If you're looking to lose weight, tone up or simply stop putting garbage into your body, make it a goal to cut out fast food this year. But if that seems a little too intense for you (or you just know that's never gonna happen), consider staying clear of these unhealthiest fast food chains or their worst menu items.
24/7 Wall St. examined the public nutrition panel of every menu item on popular fast food chains' rosters and compared them with typical levels. Specifically, it compared levels of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, carbs, sugars and calories in each menu item. The higher menu items were in those nutritional components, the less healthy the restaurant was ranked.
Check out the top 10 unhealthy fast food chains in the US based on these results!
10. Burger King: According to the study, 72.4 percent of meals sold at this burger chain are considered unhealthy in at least one of the examined nutrition categories. Its breakfast foods helped it rise into the top 10 unhealthiest restaurants, specifically the Ultimate Breakfast Platter which packs 1,420 calories!
9. Checkers: Go ahead and wave the white flag at this failed fast food option. Nearly 92 percent of menu items are considered unhealthy in at least one category and over 75 percent of meals have 10 grams or more of saturated fat. Since the FDA warns that more than 4 grams of saturated fat per meal is high, it's safe to assume that a burger and fries are out of the question.
8. Chick-fil-A: This chain is famous for its chicken sandwiches and for craving it most when it's Sunday. While the Chick-fil-A cows will be glad to know that the chain's Grilled Chicken Sandwich is among the healthiest fast food menu items, nearly 45% of its side items rank unhealthy in sugar content compared to other options.
7. Wendy's: You know not to touch the 940-calorie Baconator when you roll through the drive-thru, but even Wendy's "healthier" options can be misleading. The Apple Pecan Chicken Salad contains 17 grams of sugar, making it higher in sugar content than 90% of other popular items.
6. Jack in the Box: Eight sandwiches on this restaurant's menu contain your entire recommended daily value of saturated fat, but they do attempt to create "Better For You" options (or so they say). These "healthier" items may be lighter fare, but some options on this menu contain upward of 650 calories and pack unhealthy amounts of sugar and carbs.
5. Arby's: Trans fat has been a hot topic lately as it's been considered unhealthy in any amount, yet one third of this chain's sandwiches contain it. Over 75 percent of Arby's meals carry over 1,000 milligrams of sodium, the highest being a six-count mozzarella stick order at 2,530 milligrams of salt.
4. Quiznos: But it's a sandwich shop? This chain's menu holds nearly 100 sandwiches and more than a third are considered unhealthy in all six categories examined. 85 percent were found to contain over 1,000 milligrams of sodium and 21 sandwiches pack more than 1,000 calories!
3. Whataburger: You may not have a Whataburger near you, but be warned of this chain's unhealthy available foods. The Monterey Melt burger contains 1,170 calories and three grams of trans fat, but the side items can be just as dangerous. Nine of the 10 side items sold here are ranked unhealthy in at least one category compared to other options.
2. Carl's Jr.: Often grouped too closely with Hardee's, Carl's Jr. proves to have a less healthy menu than its counterpart. 84 percent of this chain's items are considered unhealthy in at least one category, and it sells six breakfast sandwiches that carry six grams of trans fat each.
1. Sonic: Want to know what makes Sonic the most unhealthy fast food restaurant out there? Ten burgers on Sonic's menu carry more than 1,000 calories! And while most restaurants have cut out trans fat completely, nearly half of this chain's menu items contain at least 1 gram.
While these chains can be sources for calorie-laden dinner disasters, there are healthy options to be found at nearly all of these places. Browse the menu online and decide on your order before being tempted as you smell the restaurant's comforting food possibilities. You can also choose a healthier option by checking out our Fast Food Under 500 guides!