Whataburger Was Just Named Healthiest Fast Food Cheeseburger

Fast food is certainly not thought of as nutritious. Per Medical News Today, the frequent consumption of processed fast food can result in insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and obesity. Typically, this food lacks key nutrients but is packed full of sugar, fat, salt, and calories.

If you're trying to stay health conscious, but your family insists on fast food for dinner, there is usually at least one option that won't completely blow your efforts. According to registered dietitian Micah Siva, Chipotle offers several healthy dining opportunities (via Shape). "They offer a range of vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, which are components to a balanced meal," she said. When ordered correctly, foods at Panera Bread can also be a good option. 

Samantha Cassetty, R.D., revealed on Today what health-conscious items you should reach for. First, you want to choose whole grain bread, then, you want to load your sandwich or salad with fruits and vegetables. If possible, avoid flatbreads, cheese, cream, and sauces. If you just can't stay away from a cheeseburger, though, good news has just surfaced that you'll want to hear.

It had a health rating of 8.4

You might not be used to hearing fast food in the same sentence as healthy, but one burger brand is breaking that mold — well, at least for the healthiest. Revealed in a study reportedly conducted by Gambling.com, a Whataburger with cheese ranks first place when compared to similar food types, ranking in a health score of 8.4. The statistics were based on numerous nutrition facts such as the amount of sugar, fat, salt, and calorie count.

Per Whataburger's online data, an original Whataburger contains 590 calories, 25 grams of fat, 12 grams of sugar, and 1,220 milligrams of sodium. When Monterey jack is added, it contributes 60 calories, 5 grams of fat, no sugar, and 310 milligrams of sodium. In-N-Out Burger received an 8.2 rating, making it the second healthiest fast food burger, while Burger King came in last place. If you're looking to enjoy a Whataburger with cheese, you'll have to be in one of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

So while, fast food burgers still aren't considered healthy, at least you know you're getting the "healthiest" burger out there. 

Burgers aren't the only healthy option on the menu

If you're not convinced cheeseburgers are the best option for your diet, there are other ways to dine at Whataburger while minding your health. According to Barbie Cervoni, RD, CDCES, CDN, you'll fare best to stick with egg sandwiches, junior burgers, salads, and taco wraps (per Verywell Fit). "Keep in mind, though, that these lighter fare menu choices still contain a considerable amount of calories, fat, and sodium," Cervoni said. Because of this, the expert doesn't recommend partaking at the burger joint on a regular basis.

The chain also offers a Lighter & Smaller menu that highlights the Whataburger menu items with the lowest calories. The menu lists two salads — the apple and cranberry chicken salad and an original garden salad. If you opt for the apple and cranberry option, you'll be consuming a base of 380 to 500 calories, and if the garden salad is more your style, you can expect to eat at least 160 to 400 calories, depending on your meat additions. Among the best options for bread lovers are the grilled chicken sandwich at 430 calories, the egg sandwich at 310 calories, and the egg and cheese biscuit at 440 calories. You can also enjoy a taquito sans cheese, which will only leave you consuming 360 to 400 calories.

The cheeseburger is popular for good reason

Of course, it's not a crime to indulge from time to time, and there's a reason Whataburger cheeseburgers have the reputation they do. When Harmon Dobson founded the chain, he set out to create a burger that made customers say, "What a Burger!" This wishful statement resulted in the name of both the restaurant and the burger that Texans know and love. What's the secret? "We do it slow and steady, not fast and quick," Whataburger CEO Preston Atkinson said (per QSR). Though your Whataburger can be customized, it's traditionally made with 100% beef, tomato, pickle, lettuce, diced onions and mustard.

In the same QSR interview, senior vice president Clifton Rutledge touched on the 550-calorie-or-less menu. "It's not a diet food that tastes like a diet food," he explained. If a store is in your area, you could always grab one of the health-conscious menu items. But if you just can't steer clear of a good old-fashioned cheeseburger, you can rest easy knowing you're making the healthiest decision as far as chain burgers go.