From oat milk and kombucha juice, to La Croix and avocado toast (which is not that healthy, by the way), foods and drinks with more nutrition are trending right now–as is our focus on what we’re eating in general. Whether it’s something we eat/drink just to post to the Gram or it’s a genuine pursuit of better health, more and more food products are surfacing that specifically aim to improve our health.
On the other hand, our favorites are still out there, and not only that, they may be beckoning more than ever as easy take-out while bunking down in quarantine. Plant based-pretend-chicken on sprouted grain toast is never going to measure up in satisfaction to a Kick’n Chicken Sandwich from Zaxby’s. To see if our healthy hipsters have a point, let’s play devil’s advocate and see how bad the food we love really is for us.
1. Panda Express’s Orange Chicken with Fried Rice Plate
1,365 calories, 57g fat, 1,960 mg sodium
What 57 Grams of fat looks like (five plain glazed donuts=55 g fat)
And as many calories as 2.5 Big Macs
Activity Needed to Burn 1,365 calories:
3.4 Hours of Cycling 2.3 Hours of Running
2. All Star Special at Waffle House
Includes two eggs, hash browns or grits, bacon or sausage, toast, wheat, or raisin, and a waffle or biscuit [Yelp].
1,186 calories, 74 grams of fat, 2650mg sodium
What 74g of fat looks like (4.1 filet mignons)
1,186 calories=2.11 Big Macs
Activity Needed to Burn 1,365 calories:
3 hours of cycling or 2 hours of running
3. Chili’s Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers
Note: because this is on the 2 for $25 menu, we know you’re going to get an order of chips and guac/salsa (2,350 mg, 1,140 calories per serving) and skillet cookie with ice cream (116 grams of sugar or 28.12 teaspoons, 1420 calories).
1,960 Calories, 108g fat, 4,780 mg sodium not counting appetizer or dessert.
This is the fat equivalent of eating 24, Strawberry Pop-Tarts
1650 Calories= 3.5 Big Macs
Activity Needed to Burn Off This Meal
This requires 104 minutes of swimming, 4.2 hours of cycling, 2.8 hours of running
4. Zaxby’s Chicken Finger Plate
1240-2000 cal, 2760 mg sodium, 70g fat
This is what 70g of fat looks like (six Snickers at 11g of fat each):
1240 calories= 2.2 Big Macs
Activity needed to burn off this meal
Almost 2 hours of swimming, 1.5 hours of biking, 2.4 hours of jogging, or nearly 6 hours of walking.
5. Chic-Fil-A the #1 Combo (not including drink)
440 cal, 17g fat, 41 g carbs, 29g protein for the sandwich. Calories: 279, Fat: 15.9g, Carbs: 32.5g, Protein: 3.3g for the fries. 33g fat total
This is going to depress us all, but this is what 33g of fat looks like.
33g of fat=22 Bowls of Life Cereal
719 Calories= 1.3 Big Macs
Exercise required to burn off this meal
This meal would require 2.2 hours of cleaning 55 minutes of cycling and 36 minutes of running
6. Taco Bell $5 Box
This is what 63g of fat looks like
An all-beef hot dog is only 6g of fat. You could eat 10.5 of them.
1,270 calories= 2.3 Big Macs
Activity required to work it off
This meal requires 3.2 hours of cycling and 2.1 hours of running
7. Moe’s Burrito with Chips and Salsa
If you get the “Joey Bag of Donuts”
950 calories, 78g carbs, 47g of fat, 2421mg sodium
Serving of chips that comes with the meal: 360 calories, 19g fat, 44g of carbs, and 180mg sodium.
This is what 66g fat looks like (13.2 eggs)
1,310 calories= 2.3 Big Macs
Activity required to burn off this meal
Over three hours of cycling, 2 hours of running,
8. Cheeseburger Bobby’s Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries
1250 Calories, 80g carbs, 75g fat, 1000g sodium
What 75g of fat looks like (10.2, 8oz grilled chicken breast)
1250 calories= 2.2 Big Macs
Activity needed to work off this meal:
3.2 hours of cycling, 2.1 hours of running
9. Papa Johns Cheesy Bread
One serving is four sticks, so don’t think we’re talking about eating this whole pizza box. 370 calories, 41g carbs, 16g of fat, and 1440mg sodium
What your 4, JUST FOUR, cheese sticks looks like in fat (40 Greek Yogurts at 0.4g fat each)
Activity needed for this “side”
56 minutes of cycling, 37 minutes of running
10. Wendy’s Baconator Meal
1630 calories, 160g carbs, 84g fat, 2,540mg sodium
What 84g fat looks like (10.5 servings of Takis. Serving=14 pieces)
1630 calories= almost 3 Big Macs
Activity required to work off this meal
4 hours of cycling and 2.7 hours of running
Although slightly depressing, the intention of this article is to demonstrate how fat compares to fat, and calories to calories, though the comparisons are not quite legitimate until both calories, fat, and other factors can be compared equally between comparable food types. For example, it would be fair to compare a grilled chicken breast to a hamburger, but unfair to wager how many tomatoes is equivalent in fat to the Baconator, since there is protein and other factors to consider in comparison as well.
The goal of this article, however, is to demonstrate how easy it is to consume empty calories and fat, which can be problematic, and now more than ever, is a time to keep our health in shape.