Weekly Column_120 / August 16, 2012

Some of America’s Worst Calorie Rip-offs

By Charles Platkin, PhD

Burger King (www.bk.com/#menu=3,-1,-1)

  • Triple Whopper Sandwich with Cheese: 1,230 calories, 82g fat, 52g carbs
  • Chocolate Milk Shakes (king size): 1,260 calories, 38g fat, 204g carbs
  • Enormous Omelet Sandwich: 730 calories, 45g fat, 44g carbs
  • Double Croissan’wich with sausage, egg and cheese: 680 calories, 51g fat, 26g carbs
  • Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich: 780 calories, 44g fat, 73g carbs

When it comes to fast food, there’s really nothing more over-the-top than the Triple Whopper. Do you really need three slabs of meat to fill you up? If your daily budget is 2,000 calories, you probably don’t want to start your day by spending 700 of them on the omelet sandwich or the Double Croissan’wich.

Hardee’s (www.hardees.com/content/downloads/nutrition.pdf)

  • Monster Thickburger: 1,410 calories, 107g fat, 47g carbs
  • Loaded Breakfast Burrito: 780 calories, 51g fat, 38g carbs
  • Loaded Biscuit ’N’ Gravy Breakfast Bowl: 770 calories, 54g fat, 49g carbs
  • Big Country Breakfast Platters:
    • Ham: 970 calories, 53g fat, 90g carbs
    • Breaded Pork Chop: 1,220 calories, 68g fat, 102g carbs
    • Chicken: 1,140 calories, 61g fat, 105g carbs

At 1,410 calories, the infamous Monster Thickburger takes first place in the unhealthiest fast-food category. But the greatest numbers of disastrous options are actually on the breakfast menu. Unless you plan on crawling into a cave and hibernating after your meal, there’s really no need to consume so many calories at once — especially for breakfast.

McDonald’s (www.mcdonalds.com/usa/eat/nutrition_info/nutrition_lists.html)

  • Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese: 740 calories, 42g fat, 40g carbs
  • Deluxe Breakfast with Large Biscuit: 1,280 calories, 65g fat, 139g carbs
  • Hotcakes and Sausage: 780 calories, 33g fat, 106g carbs
  • Chocolate Triple Thick Shake (32 ounces): 1,160 calories, 27g fat, 203g carbs
  • Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips (10 pieces): 1,270 calories, 66g fat, 92g carbs

I was surprised that the Deluxe Breakfast, the Hotcakes and Sausage and the Chicken Selects all pack more calories than the Double Quarter Pounder. But the worst choice of all is probably the Chocolate Triple Thick Shake.

Wendy’s (www.wendys.com/food/pdf/us/nutrition.pdf)

  • Large French Fries: 540 calories, 26g fat, 69g carbs
  • Chicken Club Sandwich: 650 calories, 31g fat, 56g carbs
  • Chicken BLT Salad with Homestyle Garlic Croutons and Honey Mustard Dressing: 690 calories, 46.5g fat, 37g carbs
  • Southwest Taco Salad with Reduced Fat Sour Cream, Seasoned Tortilla Chips and Ancho Chipotle Ranch Dressing: 710 calories, 41g fat, 51g carbs

Wow, bet you thought salad was a healthy choice. Not so fast. Also, at 650 calories, the Chicken Club Sandwich is not a great choice.

Subway (www.subway.com/subwayroot/MenuNutrition/Nutrition/pdf/NutritionValues.pdf)

  • Double Meat Meatball Marinara (6-inch): 860 calories, 42g fat, 82g carbs, 2,480mg sodium
  • Double Meat Italian BMT (6-inch): 630 calories, 35g fat, 49g carbs, 2,850mg sodium

Although Subway offerings are very good, there are exceptions. Case in point: the Double Meat Meatball Marinara Sandwich, which has more calories than a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese from McDonald’s. Oh, and watch out for the sodium.

KFC (www.yum.com/nutrition/documents/kfc_nutrition.pdf)

  • Crispy Twister sandwich: 650 calories, 34g fat, 56g carbs
  • Famous Bowls — Rice with Gravy: 610 calories, 27g fat, 67g carbs, 2,130mg sodium
  • Famous Bowls — Mashed Potato with Gravy: 720 calories, 34g fat, 79g carbs, 2,330mg sodium
  • Chicken Pot Pie: 770 calories, 40g fat, 66g carbs

While the Pot Pie and the Crispy Twister — a sandwich of deep-fried chicken smothered in mayonnaise — are certainly not great ideas for the diet-conscious. Be especially cautious about the sides — both the rice and gravy and the potatoes and gravy will send your total calorie count soaring.

Starbucks (www.starbucks.com/retail/nutrition_info.asp )

  • White Chocolate Frappuccino Blended Crème with whipped cream (24 ounces): 760 calories, 21g fat, 121g carbs
  • Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino Blended Crème with whipped cream (24 ounces): 750 calories, 15g fat, 135g carbs

Seven hundred calories is steep any way you cut it — but in this case you’re not even getting a meal for all those calories. You can save more than 100 calories by skipping the whipped cream, but even so, you’re still consuming a meal’s worth of calories with no real food to show for it. You need to remember that these drinks are not substitutes for coffee — they’re substitutes for banana splits and ice cream sundaes.

Dunkin’ Donuts (www.dunkindonuts.com/aboutus/nutrition/nutrition.pdf)

  • Sausage Egg Cheese Croissant Sandwich: 690 calories, 51g fat, 40g carbs
  • Chocolate Chip Muffin: 630 calories, 26g fat, 89g carbs
  • Jelly Stick: 530 calories, 29g fat, 61g carbs

“Sticks” have even more calories than “fancy” doughnuts, and check out that breakfast sandwich.

P.F. Chang’s (www.pfchangs.com/cuisine/menu_main.jsp )

  • Chang’s Spare Ribs: 1,280 calories, 79g fat, 47g carbs
  • Anything Kung Pao, for example Kung Pao Chicken: 1,240 calories, 80g fat, 58g carbs
  • Tam’s Noodles With Savory Beef and Shrimp, 1,700 calories, 94g fat,144g carbs
  • Great Wall of Chocolate: 2,240 calories, 89g fat, 376g carbs

Chinese food is almost never a great bet for dieters, but if you’re going to indulge, at least steer clear of calorie disasters like the spare ribs — which are actually just an appetizer. What can you say about the Great Wall of Chocolate — other than buyer beware?

Ruby Tuesday (www.rubytuesday.com/files/nutrition.pdf)

  • Colossal Burger: 1,943 calories, 141g fat, 74g carbs
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip: 1,328 calories, 80g fat, 108g carbs
  • Fresh Chicken & Broccoli Pasta, 2,061 calories, 128g fat, 109g carbs
  • Carolina Chicken Salad: 1,025 calories, 72g fat, 38g carbs

Kudos to Ruby Tuesday for providing nutrition information, but all I can say is: Wow! All these options are not only high in calories but also sneaky little diet disasters. Don’t be fooled by words like “spinach,” “broccoli” and especially “salad”— in this case they are all Calorie Rip-offs. The chicken and broccoli pasta and the burger each have about a day’s worth of calories.

Pizza Hut (www.yum.com/nutrition/documents/ph_nutrition.pdf)

  • Stuffed Crust Meat Lover’s Pizza (1 slice, 14” pie): 520 calories, 29g fat, 38g carbs
  • 6″ Personal Meat Lover’s Pan Pizza: 890 calories, 49g fat, 70g carbs

The Stuffed Crust Meat Lover’s Pizza might just be the worst pizza option out there for a dieter. Only two pieces and you’re looking at 1,000 calories — and if you kick off your meal with breadsticks and wash it down with a soda, you’d better prepare yourself to get off the couch the next morning and run a marathon to undo all the damage.

Chili’s (www.chilis.com/menu/)

  • Awesome Blossom: 2,710 calories, 203g fat, 194g carbs
  • Fajita Steak Quesadilla with Guacamole: 2,020 calories, 111g fat, 150g carbs
  • Black Bean Burger: 650 calories, 12g fat, 96g carbs
  • New England Clam Chowder Soup (bowl), 940 calories, 65g fat, 54g carbs

The Awesome Blossom is about the worst appetizer on any menu. And at more than 1,700 calories, none of the quesadillas are safe bets.

Denny’s (www.dennys.com/en/page.asp?PID=1&ID=23)

  • Mini Burgers (6) w/Onion Rings: 2,044 calories, 122g fat, 179g carbs, 3,834mg sodium
  • Country Sausage Bowl: 1,680 calories, 108g fat, 127g carbs
  • Italian Chicken Melt: 1,134 calories, 62g fat, 68g carbs
  • Grand Slam Slugger with Hash Browns: 1,050 calories, 55g fat, 96g carbs

The Italian Melt is a poor choice, but the calories and sodium in those Mini Burgers are off the charts. In terms of breakfast choices, the Sausage Bowl and Grand Slam Slugger are just two examples of many calorie-packed choices.

Bob Evans (www.bobevans.com)

  • Sunshine Skillet: 995 calories, 76g fat, 36g carbs
  • Country Biscuit Breakfast: 732 calories, 52g fat, 40g carbs
  • Border Scramble Omelet: 893 calories, 73g fat, 14g carbs
  • Farmer’s Market Omelet: 911 calories, 74g fat, 15g carbs

Who knew you could cram so many calories into an egg-based dish when the eggs themselves have only 75 calories apiece?






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