There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having an occasional fast food blow-out. Some would even argue that it’s good for the soul. However, there are some menu items that are definitely best avoided; especially if you’re trying to lose weight. With that in mind, here are the unhealthiest products from each of Australia’s major fast food chains. (You may be surprised to learn that Subway “beat” McDonald’s.)
[Note: To keep things on an even playing field, we limited our selection to individual food items — ordering a boxed/combo meal will obviously change the overall kilojoule count. We’ve also stuck to permanent menu items.]
McDonald’s: Double Quarter Pounder (3570kJ)
Double the fun? Double the heart disease risk, more like. The Double Quarter Pounder packs in 3570 kilojoules of energy which makes it the most indulgent burger on the menu by a wide margin. (By contrast, the Big Mac has 2060kJ.) It also contains 53.3g of fat, 34.2g of carbs, 7g of sugars and 1350mg of sodium. That’s a lot badness in one burger.
Dishonourable mentions: Also topping the scales at more than 2500kJ are the South West Crispy Chicken Burger (2780kJ), Crispy Chicken Deluxe (2640kJ), McDonald’s Hot Cakes (2760kJ) and Mighty Angus (2790kJ).
Hungry Jack’s: Ultimate Double Whopper (4773kJ)
Most people realise that Hungry Jack’s burgers are greasier than McDonald’s but the difference is still surprising. The Ultimate Double Whopper contains a gargantuan 4773 kilojoules of energy: that’s 1983kJ more than a Mighty Angus Burger! This tasty coronary-clogger also packs in 75g of fat, 53g of carbs, 11.1g of sugars and 1862mg of sodium. Order it when you’re on death row: otherwise, go for a less lethal option.
Dishonourable mentions: Other dangerously indulgent burgers on Hungry Jack’s menu include the Double Whopper With Cheese (4193kJ), the Double Whopper (3933kJ) and Angry Whopper (3696kJ). Interestingly, Hungry Jack’s chicken burger range is more restrained than McDonald’s — the worst offender (Chicken Peri Peri) “only” has 2445kJ.
KFC: Zinger Stacker Burger (2993kJ)
KFC has a reputation for being one of Australia’s unhealthiest fast food choices — but the individual menu items actually aren’t that bad (comparatively speaking, of course.) In terms of kilojoule count, the worst thing on the menu is the Zinger Stacker Burger which contains 2993kJ. This breaks down to 36.7g of fat, 55.1g carbohydrates, 12.4g of sugars and 2257mg of sodium.
Dishonourable mentions: Other menu items above 2000kJ include the Spicy Hot Twister (2253kJ), Kentucky Burger (2603kJ), BLT Twister (2220kJ) and Double Crunch Burger (2118kJkJ). It’s also worth noting that KFC’s boxed meals are significantly worse than the competition: for example, the 5 Star Box (one piece of Original Recipe chicken, one grilled wrap, three Wicked Wings, one snack-size Popcorn chicken, one regular chips, one regular potato & gravy and a soft drink) contains over 7000kJ. No really.
Pizza Hut: Loaded Pepperoni (8629kJ)
Surprise, surprise: Pizza Hut’s tastiest pizza is also the worst for you. The Loaded Pepperoni weighs in at 8629 kilojoules which exceeds most adult’s daily recommended energy intake. To be fair, this pizza is designed to be shared rather than eaten by a single person. Nevertheless, at 1079kJ per slice it’s still a hefty meal. Pizza Hut doesn’t provide nutritional information other than kilojoules, but it’s safe to say that the fat and sodium content of this pizza is off the charts.
Dishonourable mentions: Other Pizza Hut offerings that are best avoided include the BBQ Cheeseburger (7176kJ), Roast & Rasher (7050kJ) and BBQ Meatlovers (7056kJ).
Domino’s Pizza: Double Bacon Cheeseburger (6032kJ)
I never would have thought that Domino’s was less fatty than Pizza Hut, but there you have it. The Double Bacon Cheeseburger contains 6032kJ. This works out to around 750kJ per serve.
Dishonourable mentions: Peri-Peri Beef (5912kJ), BBQ Meatlovers (5672kJ), Peri Peri Chicken (5536kJ) and BBQ Chicken & Rasher Bacon (5568kJ).
Subway: Chicken Parmigiana 12-inch Sub (3940kJ)
Subway’s catch-cry is to “eat fresh” but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be eating healthy. The product with the highest energy content on Subway’s menu is the Chicken Parmigiana 12-inch sub. This packs in a worrying 3640 kilojoules of energy, plus 28.8g of fat, 99.6g worth of cabs, 14.6g of sugars and 1810mg of sodium — and that’s before you add extra sauce or cheese. We’re guessing Jared from the Subway adverts steered clear of this particular menu item.
Dishonourable mentions: Other 12-inch subs best avoided include the Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt (3640kJ), Chicken Schnitzel (3320kJ), Meatball Marinara (3460kJ) and — surprisingly — the Veggie Petty (3580kJ).