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What Fast Food Restaurant do you consider to be the most unhealthy?I was shocked to...

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 13, 2010 at 7:42 AM via web

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What Fast Food Restaurant do you consider to be the most unhealthy?

I was shocked to find out the actual sugar/salt/fat content of even salads that once I considered healthy in restaurants. I hear some of my students have a habit of going to those "Full Menu all Day" joints and load up on pure grease.

What fast food chain do you think is most unhealthy?

22 Answers | Add Yours

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 13, 2010 at 8:53 AM (Answer #2)

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McDonalds!!! Have you seen the film-documentary Super-Size Me? Truly shocking. I use this film to show to students to explore issues surrounding the fast food industry and changes in American lifestyle, etc. The part where he first throws up is really funny as well as gross...

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 13, 2010 at 9:21 AM (Answer #3)

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Very few fast food chains could be considered healthy in any respect, so ranking them means ranking the bottom of the list.  McDonald's is certainly unhealthy, with way too much saturated fat in its burgers and fries.  But from what I have read, Burger King is one of the worst offenders.  McDonald's, after all the bad publicity, at least tried to clean up its menu a bit by offering some more healthy alternatives, and trying to reduce calories and fat a bit (yet still being really unhealthy), but Burger King makes no apologies or amends for the fat, sodium and calories it slings out of its drive through windows each day.

The Whopper, it's most popular menu item, has 670 calories and 40 grams of fat, with almost 1000 mg of sodium.  They also offer, wait for it, a Triple Whopper with 1130 calories and 75 grams of fat.  They should call it the triple bypass.

All of these numbers are from Burger King's own website.

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted September 13, 2010 at 9:49 AM (Answer #4)

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To me, every fast food "restaurant" is unhealthy. I'm sure we can point out, as brettd has, similar nutritional facts for every one we could name. And for every "healthy" item they offer, there are 10 just like the Whopper: full of calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Even Subway, which I would assert is the healthiest of the fast food giants, has items which are loaded with fat. I think it's the nature of the business. They're designed to offer cheap, quick food, and in our nation that spells unhealthy meals.

Of course, none of this knowledge stops me from partaking in some fast food indulgence now and then. But, like herappleness, I cringe when I see my students return from lunch with bags full of grease. And then they wonder why they're so tired in the evening, with no energy to finish their homework.

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martinjmurphy | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted September 13, 2010 at 10:57 AM (Answer #5)

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Who really knows?  Until it becomes mandatory to list all ingredients and the nutritional values of all meals I don't think you can really know which fast food is the healthiest or most unhealthy.  Some seemingly healthy meals might contain a lot of sodium for instance.  I think society is heading in this direction where it will be the law to publish nutritional values at fast food restaurants.

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lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted September 13, 2010 at 1:57 PM (Answer #6)

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They are all unhealthy. Given that, McDonald's wins the "Worst" award, at least from me, due to the overwhelming amount of advertising they have done directed at children over the past 45 years. In my opinion, they are responsible for making fast food a way of life for people in the US, and helping give America a ridiculously high obesity rate.

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 13, 2010 at 2:45 PM (Answer #7)

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I agree that no fast food chain seems to promote healthy eating--even ones that focus on wraps, salads, and the like offer portion sizes that are too large.

In recent years, it seems that Hardee's has done all it can to promote itself as the "nutritional bad guy." Their advertisements often feature people slopping food into their mouths with sauce dribbling down their chins, all while the narrator discusses how much meat the consumer is "lucky" enough to be consuming in one sitting.

From a teacher's standpoint, I used to use Supersize Me in my AP Lang. class for argument analysis practice (looking for fallacies, etc.). It got to the point, though, that so many of my students had seen it for another class that I've started using Food, Inc. If you haven't seen it, you should definitely check it out.  It has an agenda, of course, but it widens its topic to mass food production in the United States (not just a narrow focus on fast food).  It's disturbingly eye-opening!

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted September 13, 2010 at 4:08 PM (Answer #9)

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I don't recall the exact numbers, but I recently recall reading an article on this subject and I was astounded by the calorie and fat gram counts on most of the menu items at Chipotle.  The sheer size of the burritos is probably a factor here -- as with most restraurant servings that are twice the amount of food we really need.  The article compared food items from this menu with the better known culprits listed above, and Chipotle was equal too or worse than the worst.

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted September 13, 2010 at 4:33 PM (Answer #10)

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It seems that fast food restaurants are trying to offer customers healthier choices so that is at least a start. For example, McDonalds offers apples instead of fries with their kids meals.

When I think of the most unhealthy fast food restaurant, McDonalds always pops into my mind but most of them are generally unhealthy because they all offer a lot fried foods.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 14, 2010 at 5:11 PM (Answer #11)

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I think you have to look at this in terms of how many people are regularly eating the unhealthy food at any given fast-food restaurant.  McDonald's, by far, takes the cake on infecting the highest number of people per day with their sugar-laden, fat-infused, semi-natural, "value" menu.

Forget the "healthy" options offered by any fast food restaurant, or even the generally "healthierness" of one restaurant as compared to another.  McDonald's by FAR is the most productive fast food restaurant in the world.  By sheer numbers, it is the unhealthiest.

I actually encourage you to watch Food, Inc. for more insight on how the McDonalds corporation has almost single-handedly destroyed the traditional idea of "farm-life" and introduced the assembly line mentality to agriculture with CAFO's and mass corn production.

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dannyjesusv | Student, Grade 9 | Salutatorian

Posted September 23, 2010 at 4:48 PM (Answer #12)

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Who really knows?  Until it becomes mandatory to list all ingredients and the nutritional values of all meals I don't think you can really know which fast food is the healthiest or most unhealthy.  Some seemingly healthy meals might contain a lot of sodium for instance.  I think society is heading in this direction where it will be the law to publish nutritional values at fast food restaurants.

Actually it is mandatory for fast food restaurants to display the nutritional information for all of its meals, ingredients, condiments, and drinks.

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slpmomof6 | Elementary School Teacher | eNoter

Posted October 4, 2010 at 8:10 PM (Answer #13)

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I think most fast-food restaurants run neck-in-neck.  It's so sad...even when you think you are trying to eat healthy, you aren't.  Then they just keep coming up with all these crazy combos!!  I just recently saw the calorie and fat count on a footlong chili dog and YUCK!!!  In this same documentary, they were talking about how some places were trying out the idea of selling a footlong cheeseburger!!!!  Oh my!

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Wiggin42 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted July 23, 2014 at 12:08 AM (Answer #19)

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All fast food "restaurants"  are unhealthy but I think the unhealthiest is McDonalds. My health class showed us the movie Supersize Me (so perhaps I'm biased). Fries, nuggets, burgers! Everything is just pure fat. I also saw Food Inc and read An Omnivore's Dilemma. The source of the meats is absolutely vulgar and disgusting. I try to avoid fast food places at all costs. The cheap food is simply too expensive in the long run.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 13, 2010 at 3:26 PM (Answer #8)

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I'm also thinkin' Hardees.  Everything is gooped up with liquid cheese and/or is so huge it's almost offensive.  At some point, it seems to me, they veered from the grilled foods and relatively healthier menu items to the bigger, heartier, and sloppier foods, as mentioned above.  Nothing's very good, but Hardees is certainly among the worst.

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shadowknight | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 7, 2010 at 12:46 PM (Answer #14)

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it dont matter how bad the food is for you as long as their are lazy people in the world there will always be fast food resturants.

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meganp0504 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted October 8, 2010 at 11:54 AM (Answer #15)

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well i believe whaterburger,mcdonalds,burgerking but i dont really care that their bad for ur health i do eat them but not all the time im a very healthy 15 yr old.shadowknight aka clayton thats not nice

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meganp0504 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted October 8, 2010 at 12:00 PM (Answer #16)

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it dont matter how bad the food is for you as long as their are lazy people in the world there will always be fast food resturants.

clayton no that is rude wish u could change it but u cant

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cookiemonster009 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 6, 2011 at 12:34 PM (Answer #17)

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ALL OF THEM (THATS WHY THEY ARE FAST FOOD)  anyway people know it is unhealthy and people still eat they try and sue them and win , where cearly they should'nt . if you wanna lose dont go to maci d's simple as ! and yes salads have sugar and fat nothing is super healthy !!!!

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cookiemonster009 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 6, 2011 at 12:36 PM (Answer #18)

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In reply to #14: people come on he is rigth !! think !!

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ik9744 | TA , Grade 9 | Valedictorian

Posted July 25, 2014 at 11:32 AM (Answer #20)

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In my opinion all of the fast food restraunts is about the same. It depends what type of food you will order.

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taangerine | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:11 AM (Answer #21)

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I find McDonalds the most unhealthiest fast food restaurant because of all the extra sodium and fat. In addition to the sodium and fat, the fast food chain's 'super size' drinks, french fries, and burgers make them even more unhealthy. And, because of it's inexpensive price and convenient location (there's like one McDonald every 20 miles), people find it a good place to eat -- packing on extra weight & too much weight can be essentially bad for one's health overall. 

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maria-vivanco | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:36 PM (Answer #22)

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McDonald's most definitely 

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eli468 | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted August 3, 2014 at 2:42 AM (Answer #23)

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Based off of nutrition information McDonald's appears to have the MOST high calorie foods on their menu. There are other chains that sell foods with higher calories than McDonald's meals have such as Quizno's Tuna Melt (1,535 calories), KFC Variety Big Box Meal (1,680 calories), and Subway's Double Meatball Marinara with Cheese (1,720 calories). 

However most people don't think of it as a fast food chain, but The Cheesecake Factory has the highest calorie meals.

So in terms of calories The Cheesecake Factory is the worst, but in terms of calories, chemical additives, and preservatives, McDonald's most likely takes the gold.

Sources:

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