Unhealthiest fast food breakfast options

Let’s set the scene: it’s Monday morning, you’re feeling tired from a busy weekend, and the thought of the looming workweek has left you feeling in need of a little pick-me-up. What better way to start your week than with a sneaky breakfast from one of your favorite fast-food joints?

Whether you're craving a McMuffin from the Golden Arches or a caffeine boost from Starbucks, let's be real – we all have a soft spot for a morning treat from our beloved fast-food favorites.

But there’s a reason they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And while it’s easy enough to figure out the difference between a salad and a cheeseburger at lunchtime, have you ever stopped to wonder if a biscuit is better than a hash brown, or if that stack of pancakes is better for you than a breakfast sandwich?

Well, fear not, as the team here at Casino Canada has crunched the numbers to reveal the healthiest and unhealthiest items (based on calories), even calculating the number of burpees that would be needed to burn them off! So, let’s dive in, and stack the odds in your favor by learning which go-to breakfast fast food options you should avoid in the US.

Unhealthiest Breakfast


To uncover the truth about the healthiest and unhealthiest fast-food breakfast choices, we started by identifying the top ten fast-food chains in the USA using Foody Data. After this initial step, we discounted any chains that did not offer a breakfast menu, leaving us with seven contenders. We then analyzed the breakfast menu for each chain, excluding combo deals and drinks. Our data was sourced directly from the official websites of each fast-food chain:

Now, let's dive into the findings and explore America's healthiest and unhealthiest fast-food breakfast options!

The unhealthiest fast-food breakfast items

Unhealthiest breakfast items

It's not good news for Subway fans, as two of the top three items with the highest calorie count are taken by their footlong sandwiches, surpassing the 1000-calorie mark. Of course, they offer a 6-inch option for those with smaller appetites. However, the top spot for the unhealthiest breakfast item is claimed by the McDonald's Big Breakfast® with Hotcakes. It might be iconic, but it packs a whopping 1,340 calories – and as the recommended daily caloric intake for an average U.S. citizen is between 2000 to 2500 calories per day, that’s potentially over half of your daily calorie intake.

What's equally striking is the number of burpees needed to burn off these excessive calories, with the leader demanding a whopping 1126 burpees – a formidable physical challenge. Reports vary on how long that would take but suffice it to say plenty of fitness fans online consider the 1,000 Burpee Challenge a serious trial.

Wondering what made the top of the list? Here’s the top 20 items to avoid if you’re wanting a lighter bite for breakfast:

The top 20 unhealthiest breakfast items

Unhealthiest breakfast items
Item Chain Calories Number of burpees needed to burn the same number of calories
Big Breakfast® with Hotcakes McDonald’s 1340 1126
Bacon, Egg & Cheese footlong Subway 1050 882
Steak, Egg & Cheese footlong Subway 1030 866
Cinnabon Delights® 12 Pack Taco Bell 1010 849
Black Forest Ham, Egg & Cheese footlong Subway 960 807
Egg & Cheese footlong Subway 890 748
Double Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Croissan'wich Burger King 882 741
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Wrap Subway 860 723
Country Platter with Ham Dairy Queen 860 723
Double Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit Burger King 852 716
Breakfast Bowl – Gravy Dairy Queen 830 697
Egg-Normous Burrito Burger King 829 697
Steak, Egg & Cheese Wrap Subway 820 689
Black Forest Ham, Egg & Cheese Wrap Subway 770 647
Hotcakes and Sausage McDonald’s 770 647
Big Breakfast® McDonald’s 760 639
Breakfast Crunchwrap Sausage Taco Bell 760 639
Large Hash Browns Burger King 740 622
Pancake Platter with Bacon Dairy Queen 730 613
Fully Loaded Croissan'wich Burger King 714 600

Unhealthiest breakfast items by chain

When looking at the highest-calorie items by chain, classic favorites like McDonald's and Subway's breakfast sandwiches take the lead. Here's a breakdown:

  • McDonald's: Big Breakfast® with Hotcakes (1340 calories)
  • Subway: Bacon, Egg & Cheese footlong (1050 calories)
  • Taco Bell: Cinnabon Delights® 12 Pack (1010 calories)
  • Burger King: Double Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Croissan'wich (882 calories)
  • Dairy Queen: Country Platter with Ham (860 calories)
  • Wendy's: Breakfast Baconator® (710 calories)
  • Starbucks: Bacon, Sausage & Egg Wrap (640 calories)

Healthiest fast-food breakfast options

Healthiest fast-food breakfast options

On the flip side, let's talk about the healthier breakfast options that won't leave you feeling in need of a serious mid-morning nap. Hash browns and lighter options like Starbucks’ Egg Bites or even Burger King’s pancake platter take the spotlight for being kinder to your waistline, without sacrificing taste – although Subway’s healthiest option would still need you to fit in 378 burpees to burn off the calories.

The healthiest breakfast options at each chain

Healthiest breakfast options
Chain Lowest calories item Calories in item Number of burpees needed to burn the same number of calories
McDonald’s Hash Browns 140 118
Subway Egg & Cheese 6 inch 450 378
Taco Bell Hash Browns 160 134
Burger King Pancake Platter 235 197
Dairy Queen Hash Browns 180 151
Wendy’s Oatmeal Bar 280 235
Starbucks Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites 170 143

Clearly, when you swing into the drive-thru for your morning snack, there are plenty of options that are hidden calorie bombs requiring a truly heroic number of burpees to burn off. On the other hand, there are lighter choices that won't leave you feeling weighed down for the rest of the day. Whether you opt for indulgence or moderation, now you have the facts to make informed choices for your morning meal.

Remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it's up to you whether you want to start it with a sprint or a leisurely stroll. So, the next time you find yourself at a fast-food joint in the morning, you'll be armed with the knowledge to make a breakfast choice that suits your appetite and health goals.

For more information on how to give yourself the best odds for the day, check out the latest from Casino Canada, and get more insights on everything from your gambling horoscope to top casino reviews.

Michelle Thomas
Former Author
Master of Business and Finance
Expert in:
  • News
  • Blog
Reviewed by Head of Content:
Dmitry Rogalchuk
Last updated on: 17.02.2024

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