Burgers, milkshakes, french fries, tacos and sandwiches. Today, we have a plethora of fast food options to choose from. While some people love the convenience, price and taste, others try and avoid fast food as much as possible. Still, most of us find ourselves in a Carl's Jr., Burger King or Chipotle from time to time, going over the menu and maybe trying to choose an item that will widen our midsection the least.
Of course, eating fast food often, no matter what your selection, is probably not the healthiest choice. Most fast food restaurants add more sugar, fat and cholesterol than you would ever consume at home. When you are grabbing a quick bite at a fast food joint, it's important to be conscious of what's packed into each meal.
Experts at HealthGrove, a health data site, analyzed the menus of 27 popular American fast food chains, and ranked chains by the average calories of their menu items. Pizza chains are not included, as well as restaurants that reported individual items as opposed to servings (KFC, Panda Express), as most items are not meant for individual consumption. Menu items such as "Beverages," "Drinks," "Sauces," "Condiments" etc. were removed as to keep a focus on meals and food menu items. HealthGrove also looked at the following nutrition qualities: calories, total fat, sugar and cholesterol, and reported the menu item that had the highest value for those categories.
Depending on the fast food chain you choose, you could significantly change the number of calories you are ingesting. For example, a Double-Double at In-N-Out is 670 calories, but a Monster Thickburger at Hardee's is nearly 1,300 calories. Snacking on chips and guacamole from Chipotle before devouring a burrito could have consequences, too — chips and guacamole are Chipolte's highest-calorie item. For dessert, many milkshakes have more than half the calories you need in a day, and up to five times the daily recommended amount of sugar.
*Note: These figures are from data available on 3/21/2017 and are subject to change.