The 40 piece Chicken McNugget is the most substantial meal available at McDonald’s, according to calorie counts published by the fast food chain. At 1,880 calories, enough energy is packed into 40 chicken nuggets to provide lunch for a family or group of friends, and close to the daily average recommended caloric intake for an individual. The Big Breakfast with Hotcakes and a large biscuit is second on the menu, with 1,310 calories.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed roughly 500 McDonald’s menu items, including burgers, sandwiches, salads, beverages, and sides, to determine the most calorie heavy options available at the fast food giant. Most of the highest calorie foods from McDonald’s are larger sandwiches such as the chicken club or large portion items such as the 40 piece Chicken McNugget.
The size of the item is not the only factor in its calorie count. The 16 ounce McFlurry with M&M’s contains 930 calories, and the Large Oreo Frappe contains 810. While each of these drinks is equal to roughly half the recommended daily intake of 2,000 to 2,800 calories, as beverages they might be only part of a much larger meal. One chicken sandwich, medium french fries, and a McFlurry — an entirely plausible lunch order at McDonald’s and likely one of three meals in a day — has well over 2,000 calories.
McDonald’s meals have more calories than home-cooked meals and also food served at most non-fast food chains. But while the obesity epidemic in the United States is widely linked to high calorie consumption, no studies demonstrate a direct link between McDonald’s specifically and adverse health outcomes. Academic research does, however, show high concentrations of obesity and other negative health outcomes in areas where there are high concentrations of fast food restaurants of any type.
Calories represent the amount of energy a body can generate from a given portion of food. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are all processed by the body to generate energy, or calories. Therefore, since energy can come from different food sources with varying nutritional benefits, calories alone do not tell the full story. An item with relatively few calories, for example, may have more sodium than a higher-calorie alternative. With 630 calories, the Premium Grilled Chicken Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich provides what would constitute an ordinary meal in calorie count. With 1,740 milligrams of sodium, however, the sandwich has nearly the most sodium on the menu.
To identify the 50 McDonald’s menu items with the most calories, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed nutritional information for 500 menu items as listed on McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) website. For similarly branded items of equal caloric value — the Quarter Pounder with Cheese and the Quarter Pounder Deluxe, for example — only one item was considered. Fat and carbohydrates measured in grams and sodium measured in milligrams also came from McDonald’s.
These are the 50 most substantial McDonald’s menu items.