Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

The 88 Worst Fast Food Items

The “a Calorie Counter” site came up with this catchy and interesting analysis of the worst fast food joints as determined by the worst trans fat offenders (hat tip to Big Picture). As the post states – “The absolute worst ingredient your food could possibly contain is trans fat. Maybe you’ve heard of it? ” The top offenders, ranked by the numbers of times they appeared in the top 88, were:

  • Jack in the Box: 24 times
  • Burger King: 16 times
  • White Castle: 16 times
  • A&W: 10 times
  • Dairy Queen: 8 times

For the exact listing of specific meals and fast food chains check out “a Calorie Counter” here.

Currently, everyone knows that the US is the leading fast food market in the world as you can see in the below graphic from WorldMapper (via Creative Class). The scary thing about this picture is that it is apparently sourced from a McDonald’s campaign absurdly and insultingly called “One World – One Taste“, which begs the question of whether some fast food chains are engaging in a type of food genocide. The fact that the US is the largest market, only means that so called emerging markets represent a largely untapped source of growth for various chains. The growth will be explosive, India alone is witnessing 40% growth in this area (via Siliconeer, search for “fast food” on this page).


We did a previous post on obesity in developing countries that you can see for more sources along with the WHO page on this issue… For additional fast food facts you can check out the Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, here are some select ones:

  • Two-thirds of all cardiovascular deaths occur in developing countries.
  • Approximately 20,000 new food and beverage products are introduced into the market each year.
  • In some parts of Africa, overweight children outnumber malnourished children three to one.
  • Of America’s 15 top-rated hospitals, 6 have fast food franchises in the lobby.

Written by Aman

October 29, 2007 at 7:03 am

4 Responses

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  1. […] The 88 Worst Fast Food Items, link […]

  2. Fast food, is exactly that, Fast.
    The only really healthy way to eat is to prepare it yourself.
    So you know what goes into it.

    Lately we are seeing a HUGE growth in the SLOW food movement, which is all about taking the time to enjoy REAL food

    Philip Kustner

    April 15, 2008 at 9:59 pm

  3. Hey Cat – that’s a tough question that I don’t really have a good comment for. As you know it’s much easier and cheaper to cut corners which usually results in unhealthy choices. The economic incentives are not there and the education is not there. This is going to be a huge problem now that developing regions are facing the “double disease burden”. One thing I think you have hit on is to provide alternatives like Subway, etc.

    The other approach is to keep up the pressure – which at the least provides a small band aid:

    Understandably some will argue that the low fat choices offered by fast food chains are actually not healthy and in fact more dangerous because the customer has a false sense of security:


    October 29, 2007 at 8:31 pm

  4. One question this raises for me is why is it so difficult to do healthy fast food and do it well. Also, what do companies offering healthier alternatives like Subway need to do to capture more of the market share?

    Cat Laine

    October 29, 2007 at 12:05 pm

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