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The 10 Worst Foods of the Year

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If 2009 was the year of cutting back, 2010 was the year of adding on, at least when it came to food. The year's top catch phrase: More cheese, please!

On menus from Taco Bell to the Cheesecake Factory, cheese was piled on, in several varieties. Melted, fried, sandwiched, stuffed and slathered on anything and everything, it's safe to say that, if you're eating these foods, you're meeting your dairy quota.

We've rounded up the worst new foods of the year and compiled some fun fitness facts to help put these caloric monstrosities in perspective!

McDonald's McRib

500 calories
26 g fat
10 g saturated fat
980 mg sodium

They say: "Join the club. The club who loves the flavorful pork and tangy barbeque sauce of our favorite sandwich. We’re a discriminating group who don’t mind getting sticky."

We say: It's baaaacccckkk (or at least it was)! After a 16-year hiatus, the much-loved pork patty made its grand return to menu. Thank goodness it was only for a brief time. Our bellies are cheering its departure!

The damage: To undo one McRib, you* would have to spend 148 minutes McJumping around, professing your love for this processed pork sandwich!

KFC Double Down

540 calories
32 g fat
10 g saturated fat
1,380 mg sodium

They say: "The new KFC Double Down sandwich is real! This one-of-a-kind sandwich features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe or Grilled), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel's Sauce. This product is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun!"

We say: "The Double Down comes in two versions – Original Recipe or Grilled and the nutrition information is below."

We call this the double don't. The low-carb trend is passé, so why ditch the bun for two chicken breasts? This seems like something that a child might create if left alone in the kitchen. We double dare you not to try it!

The damage: 90 minutes of the Chicken Dance to undo one Double Down.

Taco Bell's XXL Chalupa

650 calories
39 g fat
9 g saturated fat
1,300 mg sodium

They say: "An XXL-sized crispy Chalupa shell packed with seasoned ground beef, crispy lettuce, fiesta salsa, a blend of three cheeses–cheddar, pepper jack and mozzarella–and nacho cheese sauce, red strips and topped with reduced-fat sour cream."

We say: After reading the description of this oversized, deep-fried taco creation, we laughed. It's topped with "reduced-fat sour cream." Does anyone else find that last-ditch effort to save calories and fat humorous?

The damage: a run from Nestor in San Diego to the actual border (about 6.5 miles at a 10-minute mile pace)!


Cheesecake Factory Cheese Crunch Burger

1,000+ estimated calories

They say: "American and Cheddar Cheese, Crunchy Potato Crisps, Lettuce, Tomato, Grilled Onions, Pickles and Secret Sauce."

We say: The Cheesecake Factory's menu is thicker than many novels, and the restaurant does not disclose nutrition info. Portions are massive. Burgers are called "glamburgers" there, but the menu doesn't offer much info--and the sauce is a secret. Sometimes silence speaks louder than words.

The damage: 220 minutes of belly dancing to keep this off your gut!

IHOP Cinna-Stack Pancakes

1,010 calories
51 g fat
15 g saturated fat
1,920 mg sodium
35 g sugar

They say: "A stack of four fluffy buttermilk pancakes layered with a luscious cinnamon roll filling, drizzled with rich cream cheese icing and topped with whipped topping."

We say: The emphasis on "cake" with these pancakes--they're sweet enough to make Willy Wonka cringe! (There's about 2 1/2 tablespoons!) Plus, there's more than a tablespoon of salt! That's without any added breakfast meat, which can add on up to 180 calories, 16 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, and 290 mg sodium. This meal will leave your head spinning from the sugar high!

The damage: burn off your sugar high by IHOP-ping for 85 minutes.

Olive Garden Lasagna Fritta

1,030 calories
63 g fat
21 g saturated fat
1,590 mg sodium

They say: "Parmesan-breaded lasagna pieces, fried and served over alfredo sauce, topped with parmesan cheese and marinara sauce."

We say: Fritta means fried. Lasagna is an already decadent dish, with layers of cheese, noodles and sauce. Now it's coated in more cheese, fried and smothered in Alfredo sauce. How much more can we do to this lasagna? (This is an appetizer, by the way!)

The damage: 333 minutes of tending to your own garden!

Denny's Fried Cheese Melt Sandwich

1,260 calories
63 g fat
21 g saturated fat
3,010 mg sodium

They say: "Grilled cheese with a twist. Four fried mozzarella sticks and melted American cheese grilled between two slices of sourdough bread. Served with wavy-cut French fries and a side of marinara sauce."

We say: "The Fried Cheese Melt Sandwich is on the $4 value menu, but we don't see much nutritional value in it. There's not a vegetable in sight aside from French fries and a side of marinara sauce, and it has more sodium and saturated fat than we should eat in a day."

The damage: Get comfortable on the treadmill. You could be there for 6 1/2 hours! (Bet you wish you'd skipped the French fries now!)

Burger King Ultimate Breakfast Platter

1,310 calories
72 g fat
26 g saturated fat
2,490 mg sodium

They say: "The BK Ultimate Breakfast Platter lives up to its name with scrambled eggs, crispy hash browns, sizzling sausage, a warm, flaky biscuit, and three fluffy pancakes with syrup. Anything less, and it wouldn't deserve to be called the 'ultimate.' "

We say: Good rule of thumb: Platters are for serving food to many people, not for one person to use as a plate. While this meal has all your breakfast cravings covered: sweet, salty, meaty, crispy, and fluffy, it also has enough calories to sustain someone for a day. It also has more than a day's worth of salt and saturated fat.

The damage: You'll need to work an entire 8-hour shift at a busy restaurant serving up breakfast platters to burn this off!

Friendly's Grilled Cheese Burger Melt

1,500 calories
79 g fat
38g saturated fat
2,090 mg sodium

They say: "A Big Beef burger between two hot grilled cheese sandwiches, with lettuce, tomato and mayo. Tasting is believing."

We say: A real triple threat… to your arteries! Essentially this is three sandwiches in one. And it's served with fries, which add 330 calories, 14 g fat, 160 mg sodium.

The damage: Get friendly with the elliptical. You'll spend almost three hours on it!

Applebee’s Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs with Fettuccine

1,580 calories
98 g fat
46 g saturated fat
3,940 mg sodium

They say: Nothing. The name and photo says it all for this grand prize "winner."

We say: This dish is on the 2 for $20 menu, which gets you one appetizer and two entrees for $20. All of the appetizers have at least one fried component, so you can add on another couple hundred calories to this meal. There's nothing green on the plate, but you'll get two days' worth of saturated fat, plus a day and a half's worth of salt. Some value!

The damage: You and your dining companion should hit the courts after dinner if you can move. You'll be playing tennis for four hours!

When you're away from home, it's not impossible to make healthy choices and still indulge yourself. Check out our Dining Out Guide, along with the blog series Food on the Run and Diet Friendly Dining.

Have you tried any of these foods? What did you think? Would you try any of them?

* calories burned based on a 5'4" woman who weighs 140 pounds

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I see lots of visceral reactions to the article. I love brownies and chocolate cake, but I don't devour them each day. It all comes down to personal choices. Smoking, alcohol or triple-cheese bacony-donut-topped burgers w/sausage gravy (yes, imagining a food someone will invent)...can you really say any of them are (absolutely) healthy on a regular basis? Thank Heaven, I learned to make salads and vegetable dishes I enjoy. God bless each of you :) Report
Heh. I did try the Double-Down. "Ick" is the only comment I have for it. I am actually surprised to hear it's just 540 calories - I had thought it would be more. A regular KFC Big Crunch sandwich is 610 calories! Hmmmm. Report
Talk about gross! Just looking at all those calories alone makes me cringe. I think it was said best for the KFC Double Down, that it looks like something a child would come up with. In fact, the same could be said about a few of these. Most of them I haven't heard of, though some of them I have (and shook my head in disgust to), but I probably would never try any of these. Report
i NEVER want to put any of those things in my mouth. especially that grossness from denny's - the fried cheese melt sandwich....ugh. makes me sick just thinking about it! what will it do to your intestines??? allowing restaurants to serve this garbage should accrue fines! Report
Look, I'm gonna be honest and say that I would love to have some of those things, but alas, I cannot because I'll continue to be obese. Sucks. Report
Thanks for the list. I am shocked at the sodium values in these items. I am now just eating at home. Made from scratch soups, stews etc. Report
What is really shocking to me is that the McRib is 500 calories. That seems kinda low for a fast food meal. I have not had anything on this list. I have had a regular chicken chalupa from Taco Bell. Its funny tho b/c everytime I see a commercial for the KFC double down or the XXL chaulpa I just imagine the greasiness and it makes me sick to my stomach.

It is all about moderation tho. Moderation is the key. Report
There is a problem here. The McRib has not been off the market for 16 years, at least not in Kansas. I know because that is the only thing on this list that I have consumed. It comes back every year in the winter here, always for a limited time, and I usually have it once each year during that time. It's an indulgence for me. Report
I work at Olive Garden and I know better not to eat ANYTHING from there! I use to eat the Minestrone soup because it was only 100 calories per serving, but when I got my hands on our Nutritional Information booklet, I will tell you now that EVERYTHING on that menu has a VERY HIGH amount of sodium. I'm talking 800-1,000+mg! I only eat there on special occasions (which is once or twice a year). As for the other places, I haven't tried any of them and, after reading this, I don't ever plan to! Everyone is right. It's no wonder Americans are so obese! I wish we could sink it into these peoples' heads that bigger is not always better! Report
The only one I've tried was the KFC Double Down and honestly it was so greasy and tasted so bad I didn't even finish it. It also made me feel sick afterwards. I was planning on trying the McRib because I've never had one and I had heard they were good, but I am glad I didn't! Report
Wow this was really helpful. While I haven't tried any of these it makes me more aware of what I will order and their effects from now on. Report
Ugh. I've never tried any of them, thank goodness, they even sound disgusting. Report
God Bless America, thank God I live here! Report
God save America and Thank God I don't live there! Report
It's a good lesson in really being aware what you are eating. I haven't eaten these, but I have ordered dishes that I later found out were the "worst" on the menu. Report
I have never eaten any of these foods. Hooray for all of us who have made healthier choices! Report
EW. Gross. At least they are all OBVIOUS disasters. No suprises here. Report
I am proud to say that, 160 pounds lighter, I would not even LOOK at one of these items. They actually sound rather revolting. All that grease! Report
NO!Thank you Jesus!That I never had any of those....... Report
I have had the fried cheese melt the xxl chalupa and mcribs but after reading this will never touch tthem again they are a whole days worth of calories in one meal Report
YIKES!!!! ok, I must admit, that yes, i've eaten 3 McRibs last year. Boy were they yummy! But, after reading this... i'm done with the McRib.. All the others look like you can gain 5lbs just looking at them... lol Report
I am proud to say, I have never eaten any of these items!!! Report
Happy to say, I've never eaten any of these except for the McRib, but that was the original, I have little desire to run out and eat one now.

Somehow I manage to find other bad food to eat lots of times, though - yeesh! No matter what restaurant it is, most dishes are pretty high-cal. This is a good eye opener. Report
I think I would be sick if I attempted to eat any of these. Yuck Report
Well, lucky for me I have celiac disease so I can't have any of this stuff! Report
I would eat any/all of these. But mainly because I'm not overweight and I know how to counterbalance my food with exercise. Honestly, I rarely ever eat less than 500 calories for a major meal like breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Report
I just started a wholistic nutritional diet for health reasons. These are so damaging for a person's health. I didn't do it before and I certainly would not do it now. No wonder so many people are grossly overweight. Report
What is wrong with society?? The only way these are still on the menu is because they are popular choices. We need to change our children's thinking and eating choices- I am afraid it's too late to teach the old dogs new tricks!! How sad! Report
I used to work at Applebees and known darn well that anything they serve is not worth eating! If you think your going to eat "healthy" by getting their ever popular Oriental Salad, think again. If you read the ingrediant label on the Oriental dressing, you would want to throw up, its unbelievable how disgusting it is not too mention sky high in calories. It was listed as one of the top "do not eat" foods in the book Eat This, Not That. Im surprised theres not more Applebees food listed here. Report
I remember in early fall this year when I was doing very well on my diet and went to a buffet style restaurant. Normally when I go out I don't pay attention to anyone else, but this time we were sitting next to a table of 8 adults, mostly heavyset folks, no different than most of us. I happened to notice because we were sitting so close to them at the next table that when they got up to get another plate we had to move. Anyway, they all went back 3 to 4 times and came back each time with a heaping plate of food. I have become a calorie counting freak so I was counting the approximate calorie intake of the guy closest to me and got up to close to 7,000 calories. For this one meal. If the folks realized what and how much they were putting in their mouth they would probably be mortified, but it has become so commonplace to eat what you can until you bust, that I don't think they even realized how much they had consumed. My husband gets irritated occasionally at me for always figuring out by calories how much I can eat when we go out but now that I have been doing it for three years, I notice that he pays a lot more attention now, too. Report
The McRib doesn't seem that bad when you compare it to some of the other stuff out there. Nothing from Olive Garden this year? Report
Interesting Report
All I can say is WOW! Fast Food is not for me...Have to always know what you are eating. Thanks! Report
Wow, what an interesting read.

It was amusing but also scary how they described the the exercises and how long you would have to do them to counter balance what you ate. Report
The only thing on this list I have ever eaten is the McRib, but I have not had one of those for many many years...I rarely do McD's or fast food (once every 3-4 mos) & working on cutting it all out. Learning to cook & freeze for those days when I don't want to cook. Thanks for the info! Report
I will have to admit that my husband had had the grilled cheese burger melt from friendly's along with a thick milkshake and then a sundae. One wonders why he weights 150 pounds. Go figure Report
The McRib was so awesome when it first came out. I remember chugging down 2 at a time, and I was not overweight back then. Now the thought of one makes me nauseous -- not because of the taste (which would still be awesome, cause it's full of my fave chemicals, lol) but because you need a defibrillator on standby -- it's just too unhealthy in every way. Report
OMG I knew there was something nasty (beside the taste) about fast food. I am so glad I dont eat it! Report
I Love cheese it is one of my downfalls! I will admit I had the provolone stuffed meatballs and it was pretty awesome. I knew it was bad before I chose it so I made the decision to have it. The best way to cut the numbers is to make it myself controlling the portion and the calories. Articles like this definitely make you stop and think the next time you go out and hopefully next time I will make a better choice that tastes just as awesome!!

“It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe.”

Rodan of Alexandria
WOOHOO!! I didn't eat any of these! :) Report
proud to say I have not tried any of this stuff Report
Don't care for fast foods at all, prefer homemade food(old fashioned, I guess). Too much grease and WAY TOO MUCH FOOD! Only go out when on my home visit every three years. Report
ha!! I did not realize the XXL Chalupa used reduced-fat sour cream, if I was going so far as to eat that then I would want regular sour cream on it Report
U can gain 5 lbs just reading about these Report
Oh my poor arteries! Report
The only one of these I had last year is the Lasagna Fritta and I loved it! Of course I only ate 2 pieces which was probably less than a third of it. Would get it again for a special treat just not often and not all of it! Good info but my best plan is to stay away from most fast food places! Report
Usually I'm not one to recommend having the government step in on any issue.....but these foods are so damaging to people and apparently not everyone can say NO. Report
Wow! Seeing how long I would have to exercise after eating these foods really brings the point home! Report
I haven't tried any of these, let alone hear about them. Report
Whatttttt!!!???? I never knew this!! Shocked to the core Report
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