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The #1 Unhealthiest Burger at Every Major Fast-Food Chain

Expert dietitians share what they think is the most unhealthy fast food burger at every popular chain.
FACT CHECKED BY Jordan Powers Willard

Fast food chains are readily available in almost any corner of the country, and their accessibility is helpful for when you're in a hurry or need something more affordable than what other types of restaurants can provide. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of fast food being everywhere is that it can harm our health when consumed on a regular basis. According to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, fast food consumption can contribute to obesity, heart attacks, dementia, diabetes, stroke, and even cancer.

Even with the risks involved, fast food is sometimes the only option. When you're looking for something to eat on the go and need to head to a fast food restaurant, knowing your options can be beneficial for helping your health, because some menu options are better than others. For example, if you know the most unhealthy fast food burgers to avoid, you can better choose a lighter alternative at your favorite chain.

In order to help you feel more prepared the next time you need some quick food, we prepared a list of the unhealthiest burger you can find at all of the major fast food chains. These sandwiches are loaded with calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium, and many of them contain trans fat as well. In fact, none there isn't a burger on here with less than 18 grams of saturated fat, and the daily limit is around 13 grams. Even more shocking, a few burgers on the list are almost triple the amount of the daily saturated fat limit.

Read on to learn more, and for a list of healthier alternatives, check out these 11 Healthiest Fast Food Burgers.

McDonald's Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese

mcdonald's double quarter pounder with cheese
Per burger: 740 calories, 42 g fat (20 g saturated fat), 1,360 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (2 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 48 g protein

If you're heading to McDonald's, you'll be faced with plenty of menu items loaded with calories, saturated fat, and sodium. But one that truly takes the cake is their classic Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese. "This item features two quarter pound burger patties, with two slices of melted cheese and sauce on a bun," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and member of our Medical Expert Board. "The fact that it's a double means it's going to have around twice the calories, saturated fat, and sodium."

RELATED: What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Too Much Fat, According to Dietitians

Burger King Triple Whopper

burger king triple whopper with cheese
Courtesy of Burger King
Per burger: 1,181 calories, 78.5 g fat (27 g saturated fat), 1,297 mg sodium, 57 g carbs (4 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 76 g protein

"The portion size of three 4-ounce patties makes it a winner for one of the most unhealthy burgers," says Young. Along with having more than twice your recommended amount of daily saturated fat and more than half of your recommended sodium limit, this burger also contains over half a day's worth of calories!

Wendy's Big Bacon Classic Triple

Wendy's Big Bacon Classic Triple unhealthy fast food burger
Courtesy of Wendy's
Per burger: 1,220 calories, 86 g fat (36 g saturated fat), 1,770 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 75 g protein

According to Young, when you're heading to Wendy's, you may want to steer clear of the Big Bacon Classic Triple. "This is both 'triple' and 'big,' making it to my top choice for worst burger at Wendy's," she says. Not only are the calories, sodium levels, and total fat levels extremely high in this burger, but the saturated fat grams are almost triple what you're recommended to have in one day.

Hardee's Monster Angus Burger

Hardee's burger
Courtesy of Hardee's
Per burger: 1,400 calories, 97 g fat (35 g saturated fat, 3.5 g trans fat), 2,780 mg sodium, 53 g carbs (4 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 86 g protein

"This burger contains a third of pound patties, 4 strips of bacon, 3 slices of melted American cheese, and mayonnaise, served on a toasted potato bun," says Young. "It is ultra-processed and too high in saturated fat and sodium, in addition to too many calories." If you find yourself at a Hardee's, try ordering something like the BBQ Grilled Chicken Sandwich instead.

RELATED: The 15 Best High-Protein Fast Food Meals

Checkers Baconzilla Burger

Baconzilla checker's
Courtesy of Checkers
Per burger: 1,210 calories, 96 g fat (36 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat), 2,950 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 58 g protein

"The Checkers Triple Baconzilla Burger is high in calories, fat, and sodium, and consuming such a high amount of these components regularly can contribute to various health issues, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease," says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements.

Best also adds that for those with high blood pressure or other conditions where sodium may be an issue, this unhealthy fast food burger contains a dangerous amount at almost 3,000 milligrams. It's also important to note that the Baconzilla comes with 2.5 grams of trans fat, and World Health Organization recommends limiting yourself to less than 2.2 grams of trans fat per day.

Dairy Queen Flamethrower Stackburger

Dairy Queen triple stackburger
Courtesy of Dairy Queen
Per burger: 950 calories, 65 g fat (24 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 2,040 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 61 g protein

According to Best, the Dairy Queen Flamethrower Stackburger is certainly one of the most unhealthy fast food burgers you can choose off of the Dairy Queen menu. "The fat, sodium, and calories of this burger are all high, but the fat content is most concerning," says Best. In fact, she adds that if the daily recommendation of fat is around 25–35%, that would be 55–78 grams of fat per day on a 2,000 calorie diet. Unfortunately, this burger alone has 65 grams.

In-N-Out Double-Double Burger

double double burger in-n-out
Courtesy of In-N-Out
Per burger: 670 calories, 41 g fat (18 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,440 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 37 g protein

In-N-Out is near and dear to fast food lovers out west, but like other major chains, it comes with plenty of calorie-loaded, saturated fat-heavy burgers. "The In-N-Out Double-Double Burger is lower in calories, fat, and sodium compared to most of the unhealthy burgers on this list, but this doesn't mean that it should be considered a healthy option," says Best. "For a lower-calorie and fat burger, the sodium content is still at a concerning level for increased risk of high blood pressure and risk of heart disease."

Jack in the Box Ultimate Cheeseburger

unhealthy fast food burger Jack in the box
Courtesy of Jack in the Box
Per burger: 820 calories, 49 g fat (21 g saturated fat, 3 g trans fat), 1,780 mg sodium, 44 g carbs (2 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 50 g protein

"The Jack in the Box Ultimate Cheeseburger is among the unhealthiest burgers on their menu for the same reasons as most: calories, fat, and sodium content," says Best. Also concerning is the three grams of trans fat, which exceeds the recommended limit per day. In fact, many experts say you should just limit your consumption of trans fats and keep the number "as low as possible."

Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger

five guys bacon cheeseburger
Courtesy of Five Guys
Per burger: 1,060 calories, 62 g fat, 1,310 mg sodium, 40 g carbs

Five Guys is known for their bags of greasy fries and complementary peanuts, but be careful when ordering a burger, because most are loaded with unhealthy qualities—especially the Bacon Cheeseburger.

"The highest-calorie burger on their menu is the Bacon Cheeseburger," says Morgyn Clair, MS, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and author at Fit Healthy Momma. "It also has tons of unhealthy saturated, total fat, and way more sodium than we should get in one meal."

RELATED: The 22 Unhealthiest Restaurant Salads in America

Sonic Bacon Double Cheeseburger

sonic bacon on bacon quarter pound double cheeseburger
Courtesy of Sonic
Per burger: 1,170 calories, 81 g fat (23 g saturated fat), 1,940 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (2 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 57 g protein

Sonic is full of unhealthy options on their menu, but one of their worst burger options is the Bacon Double Cheeseburger. "It has almost half the calories that many people need in an entire day," says Clair.

Shake Shack Bacon Double Cheeseburger

unhealthy fast food burger Shake shack bacon cheeseburger
Courtesy of Shake Shack
Per burger: 760 calories, 47 g fat (21 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 2,510 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (0 g fiber, 6 g sugar)

And lastly, if you're heading to Shake Shack, you may want to steer clear of the Bacon Double Cheeseburger. "There is so much more saturated fat in this one burger than we should get at one meal," says Clair. And honestly, there's more saturated fat here than what we should be getting in an entire day.

Not only that, another reason it's considered an unhealthy fast food burger is because the sodium levels in this one sandwich are over 200 milligrams higher than the maximum amount that someone should limit themselves to on a daily basis.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha
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