McDonald’s is synonymous with the Big Mac, which is synonymous with, of course, fast food and unhealthy choices. Whether due to lack of nutritional value in the meals or the presence of germ-infested ball pits, health-conscious folks have been avoiding McDonald’s for decades. After all, a fast food diet is hardly considered heart-healthy. And possibly just as terrifying is what lurks around the bend, or across the highway, from those well-known golden arches.
That’s right, we’re talking about the competition — fast food joints with menus delivering the same kind of nutritional irreverence you’d expect. There’s an entire world of regret waiting to sink its teeth into you faster than you can say, “Make it a combo meal.” Still, McDonald’s isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, nor is its competition.
While the Bic Mac may not be the most caloric burger on the menu (it’s the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, in case you’re wondering), it’s certainly the most infamous. To put things in perspective, a Big Mac has 540 calories, 28 grams of total fat, and 950 milligrams of sodium. But that’s really just the beginning. Here are 10 fast food picks that are even worse.
1. Wendy’s Baconator
The Baconator hardly conjures up thoughts of healthy living, so if you suspect this hefty burger packs a punch, you’d be right. It’s 950 calories, to be exact. Two quarter-pound patties meet Applewood smoked bacon, before being topped off with, you guessed it, more bacon. With a total of six strips of bacon (are you dreaming about bacon, yet?), it shouldn’t be your first choice.
2. Burger King Whopper
If the Big Mac is the star at McDonald’s, the Whopper is for Burger King. Be careful, though, because the next time you’re flipping the fast food coin, you’re better off going with a Big Mac. One-quarter pound of beef, all the toppings, and standard condiments add up to 630 calories and 38 grams of fat.
3. Arby’s Smokehouse Brisket
Arby’s customers are no strangers to meat, meat, and more meat. And nothing says man food quite like The Smokehouse Brisket. Combine that savory beef with Gouda cheese, barbecue sauce, and a soft bun, and it’s no wonder this sandwich hits 600 calories and 1,240 milligrams of sodium.
4. Taco Bell Smothered Burrito
The reigning champ of Mexican fast food has no shortage of over-the-top items. And while the website may say the Smothered Burrito is “Smothered with ‘Love’,” it takes more than just love to reach 700 calories and 2,210 milligrams of sodium. As your reasoning skills have likely led you to believe, this burrito is smothered in a red sauce, then topped with melted cheese and a reduced-fat sour cream (although we doubt the reduced-fat version makes much of a difference at this point).
5. Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s Personal Pan Pizza
A measly 210 calories doesn’t sound bad, right? But when you consider the fact that it accounts for just one tiny slice of a personal pan pizza, it does. Because who eats just one slice, anyway? It is called a personal pizza, after all. So, the next time you’re staring at a Pizza Hut Express menu during your layover, consider another option at the airport’s food court. Pizza Hut’s Meat Lover’s Personal Pan Pizza is 840 calories for the entire (read: personal) thing.
6. KFC Doublicious
The Colonel doesn’t just do family-style buckets of fried chicken. The Double Crunch Sandwich with Bacon & Cheese is a sandwich made for the KFC connoisseur. It may start out with a piece of boneless chicken breast, but top it with bacon, Monterey Jack, and mayo, and you have yourself 590 calories and 1,210 milligrams of sodium.
7. Popeyes Chicken Po’ Boy
Popeyes knows how to do southern-style cooking right, so it’s no surprise their menu items aren’t exactly health-conscious. And with chicken tenders on a French baguette, the Chicken Po’ Boy is no exception. Coming in at 660 calories, 34 grams of fat, and 2,120 milligrams of sodium, this sandwich is more of an occasional treat than an everyday go-to.
8. Jack In The Box Bacon & Swiss Buttery Jack
A quarter-pound beef patty topped with garlic herb butter, hickory smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, and creamy bacon mayo, the Bacon & Swiss Buttery Jack is no joke. Even Jack in the Box describes it as a burger to be feared by the rest. Coming in at 887 calories, 59 grams of fat, and 1,346 milligrams of sodium, the Buttery Jack isn’t your best choice. You’re better off holding out until you find a healthier option to pop into your mouth.
9. Carl’s Jr. Double Super Bacon Cheese Burger
The Double Super Bacon Cheese Burger isn’t for serious health foodies. At 1,100 calories, 71 grams of fat, and 1,780 milligrams of sodium, this menu item is definitely over the top. Complete with not one, but two beef patties, the Double Super Bacon Cheese Burger is topped with American cheese and two strips of bacon, leaving you with nothing more than a bellyache.
10. Sonic Footlong Quarter Pound Coney
This isn’t just any hotdog — it’s a Footlong Quarter Pound Coney. As you may have guessed, it’s basically a supersized version of the American classic. And it doesn’t skimp on calories, either: This coney has 870 calories, 58 grams of fat, and 2,090 milligrams of sodium. You may think this dose of nostalgia will have you running to the Ferris wheel on the boardwalk, but the reality is, you won’t be running at all.