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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.


Popular Fast Food Chains Commit to Healthier Kid’s Meals

Finally some good news to report about the fast food and restaurant industry! Nineteen restaurant chains have committed to making their kid meal options healthier. In a new era where one in three children are obese and where eating out is more of a norm verses a special indulgence, this is wonderful news.

The initiative is called “Kids Live Well”, and this voluntary action has select restaurants committing to reduce the calories and improve the nutritional value of the meals they advertise to children. The meals will now be comprised of increased fruit and vegetable offerings, a lean protein, whole grains, and a low fat dairy product. All participants have agreed to make certain all meals are 600 calories or less.

Burger King is one of the restaurants involved in the movement. They may be the shining star of the group as they have made a decision to make apples and milk or juice the default choices for their kid’s meals. While fries and soda will still be available, they will have to be requested. Studies have shown that menu items set as the default options are what the consumers primarily stick with.


Fast Food Chains Adding Alcohol to Their Menus

“I’d like a double cheeseburger, the jumbo fries, and a DIET soda.” Does this fast food order sound familiar? The patron stressing the diet soda to lighten some part of the gut busting meal is a pretty common occurrence. Now, we might start hearing something like, “…and a LIGHT beer” tacked on to a fast food order. Alcohol is now being served at fast food chains around the U.S.

Very popular chains like Burger King, Sonic, and even Starbucks have begun introducing alcoholic menu concepts at select locations. The controversial change could be a result of the economy, as many say alcohol will allow them to compete with the casual dinning restaurants in the evening. While that fact may be true as adults may want to eat somewhere that has an alcohol option on the menu, that addition to fast food menus could cause more harm than reward.

Thankfully none of these restaurants allow for alcohol to be ordered from a drive-thru or car stall, but there are still some possible hazards. The risk of getting a quick meal and a quick beer and then driving off pose obvious dangers. However, assuming that adults are responsible enough to gauge what’s appropriate consumption, what about the health factor?


Burger King Japan Launches New Diet Disaster

Burger King's Meat Monster HamburgerFast-Food chain Burger King is continuing the trend of launching ultra-fatty sandwiches in Japan with a new burger. First, McDonald’s launched its “Big America” campaign, which features a collection of burgers (yes, a collection–there are at least four of them) named for American locations and are loaded with a barrage of high-calorie items, from chips to chili. Now, Burger King has launched the Meat Monster burger.

As part of the “Have It Your Way” promotion, the Meat Monster is based on the All Heavy, a burger that has about one and a half times the amount of toppings as a regular Whopper. The Meat Monster then has two slices of cheese, three strips of bacon, an extra 3.3 ounce beef patty and a Tendergrill chicken patty. The burger sells for 820 yen, the equivalent of $9.70. Using the equivalent U.S. ingredients, The Consumerist estimates that the sandwich has 1160 calories, while SeriousEats used Burger King’s online meal builder to get an estimated value of 1310 calories.


Healthiest Menu Choices at Burger King

We wanted to see what the best menu items were at a popular fast-food restaurant: Burger King. After some digging, we came up with the below choices that are all selected based on feedback from registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield. All meals have less than 500 calories and about 500 milligrams of sodium, as part of the new daily sodium recommendations from the U.S. government. Because all fast food is generally high in salt, it was really difficult to find meals that fell into these guidelines at Burger King, and what we did find, unfortunately, wasn’t all that exciting.

Healthiest Meals at Burger King

1. Hamburger. With 340 calories and 520 milligrams of sodium, this is the lowest-sodium option for a sandwich. Our recommendation for rounding out this meal? Bring some raw cut-up veggies from home or pick up a piece of fruit to help fill you up and keep you energized.