5 worst new fast food items to avoid right now – Eat This Not That
American fast food culture is booming and offering increasingly elaborate delicacies. Gone are the days of simple burger and fries combo meals. Even the milkshakes feel a bit of a note as we’re treated to a wide array of inventive new menu items.
The wrong side? While there has been a noticeable move towards new health-centric offerings, not all of the latest fast food releases are created equal. Many, in fact, are still produced with an apparent disregard for nutrition. We’re all for indulging once in a while, so that doesn’t mean you should avoid tempting new menu items altogether. But before you stop at that drive-thru window, arm yourself with the facts about what you’re about to order.
To help sort through the incredible abundance of options in today’s fast food market, we consulted dietitian Amy Goodson. Here are the new fast foods she considers the most unhealthy.
By burritos: 520 calories, 27 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 1140 mg sodium
If you’ve ever had a late-night Taco Bell run (and regretted it in the morning), you might not be surprised to see one of the brand’s newest items on the list of five most unhealthy products. This singular burrito is, in many ways, amazing. He rolls together nacho fries seasoned with Mexican spices, steak, tomatoes, light sour cream, cheddar cheese, creamy chipotle sauce and nacho cheese sauce, all in a flour tortilla.
But it’s also surprisingly unhealthy. Goodson calls it “one to write home about,” noting that not only do you get an impressive list of ingredients, but you also get 27 grams of fat and about half a day’s worth of sodium. “Almost half of the calories in this burrito come from fat,” she adds.
A better option at Taco Bell is the plain bean burrito, which might be remarkably less fun but is also a third the fat.
Per cookie: 610 calories, 45 g fat (17 g saturated fat), 1370 mg sodium
Goodson summed this one up pretty neatly: “Cookies are a great way to boost the calories in a breakfast sandwich!”
Wendy’s recently added several cookie sandwiches to its breakfast menu. This one piles grilled sausage and melted American cheese on a buttermilk cracker and has more than half the allotted amount of salt a person should consume in a day — and you get it all for breakfast. Plus, as Goodson also pointed out, 45 grams of fat is also a pretty big amount to start the day with.
The chain’s classic Bacon Egg & Cheese Sandwich, which features an egg, applewood-smoked bacon and cheese and comes on a warm muffin, is a much less unhealthy bet.
By order: 900 calories, 52 g fat, 21 g saturated fat, 1570 mg sodium
We love Shake Shack’s constant menu innovation. The burger slinger is always flipping the script on customers, delivering new lineups and flavor profiles that keep things exciting. But one of their latest releases, the Buffalo Spiced Cheese Fries, is very unhealthy.
“While potatoes provide nutrients like potassium and fiber, when you turn them into French fries topped with Buffalo cheese sauce and served with a side of more sauce (ranch in this case), you create a dish of side dish with way too much sodium and fat,” Goodson says.
Instead of those gourmet potatoes, opt for regular fries with ketchup and save almost half the calories, fat and sodium.
Per burger: 1020 calories, 67 g fat (27 g saturated fat), 2500 mg sodium
Dairy Queen is royally proud of their new burger release, the most substantial menu update they’ve had in years. Loading A.1. Triple Stack Burger, in particular, is quite a creation: it covers three patties with steak sauce and creamy pepper sauce, then piles on thick applewood smoked bacon, Sharp American melted cheese and onion rings.
As Goodson points out, this burger alone contains more sodium than a person is recommended to consume in a day, plus over 1,000 calories. Instead of indulging in this extreme option, she suggests grabbing either a regular cheeseburger or a grilled chicken sandwich.
per sandwich: 1200 calories, 58 g fat (18 g saturated fat), 3070 mg sodium
The #1 unhealthiest new fast food item is this Big Cubano on white bread, a Potbelly original. This gourmet sandwich includes pulled pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles. According to Goodson, meats and cheese increase calorie count and fat content. She also pointed out the sodium level, which is so exaggerated it’s a bit absurd.
Instead, she recommends opting for the original Swiss-style turkey breast sandwich on multigrain bread and loading it up with all your favorite veggies.