Saturday, October 1 2022

Fast food owes its name to its best characteristic: its speed. There are no health, nutrition or low calorie promises. From the outset, customers are aware of what they are ingesting and rarely expect a balanced meal.

That’s not to say, however, that there isn’t a range of nutritional values ​​in the fast food market. Not all fast food menus are created equal, some are undoubtedly healthier than others. After discussing the options with registered dietitian Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, we gleaned some insight into which channel is, overall, the least healthy choice.

For more fast food news, see 8 worst fast food burgers to avoid right now.

She explained that when she rates fast food menus for nutrition, she considers five main factors: calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium content of menu items and, most importantly, in what extent it is possible to make a healthy choice (or at least a “better for you” choice) when eating there.

“I really believe you can make a smart nutritional choice in most places,” Goodson said, “While the options may be slim, there’s often at least an item or two available.”

And the unhealthiest fast food chain is . . .

Based on these standards, which chain wins the crown of America’s Unhealthiest Fast Food Chain? According to Goodson, it is Burger King.


After reviewing the burger slinger’s current menu, Goodson pointed out that Burger King has a higher overall calorie count than even its closest competitor, McDonald’s.

“Most Burger King items seem to be high in calories, with some over 1,000 calories,” she says. “And, not to mention, an average chicken burger or sandwich contains over 2,000 milligrams of sodium.”

She explained that while Burger King’s Whopper is quite comparable to McDonald’s Big Mac — the sodium level is nearly equivalent with 940 milligrams in the Big Mac and 980 milligrams in the Whopper — the Whopper ultimately comes in at 120 calories higher.

As for the Ch’King, the chain’s new signature chicken sandwich, this is by far the worst choice of its kind. Sure, chicken sandwiches are usually high in fat and sodium, but even among the most unhealthy options around, the Spicy Ch’King stands out as an overdone option in every aspect. For comparison, Popeyes’ Spicy Chicken Sandwich has 700 calories, 42 grams of fat, and 1,473 milligrams of sodium, while Wendy’s Big Bacon Classic Cheddar has 810 calories, 45 grams of fat, and 2,250 milligrams. of sodium, even with all the fried stuff it fits between the bun.

But don’t just blame the sandwiches, adds Goodson. “A lot of secondary Burger King items fall into the ‘less than optimal’ category,” she said.

“Both [Burger King and McDonald’s] offer lots of high calorie fried foods, and unfortunately no grills on the menu! I don’t see any salads, grilled chicken sandwiches, nothing,” Goodson says.

If your only option at a place is something fried, making a healthy choice is exponentially more difficult. And while Burger King has largely just fried options, McDonald’s narrowly avoids calling the cake the unhealthiest chain because of its apple slices and some better-for-you breakfast items, according to Goodson.

What to do when Burger King is the only option?

If you need something quick and Burger King is the only option, Goodson offers the following tips:

  • If you order a burger, stick to a single patty and cut out higher calorie additions like bacon and crispy onions.
  • Choose mustard or ketchup rather than a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce.
  • Ask for double the lettuce and tomato to pack more fiber.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and sides.
  • Order from the King Jr. menu. “A lot of times, portion size is the issue, so a child’s portion can significantly reduce calories,” Goodson says. “I promise you you won’t go hungry.”

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Burger King is the unhealthiest fast food chain in the United States, according to a dietitian

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