUNGRY!” are going to order the larger one, and even the 4pc wouldn’t make a massive enough dent in the calories to make it good for you.

  38. rptrcub says:

    I think the key message from all of this is to think before eating.