09.22.10

America's Deadliest French Fries

The official American side dish sometimes masquerades as a heart attack on a plate. From a 2,100-calorie plate at Chili’s to Smokey Bones’ sodium-packed “Fire Stix,” The Daily Beast ranks the 30 unhealthiest French fry offerings.

French fries aren’t the healthiest snack, but it isn’t a stretch to venture that they’re the most popular side item served at restaurant chains in the United States—a thick, juicy cheeseburger isn’t the same without a nice side of hot fries.

Gallery: Most Dangerous Fries

While sales of French fries have fallen throughout the decade, Americans still eat roughly 2 billion servings of fries each year. That’s an awful lot of saturated fat and salt. French fries will never be found in the health food aisle, and French fry consumption has been linked to increased rates of Type-2 diabetes in middle-aged women with no history of chronic illness.

Yet while all fries may pose health risks if consumed in excess, not all fries are created equal. To find America’s unhealthiest fries, The Daily Beast measured data on French fry dishes from 36 popular restaurant chains across the four categories available for each eatery: calories, saturated fat, sodium, and carbohydrates. Each plate of fries was ranked within each nutritional category, then the ranking each French fry dish received for each nutritional category was totaled to determine the final ranking. Ties were broken by calorie content, and each eatery was limited to three appearances.

And for those who are curious, we did measure the benchmark of fried potatoes, McDonald’s large fries, and they came in well under the top 30.

Plus: Check out Hungry Beast, for more news on the latest restaurants, hot chefs, and tasty recipes.