If you’re a very busy person with barely enough time for one meal a day, you might consider stopping by Applebee’s for a Quesadilla Burger and getting rid of that “to-do”. In one five-nap greasy session, you’ll meet almost an entire day’s calorie needs, not to mention the fries or Ultra Strength Tums you’ll probably need too. This burger could be a great choice if you’re an arctic explorer who needs to eat a lot of dietary fat to stay warm, given the high number of calories compared to the amount of saturated fat it contains. But according to some dietitians, for the average American, this sandwich ranks among the worst fast food burgers you can eat. But wait people! If you’re too busy for a sit-down lunch, there are more than enough heavy ground beef meal deals available through the convenience of our country’s drive-thru windows.
“Regular consumption of these types of foods can help increase the risk of almost all chronic diseases, including hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” says an expert nutritionist. Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLECauthor of first time mom’s pregnancy cookbook And Fueling Male Fertility. “Additionally, most fast food packaging is said to be made with polyfluorinated chemicals known as the ‘forever chemicals’. Although more research is needed to explore the effects of these chemicals, some studies suggest a potential link to negative reproductive health issues and liver damage.”
Here’s your menu of the worst fast food burgers ever. Enjoy your food!
1530 calories, 107g fat (44g saturated fat, 5g trans fat), 1890mg sodium, 53g carbs, 3g fiber, 89g protein
Where’s the beef? There you have it: three-quarters of a pound of never-frozen cow slathered in hot beer cheese sauce. And since you can’t have enough cheese, Wendy’s throws in an extra slice of muenster. What’s a pub burger without crispy fried onions and a soft pretzel for a bun?
“US Dietary Guidelines recommend keeping sodium intake at 2,300 milligrams; this burger gives you 82% of that daily limit,” says Johna Burdeos, Dt.P.. “High sodium content is associated with an increased risk of kidney disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease.”
1070 calories, 63g fat (21 saturated, 2.5g trans fat), 1720mg sodium, 62g carbs, 4g fiber, 47g protein
Despite that all-American “more is better” mantra, when it comes to burgers, think “less is healthier”. Order the regular single-patty version and you’ll still get a meal that will make your mouth sing “what a burger!” But you’ll cut calories and fat by nearly half. It will also limit your trans fat intake to 1 gram. Trans fats are the worst of the worst fats for your body, increasing your risk of heart disease.
630 calories, 35g fat (15g saturated fat, 1.5g trans fat), 1470mg sodium, 43g carbs, 36g protein
With approximately one McDonald’s restaurant for every 24,000 people in the United States, you don’t have to look far to find the Golden Arches on the horizon of the highway.
“An occasional visit is OK,” Manaker says. “You can find better choices than other saturated fat-filled burgers.”
For example, a regular burger at Micky D’s is a healthier option than this quarter pound topped with bacon and cheese, which has “630 calories, more than half the recommended sodium intake and 15 grams of saturated fat, or 77% of DV,” Manaker says.
1060 calories, 62g fat (30g saturated, 0g trans fat), 1310mg sodium, 40g carbs, 51g protein
You might notice a trend among these burger offerings, right? A hint: it rhymes with “makin'”. America’s favorite deli meat adds lots of calories, fat and sodium to an already greasy sandwich. And the fact that it’s “applewood smoked” doesn’t make it any healthier. Dietitians recommend skipping the bacon, opting for a small burger from Five Guys, and filling up on healthier toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, green peppers, and mushrooms.
1190 calories, 83g fat (24g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 52g carbs, 2020mg sodium, 58g protein
Hey guess what? Order Sonic’s combo with fries and a large soda and you’ll get more than triple the calories, a super sonic 3,790!
1340 calories, 105g fat (35g saturated, 2g trans fat), 2500mg sodium, 40 carbs, 54g protein
Order this monster of a three-patty burger from Rally’s or Checkers, and you’ll be treated to 2,500 milligrams of sodium, which is 250 mg more than the American Heart Association recommends we limit ourselves to daily. If you have high blood pressure or are an adult, the AHA suggests limiting yourself to just 1,550 mg of salt. “No one should eat this burger on a regular basis,” warns Trista Best, MPH, RD, Registered Dietitian at Balance One. “That’s three hamburger patties and three slices of American cheese that provides 78 grams of fat and half the standard calorie intake for a day.”
1620 calories, 106g fat (40g saturated, 2g trans fat), 3630mg sodium, 97g carbs, 67g protein
This Tex-Mex-style burger has been a staple on the Applebee’s menu for over a decade. It’s super rich.
“Applebee’s quesadilla burger, which includes a side of classic fries, serves up 1,620 calories. That’s practically an entire day’s worth of calories for some people,” Burdeos says. “If you regularly eat a high-calorie burger like this and eat other foods the rest of the day, you’re probably exceeding your daily requirement.” It’s a recipe for weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
1400 calories, 97g fat (35g saturated fat, 4.5g trans fat), 2780mg sodium, 86g protein
If this burger’s “monster” moniker doesn’t scare you, its 4.5 grams of trans fat should. The American Heart Association recommends that less than 1% of our daily fat comes from this most dangerous type of fat, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease because it is known to raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol. In other words, a typical 2,000 calorie a day diet should contain less than 2 grams of trans fat. Hardee’s heaviest burger has 4.5 grams of the bad stuff. Lesson? Never let yourself be so hungry, you order something called a “thickburger”.
1760 calories, 101g fat (47g saturated, 0g trans fat) 2980mg sodium, 103g protein
Sorry friend. There’s nothing lovable about this heart attack on a bun. When it launched in 2019, Friendly’s bragged that its new sandwich is stacked so high with meat and cheese “you’ll need a lift”. I wonder if it’s really that they misspelled “undertaker”. Even worse, Friendly challenged us to “finish the NEW Triple Decker Bacon Cheeseburger and the NEW Candy Blast Monster Shake (add almost 2,500 calories) in one visit.” The prize for that: a free t-shirt (extra large, of course).
1,200 calories, 81 g fat (32 g saturated fat, 1.2 g trans fat), 3,264.5 mg sodium, 66 g protein
Consider canceling the soda. On top of all those calories, BK’s largest burger has 14 grams of sugar, more than you’d get in a 12-ounce soda. Can we suggest a Whopper Jr. as an alternative meal? You reduce your total calorie and sodium intake by about three quarters.
330 calories, 19g fat (9g saturated), 1110mg sodium 29g carbs, 15g protein
Don’t let the 330 calories per burger fool you. Remember, these are sliders, and you’ll probably click at least two of them, maybe four, so do the math. White Castle burgers are particularly high in sodium for such thin meat patties.
670 calories, 41g fat (18g saturated fat, 1g trans fat), 1440mg sodium, 39g carbs, 37g protein
It’s not the worst burger on this worst list, but it’s the highest-calorie burger on the SoCal franchise’s iconic menu at 670 calories and 1,440 mg of salt. Double-double means you get double the beef and double the cheese. If you order one, you might as well have it Animal Style, grilled in mustard and caramelized onions and drizzled with extra Thousand Island dressing.
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