You can’t fight it—there are some days when you just need a greasy fast-food burger and a side of fries. Sure, you can make it at home or go out to a dine-in restaurant, but sometimes the best option is pulling into the drive-thru at your favorite fast-food restaurant. You can find a burger at almost every fast-food chain (except Chick-fil-A, of course), with options varying from something small like a standard McDonald’s Cheeseburger to something much larger like one of Wendy’s Triple Cheeseburgers. But if you’re going to go toward one of the larger fast-food burgers, you’ll find that there are tons of options well over 1,000 calories—some that have a caloric count close to an entire day’s worth!
Even though the numbers are high on many fast-food burgers, it doesn’t mean that you should avoid them forever if it’s a food you enjoy. However, dietitians warn of what may happen if these sandwiches (or other heavily caloric fast-food items) are consumed on a regular basis.
“Fast-food burgers and high-calorie foods often provide quick satisfaction to our taste buds, but they may not align with our long-term health goals,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements. “These choices tend to be rich in calories, saturated fats, and sodium, which, when consumed regularly, can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, and other health issues.”
The same can be said specifically for these high-calorie fast-food burgers. When you’re choosing which one to eat, go ahead and splurge on what you want, but you can also keep balance in mind when it comes to some of the dietary decisions you make the rest of the day.
“While indulging in a high-calorie burger occasionally can be a delightful treat, it’s important to recognize that these foods are often low in essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals,” says Best, “so prioritizing a balanced diet with a variety of wholesome foods is key to nourishing our bodies and maintaining overall health.”
Read on to see which fast-food burgers contain over 1,000 calories, ranked in order from lowest to highest calorie count. Then for more fast-food tips, check out the 8 Healthiest Fast-Food Chicken Sandwiches, According to an RD.
Per burger: 1,060 calories, 62 g fat (30 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,310 mg sodium, 40 g carbs, 51 g protein
Five Guys is known for menu items like their juicy burgers and brown bags full of greasy fries, and the most calorie-dense item available is their Bacon Cheeseburger, coming in at 1,060 calories.
Aside from being over 1,000 calories, it also contains 30 grams of saturated fat, which is over twice as much as the recommended limit for your entire day.
Eat This Instead: Many of Five Guys’ burgers are high in calories, but if you’re craving a cheeseburger, try their Little Cheeseburger, which only has 610 calories, as opposed to 1,060.
PER BURGER: 1,060 calories, 56 g fat (24 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 2,080 mg sodium, 81 g carbs (0 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 58 g protein
With two beef patties piled on top of a bun alongside bacon, American cheese, fried onion rings, and BBQ sauce, it’s easy to see how the Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger can bring your calorie count up past 1,000. If you’re going to go for this one, you could always skip the fries and soda to avoid making it even higher.
Per burger: 1,070 calories, 63 g fat (21 saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat), 1,720 mg sodium, 62 g carbs (4 g fiber, 0 g sugar) 47 g protein
A rule of thumb for choosing lower-calorie burgers is to skip over the options with “double” and “triple” in the name, because as you can guess, the more patties and cheese, the more calories! And not only do your calories increase, but you’ll more likely see more saturated fat and trans fat, as well as higher sodium levels. The Triple Meat Whataburger is a great example of this, as it’s packed with over 1,000 calories, 21 grams of saturated fat, 2.5 grams of trans fat, and 1,720 milligrams of sodium.
Per burger: 1,130 calories, 75 g fat (22 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 2,020 mg sodium, 54 g carbs (2 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 57 g protein
Inching its way up to 1,130 calories, the Sonic Bacon Double Cheeseburger is exactly what it sounds like—two beef patties, two slices of cheese, and bacon strips all on top of a hamburger bun. Aside from the high calorie count, this fast-food burger is also loaded with over 2,000 milligrams of sodium, a number far too close to the daily limit of 2,300 milligrams recommended by the FDA.
Eat This Instead: If a Sonic burger is what you’re craving but you want to cut down on calories a bit, order their regular Sonic Cheeseburger, which will give you 710 calories instead of the 1,130.
Per burger: 1,160 calories, 81 g fat (34 g saturated fat, 4.5 g trans fat), 1,570 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 70 g protein
Triple the beef and triple the cheese equals a whole lot of calories, fat, and sodium in the Dave’s Triple from Wendy’s. In addition to the 1,160 calories, another concerning aspect of this gargantuan burger is the 4.5 grams of trans fat. According to the World Health Organization, we should aim to eat as little trans fat as possible, with their recommended max being 2.2 grams per day. This one burger would almost double that recommendation, and that’s before you’ve had even one French fry!
PER BURGER: 1,170 calories, 81 g fat (27.1 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 1,300.3 mg sodium, 56 g carbs (3.2 g fiber, 13.5 g sugar), 72.5 g protein
Again with another triple meat burger, the Burger King Triple Whopper comes in at 1,170 calories, as well as 27 grams of saturated fat and 1,300 milligrams of sodium.
Eat This Instead: If you’re craving a BK Whopper, you’re much better off just getting the single patty original, which nearly cuts your calories and fat content in half.
Per burger: 1,200 calories, 81 g fat (32 g saturated fat, 1.8 g trans fat), 2,270 mg sodium, 58 g carbs (2.9 g fiber, 15.6 g sugar) 66.4 g protein
This Bacon King from BK is only a double patty burger, but it still has more calories than the Burger King Triple Whopper. With two beef patties, two slices of cheese, bacon, mayo, and ketchup, how could it not?
Eat This Instead: Still want something with bacon but don’t want to eat close to a day’s worth of calories in one sitting? Try the Burger King Bacon Cheeseburger, which instead has 424 calories.
PER BURGER: 1,220 calories, 86 g fat (36 g saturated fat), 1,770 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 75 g protein
As you can see by now, Wendy’s has their fair share of high-calorie fast-food burgers, and their Big Bacon Classic Triple is not only one of the most calorie-dense on their menu but is higher than those at most other chains as well. You’ll get triple the beef in this burger, but you’ll also get triple the daily recommended limit of saturated fat with 36 grams.
Per burger: 1,340 calories, 105 g fat (35 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 2,500 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 54 g protein
The second-highest calorie-loaded burger on the list is the Smoky BBQ Triple Big Buford from Checker’s and Rally’s. Three beef patties, three slices of cheese, and a ton of bacon—this burger will bring you up to 1,340 calories without any side or fountain drink. Not to mention the fact that it has a shocking 2,500 milligrams of sodium, which is 200 milligrams more than an entire day’s worth.
Eat This Instead: For another option at Checker’s and Rally’s, stick to their original Big Buford, which still has two beef patties but keeps your calories at 660 instead.
Per burger: 1,530 calories, 107 g fat (44 g saturated fat, 5 g trans fat), 1,890 mg sodium, 53 g carbs, (3 g fiber, 12 g sugar) 89 g protein
Coming in as the highest-calorie fast-food burger on the list is the new Loaded Nacho Triple Cheeseburger from Wendy’s. This sandwich features three patties, three slices of cheese, poblano queso, crispy tortilla strips, a spicy chipotle sauce, and a cheesy jalapeño bun—all of which adds up to over 1,500 calories in just one sandwich.
Eat This Instead: If these are the flavor combos you’re looking for, cut your calories in half by ordering the Loaded Nacho Single Cheeseburger instead.