When one of America’s most recognizable and popular fast-food restaurants swaps french fries for fruit, can sweeping reform be far behind?
Well, yes. Despite obesity-epidemic-driven pressure from Michelle Obama and health-advocacy groups, chain-restaurant menu overhauls are far from mainstream. In fact, while Mickey D’s was rolling out a kids' meal with 20 percent fewer calories this summer, Sonic introduced a 1,520-calorie, double-patty Blazin’ BBQ Hamburger. Applebee’s, a restaurant that offers a menu section devoted to Weight Watchers–endorsed entrees, launched a new menu item—Provolone Stuffed Meatballs—that is stuffed with more than a day’s worth of saturated fat and sodium. And California Pizza Kitchen supplanted its pizza and pasta offerings to include a Mac 'n' Cheese choice with as many carbs as two bagels.
To rank the most fattening of the new crop of fast-food and chain restaurants, we considered new or limited-time entrees that are currently being promoted. Breakfast entrees were considered if they are available all day. They were ranked based on calories, saturated fat, sodium, and carbohydrates, then ranks were totaled to determine the final ranking. Ties were broken by calorie content.