Looking to clean up your diet in 2022? You might agree that there are few hard-to-avoid temptations on your way to eating healthier than a fast food burger. And with the seemingly endless options now offered by the fast food industry, as well as our growing tendency to order food online, it’s easier than ever to tempt you with this staple of the American diet.
While we’d never tell you to give up on burgers entirely, we want to point out that there’s a difference between binge-eating and binge-eating. Overindulging looks different for everyone—what may be a taboo for you is a diet tolerable for someone else—but overeating looks pretty much the same, especially when it comes to fast food burgers. The burgers are the ultimate in plenty of everything: doubles and triples loaded with multiple slices of bacon and cheese, with over 1,000 calories, and exorbitant amounts of sodium and fat.
“While hamburgers can fit into a healthy diet, many fast food chains have taken the ‘burger’ concept over the edge by increasing portion sizes and stacking high-calorie toppings like bacon and creamy sauces,” Amy Goodson, registered dietitian and certified sports dietitian.
In order to help you maintain your healthy nutritional goals, Judson has identified the worst offenders on the lists of major national chains. Here are the most unhealthy fast food burgers you should steer clear of, listed from bad to absolutely worst. And when you go over the list, you’ll find her recommendations on how to make a healthy burger at home.
For more information, check out the 8 Best Healthy Fast Food Diets in 2022: Eat This, Not That! Food Awards.
per burger: 1020 calories, 54 g fat (23 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 2,020 mg sodium, 75 g carbs (4 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 57 g protein
A staple on Carl’s Jr.’s menu. It is one of the heaviest burgers available in the popular chain – and across the country. While sometimes available iterations like Spicy Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger and Triple Western Bacon Cheeseburger pack a lot more calories, even this basic version is bad enough that it’s not worth ordering.
Two slices of beef, two slices of bacon, two slices of cheese, And Crispy onion rings keep this burger up to 1,020 calories,” says Goodson. In particular, she points to bacon, onion rings, and barbecue sauce as the reason behind the whopping 2,300 milligrams sodium content—which brings you close to an FDA-recommended 2,300. mg per day in just one ingredient.
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per burger: 1060 calories, 62 g fat, 1310 mg sodium, 40 g carbs
“If you look at the description of this burger, you’ll find words like ‘pair’ or ‘two’ listed for each ingredient—that’s a bad sign,” Goodson says of this Five Guys ingredient. With two slices of beef, two slices of bacon, and two slices of cheese, this burger has the ‘two’ of it all!
Not to mention that this nutrition information is written for the simplest version of Bacon Cheeseburger before the toppings. Start layering it like mayonnaise, ketchup, BBQ sauce, or more cheese, and you’re looking at an extra load of calories on top of the already high 1,060 calories. And you’re planning on eating french fries with that, right? Add another 300 to 600 calories, depending on the size of your side.
per burger: 1090 calories, 76 g fat (30.5 g saturated fat, 2.1 g trans fat), 1430 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (1 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 60 g protein
Some burger chains may make you think you need a laundry list of toppings and toppings inside a bun to try out a truly fancy burger – don’t fall in love with it. While we love Culver’s Bacon Deluxe toppings like tomatoes, pickles, red onions, and lettuce, we’re not crazy about the three beef patties and other things that bump up their saturated fat content to 30 grams (medical experts recommend no more than 30 grams) of 16 to 22 grams per day for a diet It averages 2,000 calories.)
“A rich burger like mayonnaise and a butter bun add to the burger’s total calories and fat,” says Goodson. “Remember that ‘luxury’ may mean good taste, but it also usually means luxury calories!”
per burger: 1140 calories, 77 g fat (23 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 2020 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (5 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 58 g protein
The keywords for adding calories to this burger are DoubleAnd Cured meat, And MayoJudson says. It’s a signal to stay away from this option just by reading its name. “
And the feeding plate confirms our judgment on the face value of Sonic’s SuperSonic Bacon Double. At 1,140 calories, 77 grams of fat, and 2,020 milligrams of sodium, a double cheeseburger is a worse option than some of the triples.
per burger: 1170 calories
It’s hard to track down the full nutrition palette in this bigger, bolder version of Hardee’s big signature. All we know for sure is that it contains 1,170 calories. However, based on the nutrition panel on the smaller Big Hardee, we know that Really Big Hardee has over 58 grams of fat (and over 23 grams of saturated fat), over 1,380 milligrams of sodium, and over 12 grams. of sugar. Not perfect!
“A good rule of thumb when choosing burgers is to skip anything that says ‘really big’ in the name,” says Goodson. “With three patties, cheese, and a high-calorie creamy sauce, this burger packs a lot of calories for one serving.”
per burger: 1,280 calories, 86 g fat (36 g saturated fat, 4.5 g trans fat), 1,940 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (1 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 75 g protein
Just looking at a picture of this Wendy’s burger will alert you to indulgence. Yes, that’s three burger patties (roughly a pound of red meat), three slices of cheese, a handful of bacon and crunchy onion rings, and a delicious bacon sauce that looks a lot like maple syrup—all ingredients that Goodson calls “high-calorie criminals.” thermal.”
And while this abundance of salty, sweet, and crunchy makes for a pleasurable explosion in your taste buds, the rest of your body will only get a little worse. Just look at the sodium and saturated fat content.
per burger: 1299.1 calories, 88.8 g fat (35.9 g saturated, 0.8 g trans), 1,829.5 mg sodium, 51.5 g carbs (2.2 g fiber, 11.7 g sugar), 75.8 g protein
The Triple Whopper Burger King is another over-the-top, meat-heavy pick.
“At 1,300 calories, 36 grams of saturated fat, and 1,830 milligrams of sodium, the Triple Whopper with Cheese is a serious calorie beast that delivers more saturated fat than you need in a day based on a 2,000-calorie diet,” says Goodson. . “The problem here? Serving size!”
per burger: 1420 calories, 102 g fat (42 g saturated fat, 5 g trans fat), 2110 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (3 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 82 g protein.
At the top of our worst burger list is another Wendy’s culinary gem: Big Bacon Cheddar. Listen, this burger, just like most others, is a perfectly reasonable treat in the form of a single patty (which has 810 calories.) but turn it up to triple as you’re consuming roughly a pound of beef, triple the cheese.
Other not-so-cool items for this one? Add cream cheese, bacon jam, fried onion rings, bacon, and cheese bun.
“Adding bacon jam and bacon to a large burger increases calories and fat,” says Goodson. “Not to mention that the serving size is quite large and provides more sodium than a healthy American is supposed to eat in one day.”
A burger shouldn’t set you back a full day of calories or more, according to Goodson. It can actually be made healthier with some simple modifications at home.
For example, choose a cut of lean beef for your patties — ideally 90% lean and 10% fat, she advises.
“It’s important to note that ground beef is a nutrient-rich source of high-quality protein that provides you with ten essential nutrients,” says Goodson.
Also watch the serving size: 4 to 6 ounces of lean beef is more than enough for a tasty burger.
When it comes to all the bells and whistles, opt for low-fat cheese (Goodson recommends 2%), and top the burger with crunchy greens instead of bacon. For the sauce, Goodson suggests mashing some avocado in place of a creamy sauce or using a lower-calorie option like mustard. And skip the white butter cake—try a 100% wholegrain cake or a “thin” cake for a boost of fiber and nutrients, she says.
For more information, check out the 108 Most Popular Soft Drinks Ranked by How Toxic They Are.