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11 Scary Unhealthy Fast Food Breakfasts

By Melissa Breyer for Care2.com

How would you like to meet your daily sodium and saturated fat allowance, as well as nearly half of your daily calorie needs, in one quick breakfast eaten on the road? It’s becoming progressively easy these day as food technicians, chefs and market researchers, holed away in corporate fast food “studios,” are busy developing monstrous new breakfast items. Trying to claim as much of the $57 billion fast food breakfast market as they can, the fast food giants are drumming up increasingly cheesy, steak-y, fried chicken-y breakfast dishes that tap into flavor combinations that have proven successful for lunch and dinner items. It’s no longer eggs and English muffins for fast food breakfast…breakfast burger anyone?

What’s most striking about some of these high-calorie items–aside from the unsustainable, industrial, often GMO and synthetic ingredients–is the very high sodium and saturated fat content. According to the USDA, the current recommendation for sodium consumption is less than 2,300 milligrams a day. For saturated fat, the maximum allowance is between 18 grams to 31 grams, depending on your caloric intake needs. (You can calculate your caloric need with this calculator from the Mayo Clinic.) Many of these breakfast items meet or exceed the daily sodium and fat allowances, and provide much more than one-third of your daily caloric needs.

1. Carl’s Jr Breakfast Burger
Yes, I’m afraid you read that right, “breakfast” and “burger” in the same menu item. How do you turn a regular burger into a breakfast burger? By adding not only an egg–but an egg, bacon, American cheese and hash brown nuggets, too!

Calories: 780
Fat Calories: 370
Total Fat: 51 grams
Sat Fat: 15 grams
Sodium: 1460

2. McDonald’s Big Breakfast with Hotcakes
Chances are that if you are ordering a breakfast that contains scrambled eggs, sausage, hash brown, hotcakes and a biscuit, you’re probably not really watching your waistline (well, watching it increase, maybe) but still, the tally for this corpulent combination is quite impressive.

Calories: 1150
Fat Calories: 540
Total Fat: 59 grams
Sat Fat: 20 grams
Sodium: 2260

If you decide to go with something less bulky, like the McSkillet Burrito with Sausage, you’ll still be ringing up 610 calories. The “best bet” here is the Egg McMuffin at 300 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat. But then again, the sound of “Pasteurized Process American Cheese, Canadian Style Bacon, and Liquid Margarine” may leave you a little blue in the gills…

3. Burger King Biscuits and Sausage Gravy Platter
I can’t decide which one is worse, the Biscuits and Sausage Gravy Platter or the Double Croissan’wich with Sausage Egg and Cheese. Calories are the same, but you can have 35 grams of fat with 2350 mg of sodium (that’s your limit for the day), or you can opt for the 49 grams of fat with 1520 mg of sodium.

Calories: 680
Fat Calories: 310
Total Fat: 35 grams
Sat Fat: 28 grams
Sodium: 2350 mg

4. Burger King Double Croissan’wich with Sausage Egg and Cheese
Does the cutesy name make it any less threatening?

Calories: 680
Fat Calories: 421
Total Fat: 49 grams
Sat Fat: 18 grams
Sodium: 1520

5. Hardee’s Double Sausage Egg n’ Cheese Biscuit
Anytime you start saying “double sausage” when talking about a meal, you should just know to expect trouble…like 21-grams-of-saturated-fat kind of trouble. Along with your RDA for sodium and saturated fat all scooped up with this one sandwich, you can pretty much eat nothing else besides celery for the day. The problem with any of the biscuit meals here is that the biscuit alone is 370 calories.

Calories: 830
Fat Calories: 570
Total Fat: 63 grams
Sat Fat: 21 grams
Sodium: 2100

6. Hardee’s Loaded Breakfast Burrito
Can you imagine? “Eggs, crumbled sausage, bacon and diced ham, lots of shredded cheddar cheese, then wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. Served with zesty salsa.” I like the use of “zesty”–as if it somehow lightens this overwhelming brick of animal fat disguised as a burrito.

Calories: 760
Fat Calories: 400
Total Fat: 49 grams
Sat Fat: 21 grams
Sodium: 1380

7. Hardee’s Low Carb Breakfast Bowl
So, you think maybe the low carb option is going to be the better option? How does this sound: “eggs topped with a sausage patty and a slice of Swiss cheese, then piled with a loaded omelet (with crumbled sausage, bacon, diced, ham and shredded cheddar), then finished with more shredded cheddar and sprinkled with bacon bits.” Sounds like “call 9-1-1″ to me.

Calories: 620
Fat Calories: 450
Total Fat: 50 grams
Sat Fat: 21 grams
Sodium: 1380

8. Jack in the Box Steak and Egg Burrito
I don’t know who came up with the idea of steak and eggs for breakfast, but, ouch. Even worse when they are wrapped up in a tortilla along with hash browns, cheddar cheese, jack cheese and a bunch of sauce.

Calories: 821
Fat Calories: 450
Total Fat: 48 grams
Sat Fat: 15 grams
Sodium: 1616

9. Jack in the Box Extreme Sausage Sandwich
When a regular sausage sandwich just isn’t enough…

Calories: 690
Fat Calories: 445
Total Fat: 41 grams
Sat Fat: 17 grams
Sodium: 1356

10. Chick-fil-A Sausage Biscuit
The Chick-fil-A Sausage Biscuit is not too much better or worse than the other sausage biscuits. The general problem with a biscuit breakfast is that it is not that large of meal, yet you are using up a lot of calories for a lot of junk and animal fat.

Calories: 590
Fat Calories: 370
Total Fat: 41 grams
Sat Fat: 16 grams
Sodium: 1250

11. Chick-fil-A Chicken Egg and Cheese Bagel on a Sunflower Mutligrain Bagel
Well it’s nice that they opted for a multigrain bagel studded with sunflower seeds, but does that really hide the fact that there is a slab of fried chicken between the eggs and American cheese?

Calories: 530
Fat Calories: 200
Total Fat: 23 grams
Sat Fat:7 grams
Sodium: 1330

Also Read:

The Quickest Healthy (and Delicious) Oatmeal

12 Shockingly Unhealthy Coffee Drinks

5 Healthiest Breakfast Foods

September 23rd, 2011

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