The Most Unhealthy Burgers At Popular Fast Food Chains

We've looked at some of the most popular fast-food chains in the U.S. to determine which hamburgers on their menus are the most unhealthy. Being indulgent with over-the-top creations happens every now and then. However, it's worth knowing what you're putting in your body. For example, if you choose a 650-calorie original double bacon cheeseburger at A&W, you won't be blowing all of your calories and fat for the day. On the other hand, if you have a craving for an artisanal burger like the 1,530-calorie pretzel bacon pub triple at Wendy's, you should plan to hit the gym (or the hospital) afterward.

Some of the nutritional statuses of these burgers can be shocking. Three of the options on our list contain more fat than the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends for the day. Almost all of them exceed the FDA's daily recommended levels of saturated fat, and many go over the amount of sodium we should be consuming. 

In most cases, eating one of the burgers on this list means going over some of the nutritional goals the FDA sets. We're counting down from the fast-food joint with the healthiest highest-calorie burger to the one that should be avoided if you value your health.

14. A&W: original bacon double cheeseburger

When you look at all fast-food burgers, A&W's most calorific option has the least calories of them all. It's also been around since 1963. The original double bacon cheeseburger has everything you'd expect from a bacon cheeseburger. There are two beef patties, hickory-smoked bacon strips, and American cheese, as well as the standard burger garnishes: lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and mayo.

In comparison to other burgers on our list, A&W's has the least amount of calories (650), fat (36 grams), saturated fat (13 grams), cholesterol (100 milligrams), and sodium (1,160 milligrams). The carb count and sugar content are in the mid-low range with 41 and 8 grams respectively. If you're thinking about eating this burger, you'll be happy to know it's only one of two burgers on our list with no nutritional values exceeding the daily amount the FDA recommends for good health. So, if you're looking for an indulgent and unhealthy burger but want to stay on the lower end of the figures, A&W's original double bacon cheeseburger is the top choice.

13. In-N-Out Burger: Double-Double with onion

If you're lucky enough to live in one of the seven states with an In-N-Out Burger and you're on the prowl for the most unhealthy burger on the menu, the Double-Double with onion is it. It clocks in at 670 calories, so it's fairly close to A&W's original bacon double cheeseburger in that regard. The Double-Double with onion comes with two beef patties, each topped with a slice of American cheese. The veggies you can expect are onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. Plus, it comes with In-N-Out Burger's signature salmon-colored spread.

All the nutritional values are on the healthier end of unhealthy as far as our list goes. It contains 41 grams of fat, 18 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, and 120 milligrams of cholesterol. In fact, it's one of only two burgers on our list that doesn't meet or exceed the daily value of saturated fat. The sodium count is 1,440 milligrams, carbs stand at 39 grams, and sugar at 10 grams. Like the A&W original bacon cheeseburger, none of its nutritional values exceed the daily recommended amount, so you can still eat other foods throughout the day without going overboard.

12. McDonald's: Double Quarter Pounder with cheese

At McDonald's, the most unhealthy burger you can get is the Double Quarter Pounder with cheese. Once upon a time, the Big Mac was the biggest health nemesis at McDonald's. But its relatively-wimpy 590 calories are nothing compared to the Double Quarter Pounder with cheese at 740 calories. What takes this burger over the edge is its two ¼-pound beef patties (totaling a half pound), topped with two slices of American cheese. In addition to half a pound of meat and two slices of cheese, the Double Quarter Pounder with cheese contains pickles, onions, ketchup, and mustard.

This burger is on the low end of our list for fat (42 grams), saturated fat (20 grams), and sodium (1,360 milligrams). It actually has the exact daily recommended allowance for saturated fat (20 grams), so you'll want to watch everything else you eat that day to avoid going over by too much. Additionally, it has 2.5 grams of trans fat, and the cholesterol clocks in at 165 milligrams. Despite McDonald's reputation for fueling obesity in the U.S., it's among the least horrendously unhealthy burgers on the list. Surprisingly, the Double Quarter Pounder with cheese is not the least-healthy menu item at Mcdonald's. That status belongs to the Big Breakfast With Hotcakes.

11. Jack in the Box: Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger

If you live in one of the 21 states in the U.S. with a Jack in the Box, you might want to avoid the Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger. It starts with a buttery bun, and the base consists of two beef patties and several pieces of hickory-smoked bacon. To pile on even more calories and fat, Jack in the Box layers four pieces of cheese (half American and half Swiss) on top of the burgers. The condiments include a mix of mustard, mayo, and ketchup.

The Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger still has a below-average amount of calories for the burgers on our list with 930, but it's heading over to the dark side with some of its other nutritional values. The good news is that it's still on the low-ish end for its fat (56 grams) and sugar (7 grams) content. However, it still has 165 milligrams of cholesterol, 2,190 milligrams of sodium, and 44 grams of carbs. It also has one of the highest levels of trans fats on our list at 3 grams. Like most of the burgers in our selection, it exceeds the recommended daily value of saturated fat at 24 grams (but only by 4 grams).

10. Steak 'N Shake: Frisco melt

While the chain occasionally brings out its 7-patty $7.77 7x7 burger with a stupendous 1,660 calories, the most calorific burger you'll see on the regular menu is the Frisco melt. Luckily, it is less likely to have you clutching your heart with a mere 960 calories. The Frisco melt is layered between two slices of buttered sourdough bread and filled with two hamburger patties, American and Swiss cheese, and Frisco sauce. The extra calories seem to come from the well-buttered bread and extra butter.

The Frisco melt has less cholesterol (115 milligrams) and sodium (1,440 milligrams) than most of the burgers on our list. And it's only 1 gram over the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat at 21 grams. However, it starts its journey toward increasing unhealthiness when you consider its 66 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 51 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of sugar. If you're craving a Frisco without all the unhealthy nutritional values, you'll want to try our copycat Steak 'N Shake Frisco melt recipe at home, as it only has 286 calories.

9. Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers: triple steakburger

Freddy's triple steakburger has the lowest amount of calories for any three-patty-burger on our list. However, 990 calories is still significant. The burger also comes with three slices of American cheese, onions, mustard, and pickles — it's not big on frills but the toasted bun is a nice bonus. Freddy's sometimes trots out another three-patty burger that tops this one on the calorie count — the jalapeño pepper jack triple. You're more likely to find the double version, which doesn't have as many calories as the triple steakburger.

Freddy's triple steakburger has one of the lowest amounts of carbs (31 grams) and sugar (5 grams) on our list. If you're watching your cholesterol intake, you'll want to avoid it, as it has more cholesterol than any other option on our list (260 milligrams). It's still 40 milligrams below your limit for the day, but you can't afford too much more. You'll also notice that it has a higher-than-average amount of saturated fat compared with other items on our list at 28 grams, most definitely exceeding the amount you should have in a day. Meanwhile, the total fat content clocks in at 62 grams, with 1.5 grams of trans fats and 2,190 milligrams of sodium. This one really straddles the naughty and nice burger world.

8. Dairy Queen: Backyard Bacon Ranch Signature Stackburger triple

Dairy Queen's Backyard Bacon Ranch Signature Stackburger triple clocks in at 1,020 calories. With the Stackburgers dominating DQ's menu at the moment, you may not notice it still sells a small, 350-calorie hamburger. That's not the case with the Backyard Bacon Ranch Signature Stackburger triple, which comes with three beef patties, weighing in at a half pound. Each patty is layered with a slice of white cheddar and further topped with applewood-smoked bacon, fried onion rings, ranch dressing, and honey BBQ sauce, which certainly bring up the calorie count.

This Stackburger has some of the highest levels of saturated fat (27 grams) on our list, exceeding the recommended daily amount by 8 grams. Its sodium levels reach a high of 2,310 milligrams. Carbs and sugar are also some of the highest on our list, with 54 and 15 grams respectively. Additionally, it counts 67 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of trans fat, and 180 milligrams of cholesterol. DQ's highest-calorie Stackburger undoubtedly belongs to the territory of the bad boys of burgers.

7. Braum's: triple quarter lb. cheeseburger

If you're not in one of the five states and 160 cities that has a Braum's location, you're missing out on excellent ice cream. Braum's triple quarter lb. cheeseburger is also good, but at 1,040 calories, it's terribly unhealthy. Luckily, it comes with some vegetables, namely lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions. Along with three quarter-pound beef patties, it has two slices of American cheese, mayo, and Braum's special sauce.

Braum's triple quarter lb. cheeseburger soars to high figures in several areas, including 27 grams of saturated fat and 240 milligrams of cholesterol (among the highest on our list). In fact, the saturated fat level is 7 grams above the daily recommendation. It also has an above-average 2.5 grams of trans fat, 2,020 milligrams of sodium, and 12 grams of sugar. The only things it has going for it nutritionally speaking is the below-average (for our list) fat and carb content, with 64 and 43 grams respectively. Braum's has good burgers, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

6. Hardee's and Carl's Jr.: Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger

It turns out that Hardee's and Carl's Jr. are owned by the same company and basically have the same menu. You might have seen the 1,400-calorie Monster Double Thickburger advertised at one point. Currently, the chain's biggest burger is the Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger, which boasts 1,060 calories. It comes with two meat patties, each topped with a slice of American cheese and stacked with two strips of bacon and two onion rings. Of course, it wouldn't be a Western burger if it wasn't drenched in sweet BBQ sauce.

The Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger has both the highest amount of carbs (81 grams) and sugar (17 grams) of any of the mega burgers on our list. It also contains 24 grams of saturated fat (4 grams more than you should ingest for the day) and 2,080 milligrams of sodium. The somewhat good news is that this burger has a lower-than-average amount of trans fat (2 grams) and cholesterol (150 milligrams) compared to other items on the list. Sure, it's not the Monster Double Thickburger, but it's still not remotely in the realm of a healthy burger.

5. Whataburger: triple meat Whataburger

Whataburger's unhealthiest burger is another triple-patty beast. Oddly enough, despite clocking in at 1,070 calories, it doesn't even come with cheese. You can add a slice of cheese to the triple Meat Whataburger for extra, but it'll also cost you an additional 90 calories. Apart from the lack of cheese, the toppings are pretty standard and include tomato, lettuce, pickles, and onions. If you want more than mustard as a condiment, you'll have to order that separately as well.

The big 5-inch bun causes this burger to come close to the top as far as carb content with 62 grams and 12 grams of sugar. Somehow, despite having three pieces of meat, the triple meat Whataburger only counts 130 milligrams of cholesterol, which is the third lowest amount on our list. Overall, it has 63 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of trans fat, and 21 grams of saturated fat. As a plus, it has a less-than-average amount of sodium for our list with 1,720 milligrams. Yes, it's unhealthy, but it has some surprising numbers going for it.

4. Sonic: SuperSONIC bacon double cheeseburger with mayo

Sonic's juicy SuperSONIC bacon double cheeseburger with mayo comes in at 1,140 calories. It comes with what you would expect for all that mass: two hamburger patties, two slices of American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Sonic actually offers chili as an additional topping suggestion, which would bring this bad boy up to 1,200 calories if you want to live even more dangerously.

While the SuperSONIC bacon double cheeseburger with mayo has 77 grams of fat and 23 grams of saturated fat (3 grams more than you need for the day), it's actually the only option on our list with no trans fats. Surprisingly for such a calorific mega burger, the cholesterol (150 milligrams) and sugar (10 grams) content is also below average for our list. However, it is loaded with 2,020 milligrams of sodium and 52 grams of carbs. It's got a few good things going for it but there's a lot of bad too.

3. Burger King: Bacon King

Now, we're getting into the territory of burgers that are really bad for you.  Burger King's Bacon King comes in at 1,200 calories, due to two beef patties, two slices of American cheese, and plenty of bacon. You get both ketchup and mayo as condiments, plus the bun has sesame seeds, which also add to the calorie count.

The Bacon King is one of three items on our list that has more fat than the daily recommended allowance. The extremely high levels of fat (81 grams) go over what you should eat in a day. It's also loaded with 32 grams of saturated fat, which is 12 more grams than the FDA suggests. Other components that are above average for our list include cholesterol (215 milligrams), carbs (55 grams), and sugar (15 grams). Where it really goes over the edge is with 3,265 milligrams of sodium, which is the most of any burger on our list (and 965 milligrams over the daily suggested intake). The only thing it has going for it nutrition-wise is it only contains 1.2 grams of trans fat. Bacon burgers tend to be a bad health choice, but this one is especially unhealthy and probably best avoided.

2. Checker's and Rally's: smoky BBQ bacon Buford triple

Bacon and BBQ certainly taste great together, but when you ask for triple the meat, you're really driving up the calories. Checker's and Rally's smoky BBQ bacon Buford triple doesn't look like it could possibly fit into your mouth. Each of the three meat patties is topped with a slice of Swiss cheese and loaded up with a couple of slices of smoky bacon. Then, you get a mini salad of lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onions on top. BBQ sauce and mayo serve as condiments, along with additional bacon crumbles. Everything on this burger adds up to a whopping 1,340 calories, which is more than twice the count of the lowest-calorie burger on our list.

Unsurprisingly, the smoky BBQ bacon Buford triple has extremely high levels of fat (105 grams) and saturated fat (35 grams). The saturated fat amount in this burger is 15 grams above what you should be consuming in a day, so beware. With 2,500 milligrams of sodium, that's a whopping 300 more than you should have for the day. It also has 205 milligrams of cholesterol, 2 grams of trans fat, and 9 grams of sugar. Surprisingly, it has one of the three lowest levels of carbs on our list, with only 40 grams. So, there's a hint of nice with all the naughty (relatively speaking). In all truth, you'd be best off not ordering it.

1. Wendy's: pretzel bacon pub triple

Now, we're down to the most unhealthy burger of all: Wendy's pretzel bacon pub triple. We can't deny it looks good, but there are pretzel bun choices without three pieces of meat and 1,530 calories. This artisan burger has three slices of muenster cheese in addition to a warm beer and cheese sauce. You also get pickles, fried onions, applewood smoked bacon, and a smoke-flavored honey mustard topping. It's undeniably good but also the most evil burger on our list when it comes to your health.

You won't be surprised to learn that the pretzel bacon pub triple has the highest levels of fat (107 grams), saturated fat (44 grams), and trans fat (5 grams) of all fast-food burgers we've tallied. The fat content exceeds recommended levels by 29 grams, and the saturated fat level is over by 24 grams. Keep in mind that the recommended amount of saturated fat for the day is only 20 grams, so it's more than double what you should be consuming. It's also extremely high in cholesterol (250 milligrams), sodium (1,890 milligrams), and carbohydrates (53 grams). With only 6 grams of sugar, it's on the lower end compared with other items on our list. However, that one small positive aspect can't help the fact that this burger is the most likely to send you to the emergency room of any on our list. Just say no.