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Avoid this fast food burger at all costs

Published Dec 18th, 2020 1:28PM EST
worst fast food
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  • Fast food is almost always something to avoid if you’re hoping to eat healthily, but some items are worse than others.
  • Author and registered dietician Lauren Harris-Pincus recommends avoiding one chain’s ultra-huge burgers, as they’re the worst of the worst. 
  • The recommendation is made based on the number of calories, fat, and carbs that are crammed into the item.

We all know by now that fast food is generally not the healthiest option if you’re in search of your next meal. Popular fast-food restaurants lean heavily on processed foods, especially when it comes to sides, and anything deep-fried is usually bad news. Fries are basically the worst food you can eat, and if you absolutely have to have them, you should limit your intake to around six fries in total. Yes, six.

But if you’re wondering what the absolute worst fast-food menu item available today is, author Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, has a recommendation for what to avoid, and she shared that info with Eat This, Not That.

So what’s the worst of the worst? What item should you absolutely avoid at all costs? It seems like a little bit of a stretch, but Harris-Pincus says Burger King’s Triple Whopper with Cheese is “definitely on the worst choice list.”

But why is that? What makes this particular burger so bad? Well, it’s a combination of things. For starters, the burger itself weighs in at 1,220 calories. That’s an absolutely huge caloric bomb to your gut and could make up more than half of your daily recommended caloric intake, leading you to overeat for the day and put on pounds (unless you’re looking to gain weight, eating that many calories in a single meal may not be a great strategy). The buns contribute to the 50 grams of carbohydrates, and just 2 grams of fiber, meaning that those are refined carbohydrates that will spike your blood sugar and send you on a rollercoaster.

In addition, Harris-Pincus says that based on recommendations from the American Heart Association, the amount of fat in the triple burger (82 grams) and the amount of saturated fat (32 grams) are way out of bounds. For saturated fat specifically, you’re taking in over two days worth of the recommended daily amount in a single item.

Then there’s the sodium. Many Americans (and others around the world) already consume what could be considered an excessive amount of sodium every day. There is over 1,400 mg of sodium in this triple burger alone. And, keep in mind, these numbers are just the burger, so if you’re adding fries and a soda to it, you’re really going overboard on just about every dietary metric.

Now, there have been some pretty important advancements in our understanding of how dietary fat affects the body in recent years, and much of it has rewritten recommendations that have been around for decades. Eating fat doesn’t make you fat and a product labeled “fat free” doesn’t mean anything, since calories are the driver of how much body mass you add or lose.

That being said, the combination of huge calories, high carbs, high fat, and high sodium definitely make this a menu item to avoid in most cases.