Nobody eats fast food because it's good for them.
Yes, McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), Burger King (NYSE:BKW.DL), the various Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) offerings (KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut), and even the pizza chains have added come healthier choices, but all offer mostly calorie-laden items. Even though the KFC Double Down, which featured fried chicken as the "bun," and Burger King's Enormous Omelet Sandwich, which had a sausage patty, two eggs, two slices of American cheese, and three strips of bacon, have been retired, fast-food menus are still full of items sure to wreck your diet.
It's hard to pick which are the actual worst fast-food menu items for your diet as there are so many that offer a days worth of fat and sodium in a single item. To make this list, we focused on products that aren't just calorie-heavy, but are either shockingly so, or deceptively so -- items that seem like they wouldn't be that bad for you, but most certainly are.
You can make a lot of belt-stretching choices when you eat fast food, but these are some of the worst selections regularly available.
1. Domino's Chicken Carbonara Pasta Bread Bowl
Pasta is basically bread, so offering it served in a bread bowl seems redundant. It's essentially like offering fried calamari served on a plate of fried chicken. That sounds delicious, but it's easy to see the inherent dangers of eating such a concoction.
Domino's offers a few variants on pasta in a bread bowl, but the worst offender is the Chicken Carbonara variety, which is impressive because another version features Alfredo sauce, which is known for being calorie rich. The Alfredo selection, however, only comes in at 1,400 calories, while the Carbonara has 1,480, with even more of them (510 versus 460) coming from fat.
Perhaps the most egregious thing about this gut-busting meal is that even though it's served in its own serving dish -- the titular bread bowl -- the company describes it as two servings.
2. McDonald's Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich
With all of the burgers on the McDonald's menu, it's hard to believe that a chicken sandwich is actually the worst choice available. Now, nobody would expect a fried chicken sandwich featuring bacon to be low-calorie, but at 790 calories, it comes in slightly ahead of a little-known menu choice known as the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, at 780.
The Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich even puts the 540-calorie Big Mac (which is often used as the measuring stick for unhealthy food) to shame, beating it by more than an entire small fries' (230) worth of calories.
3. Chipotle burritos
Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) has carefully built a reputation on the idea (and actual practice) that it uses higher-quality ingredients than its fast-food competitors. That's true in many cases, but high quality does not mean low calorie. A single Chipotle burrito can contain more than half a day's worth of calories.
Figuring out calories for the Mexican chain's offerings can be a little challenging because it does not have set menu items. So, to determine where a normal burrito weighs in, you need to construct one on the company's handy nutrition calculator page.
The page lets you pick as any items as you want, but to be reasonable, I built a burrito someone might actually order. Mine contained a flour tortilla, carnitas (pork), white rice, pinto beans, roasted chili-corn salsa, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole. Yes, those are the most caloric choices in each category, but my burrito did not take advantage of the fact that you can double up on a item or have multiple meats. Despite that, my custom burrito weighs in at 1,360 calories, with 608 of them coming from fat.
4. Burger King's BK Ultimate Breakfast Platter
On the plus side, if you elect to eat the BK Ultimate Big Breakfast Platter first thing in the morning, its 1,420 calories should be able to tide you over until a late (and very modest) dinner completes your required caloric intake for the day. You do get a lot of food for the calories as the platter offers scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, a biscuit, and three pancakes drizzled in sweet syrup.
Still, at nearly 300 calories more than McDonald's very similar "Big Breakfast with Hotcakes" (1,130 calories), Burger King has managed to pack an incredible amount of calories into a single meal.
5. Pizza Hut: Meat Lover's Hot Dog Bites Pizza
While some of the items on this list are a bit surprising, it's hard for Yum! Brands' Pizza Hut to make anything that sounds more fattening than a Meat Lover's Hot Dog Bites Pizza. That's true even for a chain that offers a product called the Pretzel Piggy, and one named The Old-Fashioned Meatbrawl.
The Meat Lover's Hot Dog Bites Pizza, which has hot dog bites -- more commonly known as "pigs in a blanket" -- where the crust should be -- comes in at 420 calories a slice. That's a number so high that the Pizza Hut nutrition chart gives its a "maximum calories" designation. Since each pizza is only 14 inches, it's plausible that a person would order one for himself. If you did that, you would be taking in 3,360 calories in one sitting. Even eating half a pie costs you 1,680 calories, about 75% of a grown man's recommended daily total.