Most people who go to fast food restaurants are aware that they are not likely to get a super healthy, or even mildly healthy, meal. Fast foods are famous for being high in calories, fat, and salt. While some menu options like combos and platters exceed the daily recommended intake of calories, there are plenty of single food choices that contain at least a third of the calories a person should consume in a day.
The estimated daily calorie need varies from person to person, depending on several factors, including body mass index (BMI). Depending on the age, activity level, and BMI, the calories an adult male should consume range from 2,000-3,000 and an adult female from 1,600-2,400, according to the latest dietary guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.
To compile a list of 30 popular fast foods that are caloric bombs, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the nutritional content of the food of about a dozen fast-food chains. Only single food options intended for individuals and with more than 700 calories were considered. Meals that contain more than one item were excluded.
Some popular fast-food items such as burgers probably contain more calories than most people think. They are often consumed with a side order and a drink, both of which are often high in calories as well because of high fat and sugar content. As a result, just one meal can end up containing more than all the calories a person needs in a day. And no doubt, it won’t be the only meal one has in a day.
The recommended amount of sodium is less than 2,300 milligrams per day — and even less for people who are younger than 14, according to HHS’ dietary guidelines. How much fat a person should consume in a day depends on how many calories you need. In a diet of about 2,000 a day, the American Heart Association recommends aiming for about 13 grams of saturated fat — which often comes from meat and cheese. Both are a staple in fast foods.
Many fast-food restaurants offer healthy options like salads. But the word “salad” in a menu item can be deceiving — these are 40+ salads that are worse than a slice of cheese pizza.