The Worst Burgers in America

BurgerTwo pieces of bread. That's the bedrock of every hamburger on the planet. Here's the caveat: With the power to create comes the power to inflate. In fact, the average cheeseburger has ballooned from 333 to 600 calories in the last 20 years. (Learn this and other cool secrets by following me right here on Twitter.)

Some burgers even top out at 2000 calories. For this there's no greater evidence than the greasy bread-boats being served at our most popular burger shops. Sure, there are decent options out there, but more often than not the junk that comes stuffed between the buns is enough to turn Jessica Simpson into Homer Simpson. Like these five burgers listed below. They're gut bombs in the worst way. Luckily, Eat This, Not That! discovered healthier alternatives for each of them.

And remember: There are just as many nutritional minefields at your local supermarket, so arm yourself with this list of The Best Supermarket Foods of 2010!

Burger King NY Pizza Burger
2,530 calories
144 g fat (59 g saturated, 3.5 g trans)
3,780 mg sodium
CALORIE EQUIVALENT: 7.2 medium orders of McDonald’s French Fries

bk pizza burgerBurger King has recently opened what it's calling “Whopper Bars” in select cities around the world. The Whopper Bar lets you create your own Whoppers, and offers specialty Whoppers that aren’t served at regular BK locations. This astonishingly awful NY Pizza Burger is one of them. It's exactly what it sounds like—a pizza with burger and bacon and bun on top.

If you eat the entire thing, you’ll consume more calories than you should eat in an entire day, and a day and a half’s worth of sodium—not to mention the amount of saturated fat you would find in 59 strips of bacon. To be fair, BK says it feeds six people. But how often do you swing by fast food restaurants with five of your closest friends?  Try the regular Whopper without mayo instead. Or, better yet, cook this amazing 340-calorie burger at home in the time it'd take you to get to the BK drivethru.

Eat This Instead!
Whopper without mayo
510 calories
22 g fat (9 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
830 mg sodium

Ruby Tuesday Smokehouse Burger
1,219 calories
73 g fat
2,539 mg sodium
SODIUM EQUIVALENT: 94 Ritz Crackers

smokehouse burgerHere’s a general rule when picking burgers: The bacon cheddar cheeseburger is never going to be the healthy choice, especially when it’s a large and juicy patty like they serve at Ruby Tuesday. You’re just adding too many high-calorie toppings to an already high-calorie glob of beef. Choose the sirloin steak instead to cut more than half the calories, but none of the deliciousness.

Oh, and if you think 2,500 grams of sodium is bad, wait until you see this list of the saltiest foods in America—and the dish that clocks in at more than 10,000 grams of sodium! (That means getting more than an entire week's worth of salt--in one sitting.)

Eat This Instead!
Cowboy Sirloin
569 calories
29 g fat
1,633 mg sodium 

Uno Chicago Grill Bring Home the Bacon Burger
1,040 calories
76 g fat (30 g saturated, 2 g trans)
2,200 mg sodium
SATURATED FAT EQUIVALENT: 12 White Castle Burgers

uno bring home the bacon burgerUno Chicago Grill is known for deep dish pizza—an obvious nutritional minefield. But the burgers are just as dangerous, as evidenced here by this bacon burger that comes with half a day’s worth of calories, a whole day’s worth of sodium, and the saturated fat equivalent of 12 White Castle Burgers. Once again, the sirloin is the best beefy choice. 

Eat This Instead!
Brewmasters Grill NY Sirloin
520 calories
14 g fat (5 g saturated)
1,580 mg sodium

Cheesecake Factory The Classic Burger
1,440 calories
28 g saturated fat
1,635 mg sodium
CALORIE EQUIVALENT: 7 Original Glazed Doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts

cheesecake burgerIt’s called the Classic, but it’s anything but. The Cheesecake Factory website describes this dish as “A Gigantic Chop House Hamburger.” That doesn’t sound particularly good for you, now does it? Cheesecake Factory’s menu is littered with some of the most gut-busting items out of all chain restaurants across America. But the good news is that they also serve the very best sit-down burger in America: The Factory Burger, which keeps a lid on the calories, fat, and sodium.

Bonus Tip: Want more stories like this delivered to your inbox each day? You can–for free! Sign up for the Eat This, Not That! newsletter. 

Eat This Instead!
The Factory Burger
730 calories
15 g saturated fat
1,016 mg sodium

jack daniels burgerT.G.I. Friday’s Jack Daniel’s Burger
1,590 calories
CALORIE EQUIVALENT: 30 Oreo cookies

T.G.I. Friday’s is one of the last restaurants that still doesn’t reveal full nutritional information. Based on the limited calorie data we’ve seen, we can only imagine that the rest of the dish—the fat, the sodium—must be astronomically bad for you. The Jack Daniel’s burger suffers from a heavy sauce and giant proportions. Switch, once again, to the classic sirloin. It’s a healthier cut of meat, and it’ll cut nearly two-thirds of the calories from the dish.

Eat This Instead!
Classic Sirloin
570 calories

For a list of other foods you should avoid at all costs, check out our shocking list of The NEW 20 Worst Foods in America.

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