McDonald's Makes The Grade; Others Must Try Harder

A few weeks back we brought you news of a survey of America's healthiest fast-food chains (Panera Bread topped the list). Now comes the reverse: America's unhealthiest fast-food restaurants.

A report by health and nutrition experts David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, authors of "supermarket survival guide" Eat This, Not That!, gives a big fat D- to Baja Fresh, Romano's Macaroni Grill and On the Border, while Chevys, Uno Chicago Grill and Chili's fared only slightly better, with a D. By comparison, Ruby Tuesday, Dairy Queen, Denny's, Carl's Jr and Baskin-Robbins raked in a relatively healthy D+.

Zinczenko and Goulding, you may remember, are the guys who denounced the large version of Baskin-Robbins' Heath Bar Shake as the "Worst Drink on the Planet"--and rightly so: it packed a whopping 2,310 calories and 108 g fat. It was later discontinued, although the medium size is still available if you'd like to suck down 1,420 calories and 67g fat. (Unbelievably, it's not the most fattening shake on the menu.)

For this latest study, the duo ranked 66 chain restaurants according to the total number of calories per entrée. They also gave extra marks to eateries that provided fruit and vegetable side dishes and/or whole-wheat bread. Finally, they deducted points from places whose menu items included excessive amounts of trans fats, or which offered fat-laden desserts.

The worst contenders, racking up an F, were Applebee's, IHOP, Outback, T.G.I. Friday's, which currently offer no nutritional information. Pretty inexcusable, I'd say.

And the least unhealthy? (I struggle with saying 'healthiest'.) McDonald's, which scored a scholarly B+.


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