Thanks to Spark People, a healthy lifestyle support kind of web site, I was able to see just how terrible many of our favorite foods are. Although I didn't try all of them in 2007, I am 6 for 10 in trying these gut busters . . .
10 Worst Foods of 2007
How Many Have You Tried?
-- By John McGran, Food Writer and SparkPeople Contributor
Editor's Note: After much deliberation, food writer John "Mr. Bad Food" McGran has come up with the "best" of the worst foods he’s reviewed over the past year. Here there are in his words (in no particular order)—the worst foods of 2007!
1. Carl's Jr. Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger
I’m an East Coast kind of guy, but I realize there are no boundaries when it comes to bad foods. So, for this review, I took the advice of 19th Century newspaper editor Horace Greeley who urged, “Go west, young man, go west.” The Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger will gun you down with 1,130 calories (600 from fat), 66g fat (100% of your Daily Reference Value), 28g saturated fat (140% DRV), 150mg cholesterol, 2,540mg sodium (110%DRV), 83g carbs, and 47g protein. I’m beginning to understand why it’s called the Wild West! Sorry boys, but I’ll take the 3:10 to Yuma… and then the next plane to good old Philly, land of cheese steaks and soft pretzels over this one!
2. Pizza Hut Double Deep Pizza
These Double Deep Pizzas are handcrafted by loading an entire pizza with twice the toppings of a medium pizza, plus 50% more cheese and then wrapping the crust over the top to hold all the toppings in. I tried two slices of the Meaty variety. According to the Pizza Hut Website, I also opted for 1,160 calories, 72g fat (110% of your recommended Daily Value), 28g saturated fat (140% DV), 3g trans fat, 200mg cholesterol, 3,980mg sodium (166% DV), 62g carbs, and 62g protein. In all fairness, the suggest serving is one slice (1/8 the medium pie) but who eats a single slice? Not me.
3. El Monterey XX Large Chimichanga
While shopping at Wal-Mart here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I noticed Spicy Red Hot Beef & Bean Chimichangas in a cooler near the deli. They looked suspiciously like my 3-for-a-buck burritos of yesteryear—only bigger and a tad more costly. While a standard burrito wraps a filling of meat, beans and/or cheese in a flour tortilla, a chimichanga is a meat-filled tortilla…deep-fried. The key words "deep-fried" may explain why my mushy 10-ounce XX Large Chimichanga did a Mexican fat dance on my diet to the tune of 920 calories, 57g of fat (15g saturated, 1g trans fat), 40mg cholesterol, 1,140mg sodium, 83g carbs, and 22g protein. Ay, caramba! It's a good thing I only had one.
4. Denny’s Meat Lover’s Scramble
As Mr. Bad Food, I’ve seen plenty of bad nutrition numbers in my day. But I never saw anything as heart-stopping as what I found on the Denny’s Website one day. It was my stomach that turned upside down when I checked out the nutrition numbers for Denny’s Meat Lover’s Scramble. Denny’s could be charged with “salt with a deadly weapon” for serving a breakfast entree that packs an unbelievable 4,170mg of sodium! (The Recommended Daily Allowance for sodium is 2,400mg.) The Meat Lover’s Scramble will also shake you down with 1,280 calories, 71g of fat (21 saturated, 0 trans), 565mg cholesterol (the RDA is 300mg), 103g carbs and 54g protein (RDA is 50). By the way, the RDA for fat is 65 grams, so you are taking in more than a day’s fat, cholesterol and sodium in a single meal! So if you find yourself at a Denny’s and someone recommends a scramble, take my advice and scramble for the door!
5. Hardee’s Country Breakfast Burrito
The word burrito sounds like a term for a little burro. If you don’t want to make an ass of yourself—by scarfing down 60 grams of fat with your first meal of the day—then steer clear of the Country Breakfast Burrito at Hardee’s. The king-sized breakfast burrito is cobbled together from two omelets, five hashrounds (their cutesy version of hashbrowns), cheddar cheese, and sausage gravy. The omelets that fill out the tortilla each contain two eggs, crumbled sausage, diced ham and bacon bits. Now, if you’re hungry for 920 calories, 23 grams of saturated fat, and nearly 2,000 milligrams of sodium for your morning meal, dig in!
6. KFC Chicken & Biscuit Bowl
The clever cooks at KFC devised a way to toss together an entire chicken dinner in a single bowl. According to the KFC Website, the new bowls are “a blend of mouth-watering KFC flavors and textures all layered together.” A blend…a jumble…a clutter…Call it what you will. But after checking out the nutrition facts, I call the Chicken & Biscuit bowl a great way to flock up your diet! Their nutrition guide says that the Chicken & Biscuit dish will bowl you over with 870 calories, 44g of fat (11 saturated, 4.5 trans), 60mg cholesterol, 2,420mg sodium (101% of your recommended daily amount), 88g carbs, and 29g protein.
7. Starbucks Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino Blended Crème
When is a coffee drink not a coffee drink? When it comes with calories and frothy extras you’d expect to get with a milkshake! Oh, and when it doesn’t even include coffee! Case in point: The 24-ounce (that’s Venti-sized in Starbucks lingo) Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino Blended Crème served up at your local Starbucks. This drink is made from rich chocolate, chocolate chips and milk, and is blended with ice, and topped with whipped cream (optional), and chocolate drizzle. With 670 calories, 22g of total fat, (12g saturated fat; 0.5g of trans fat), and 107g of carbs, it only sounds like a coffee drink. The 12 grams of saturated fat is equal to the saturated fat you get in a McDonald’s Quarter-Pounder with Cheese… but the sandwich packs 160 fewer calories than the Frappuccino!
8. Pizza Hut P’Zone
It takes two hands to handle a Pizza Hut P’Zone. The problem is—according to the nutrition info on their website—it should also take two people! Yes, despite the fact their TV ads showed a bunch of hungry guys chowing down on whole P’Zones, each super-sized dough pockets of meats, cheeses and sauce is considered TWO SERVINGS. The nutrition numbers… doubled for those of us who consider the P’Zones one-meal wonders: P'Zone Classic: 1,220 calories, 46g fat, 22g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 130mg cholesterol, 2,700mg sodium, 144g carbs, 8g fiber, 60g protein. P'Zone Pepperoni: 1,260 calories, 48g fat, 22g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 140mg cholesterol, 2,980mg sodium, 140g carbs, 6g fiber, 64g protein. P'Zone Meaty: 1,380 calories, 58g fat, 26g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 160mg cholesterol, 3,460mg sodium, 144g carbs, 8g fiber, 70g protein.
9. Wendy’s Baconator
The term “Baconator” sparks images of an action flick featuring a leading man with a terribly thick Austrian accent. But if you’re planning on ordering Wendy’s newest blockbuster, think again. I can picture it now: A seatbelt-straining drive-thru customer grabs his grease-stained bag of beef, bacon and fried potatoes, and before driving off to feast upon his Baconator, he shouts to the drive-up window jockey, “I’ll be bawk…for my defibrillator paddles!” Then, just before he zooms out of earshot, the server leans out of her window and yells back at him: “Hasta la vista, flabby!” OK, so it’s poor scriptwriting. But it’s also poor dining to indulge in this Wendy’s double cheeseburger on steroids. The Baconator boasts two beef patties, two slices of cheese and SIX slices of bacon! Do yourself a favor and terminate your urge to order this beast of a burger. The nutritional numbers for the 10-ounce Baconator: 830 calories, 51g of fat (22g saturated, 2.5g trans fat), 170mg of cholesterol, 1,920mg of sodium, 35g of carbs, and 57g of protein.
10. Denny’s Extreme Grand Slam
Ads for Denny’s Grand Slam breakfasts used to feature the tagline, “$2.99…Are you out of your mind?!” Now that the restaurant chain has launched ads for its new Extreme Grand Slam—a breakfast platter piled high with three strips of bacon, three sausage links, two eggs, hash browns and three pancakes—they might want to change it to, “You’re ordering a Denny’s Extreme Grand Slam…Are you out of your freakin’ mind?!” The Denny’s Website urges customers to “fall in love with breakfast all over again.” It then offers up its latest line of “Breakfast Cravers” platters—dishes packed with the artery-clogging goodness of not-so-lean meats. Cases in point: The Meat Craver’s Breakfast and the Steak and Cheese Omelette. The nutritional numbers for the 21-ounce Extreme Grand Slam: 1,160 calories, 64g of fat (17g of saturated fat), 560mg of cholesterol, 3,750mg of sodium, 102g of carbs, 4g of fiber, and 45g of protein.
How did you do? My one piece of advice, based on the foods above, is that if you have the Starbucks Double Chocolate Frapp on December 31st, don't have the Skinny Sugar Free 90 Calorie Mocha to start your resolution on January 1st. It will taste like liquid cardboard. Not that I know for sure - I'm just sayin'. Wait until the taste of the real thing is but a distant memory, then wait another two weeks or so, and see if the s/f mocha hits the spot.
Here's to a healthier 2008!