Summer officially starts today, and so does hamburger season. From In-N-Out’s quadruple cheeseburger to the Wendy’s Baconator Triple to the Hardee’s Monster, VIEW OUR GALLERY of caloric A-bombs. Plus: 40 Burgers that Can Kill You.
American chain and fast-food restaurants are engaged in an arms race. Their weaponry: the no-longer-so-simple all-American hamburger, complete with names to suit, from the “flamethrower” to the “tangler” to the “monster.” Not content with single patties, doubles have given way to “triples” and “four-by-fours.” Rather than a mere slice of cheese, these burgers now come topped with eggs, blooming onions, jalapenos or enough bacon to cover a fireman’s breakfast.
In order to bring some order to the burger wars—and as a service to your heart—The Daily Beast studied roughly 100 hamburgers at the nation’s largest sit-down and fast-food restaurant chains in order to determine America’s deadliest burgers.
Click Here for Our Ranking of the 40 Deadliest Burgers
We measured all burgers across the four categories available for each eatery: calories, saturated fat, sodium, and carbohydrates. Each burger was ranked within each nutritional category, then the ranking each burger received for each nutritional category was totaled to determine the final ranking. Ties were broken by saturated fat content.
These burgers (and burger-based concoctions) don't kill with carbs—that’s for the dessert portion of your meal. And while nearly all the burgers on this list have more than half of a human’s daily recommended calories—expected from pieces of meat piled with cheese and mayonnaise—it’s the sodium count where these meaty sandwiches really outpace every other part of the American meal. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily, and all but two burgers here exceed that recommendation by a good margin.
“The overconsumption of sodium is a leading culprit in fueling high blood pressure, which is a primary risk factor for heart disease and stroke,” according to AHA CEO Nancy Brown.
Chain restaurants, for the most part, offer higher-sodium and higher-calorie burgers than fast-food joints. So while the Wendy’s Baconator Triple may be the least healthful fast-food meal, it drops on this burger-only list once the offerings of chains like Applebee’s and Perkins are included. Perkins, in fact, has four burgers in the top 10, while the venerable Big Mac—complete with two all-beef patties, cheese, and special sauce—ranks as a relative health-food meal.
Indulging in the Perkins Sunrise Burger, topped with an egg, bacon, hash browns, and sour cream, won’t do much harm. But keep eating them, and they could prove deadly. Which ones are the true ticking time bombs? View our rogues' gallery here.
Research by Clark Merrefield