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The Fast Food and Chain Restaurant Epidemic

fast food nutrition

It’s incredible how ignorant America is when it comes to fast food and chain restaurant nutrition. The majority of food/drinks at Starbucks, PF Changs, Outback, Olive Garden, etc. are atrociously unhealthy, yet we continue to send money their way. We’ve got a fast food and chain restaurant epidemic.

Although certain restaurants have started listing calorie counts on their menus, the majority keep all of their nutritional info a well-kept secret. Honestly, if restaurants were required to list calories, fat, trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium next to each menu item, I really think most of them would be out of business. Some of the nutritional values are that outrageous.

A large popcorn at AMC/Loews has 1,160 calories, 60 grams of fat, and over 1,500 mg of sodium. Really…we’re eating that? Might as well rename it heart attack in a tub. Here’s a list of the worst offenders at a variety of popular chain restaurants and fast food joints-it might surprise you.


Chain Restaurants


starbucks nutrition


Thought coffee was harmless? Eh…not so much. With the exception of black coffee and espresso orders, Starbucks’ coffee drinks are sugary, calorie-packed monstrosities. You’re basically drinking dessert (all info is for grande drink sizes).

Add Whipped Cream: 70 calories, 7g fat
White Hot Chocolate: 420 calories, 66g carbs, 12g fat
Caffe Mocha: 330 calories, 15g fat
Iced Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha: 520 calories, 68g carbs, 8g fat
Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino: 500 calories, 98g carbs, 9g fat (34% DV)

PF Chang’s China Bistro

Chinese food is notorious for obnoxiously high levels of sodium-PF Chang’s isn’t any exception. The seared ahi tuna appetizer has 860 mg of sodium…are you kidding me??? That’s over 1/3 of your total daily intake in a 160 calorie appetizer! And tuna’s supposed to be healthy…


Crab Wontons, spicy Plum Sauce: 363 calories, 10g fat, 4g sat fat, 1,763mg sodium (73% DV)
Egg Rolls: 174 calories, 8g fat, 1g sat fat, 673mg sodium
Hot and Sour Soup (cup): 80 calories, 3g fat, 1,000mg sodium (42% DV)


Almond & Cashew Chicken: 535 calories, 22g fat, 4g sat fat, 2,085mg sodium (87% DV)
Mu Shu Pork: 530 calories, 31g fat, 7g sat fat, 3,425mg sodium (143% DV!!!!)
Cantonese Chow Fun: 790 calories, 20g fat, 4g sat fat, 1,615mg sodium (67% DV)
Coconut Curry Vegetables: 510 calories, 36g fat, 12g sat fat, 650 mg sodium (27%)

Outback Steakhouse

Outback serves most likely the WORLD’S most unhealthy food…the disgustingly horrible Bloomin’ Onion. Whoever created thing was a bad, bad person.

Bloomin’ Onion: 1552 calories, 83g fat (128% DV), 32g sat fat (1.5 days worth), 5508mg sodium (230% DV)…WOW!
Bacon Cheese Burger & Aussie Fries: 1625 calories, 114g fat (175% DV!), 47g sat fat (~2.5 days worth), 2418mg sodium (1 whole days worth)
14 oz. Rib Eye: 1193 calories, 99g fat (152% DV), 43g sat fat (2 days worth), 689mg sodium (29% DV)
Alice Springs Chicken: 1327 calories, 92g fat (142% DV), 41g sat fat (2 days worth), 2115mg sodium (88% DV)

Olive Garden

Free salad and breadsticks-winning! That’s a great bang for your buck, but not so much for your waist, especially considering that every OG breadstick packs 150 cals.

1 Breadstick: 150 calories, 2g fat, 400mg sodium
Garden Salad: 350 calories, 26 fat, 4.5g sat fat, 1930mg sodium (81% DV)
Calamari: 890 calories, 54g fat, 5g sat fat, 2340mg sodium (1 days worth)
Fettuccine Alfredo: 1220 calories, 75g fat, 47g sat fat, 1350mg sodium (56% DV)
Chicken & Shrimp Carbonara: 1440 calories, 88g fat, 38g sat fat, 3000mg sodium (125% DV)
Pork Milanese: 1510 calories, 87 g fat, 37g sat fat, 3100mg sodium (129% DV)

Fast Food Restaurants

I’ve scoured the fast food kingdom to uncover the definitive list of America’s worst fast goods. The amount of trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium in these meals is absolutely out of control. Keep in mind that there’s NO daily value for trans fat-even .10g can have a significant impact on your heart health and cholesterol levels. 10g from 3 White Castle mozzarella is more than you should be eating in an entire year…just saying.


Angus Bacon & Cheese Deluxe Cheeseburger: 790 calories, 39g fat, 17g sat fat, 2g trans fat, 2070mg sodium
12 oz. McFlurry w. M&Ms: 710 calories, 25g fat, 16g sat fat, 1g trans fat, 97g sugar!!

Burger King

Double Whopper: 900 calories, 57g fat, 19g sat fat, 1.5g trans fat
Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich: 800 calories, 46g fat, 8g sat fat, 1g trans fat


Baconator Double: 980 calories, 63g fat, 27g sat fat, 2.5g trans fat, 1830mg sodium

Taco Bell

Volcano Nachos: 1000 calories, 62g fat, 9g sat fat, 1g trans fat, 1930mg sodium
Cheesy Gordita Crunch: 500 calories, 28g fat, 10g sat fat, .5g trans fat, 880mg sodium
Cheese Quesadilla: 470 calories, 26g fat, 11g sat fat, .5g trans fat, 1120mg sodium
Crunchwrap Supreme: 540 calories, 21g fat, 7g sat fat, 1400mg sodium

White Castle

Hash Rounds (Sack): 1440 calories, 110g fat, 14g sat fat, 10g trans fat!!!!
Chicken Rings, 9 rings: 790 calories, 71g fat, 14g sat fat, 7g trans fat!
Mozzarella Sticks, 3 sticks: 33g fat, 8g sat fat, 10g trans fat!!
Chicken Breast Sandwich w. cheese: 390 calories, 28g fat, 5g sat fat, 3.5g trans fat


Chicken Fajita Omelette: 960 calories, 65g fat, 26g sat fat, .5g trans fat, 915mg cholesterol, 1850mg sodium
Colorado Omelette: 1120 calories, 82g fat, 33g sat fat, 910mg cholesterol, 2240mg sodium
Chorizo & Eggs: 1400 calories, 82g fat, 25g sat fat, 1.5g trans fat, 770mg cholesterol, 3160mg sodium
South-of-the-Border Burrito: 1380 calories, 74g fat, 29g sat fat, 1g trans fat, 3330mg sodium


Hopefully you’ve gotten a sense of just how disgustingly bad the food at most chain restaurants really is. The fact that ONE meal can contain multiple days worth of fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium is absolutely absurd. Try your best to avoid all of the places on this list as much as possible (Starbucks is the exception)-most of the food on the menu will kill you.

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Bryan DiSanto

Owner & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
Bryan DiSanto is the Owner & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, ACE-CPT & CSN, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness/nutrition nutjob.

When he’s not working on his (or somebody else’s) abs, whipping up Eggocados, or running a Tough Mudder, he’s probably off yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.