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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE December 17, 2009

Dietitians Rank Five Unhealthiest 'Gourmet Burgers'; Wendy's Bacon Deluxe Triple Burger, Items from Carl's Jr., and Burger King Top List

Report Finds Some Premium Burgers Contain More Fat and Sodium than a Person Should Consume in an Entire Day

WASHINGTON—With a whopping 1,140 calories and more saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium than anyone should eat in a single day, Wendy’s Bacon Deluxe Triple Burger has topped a list of the five most unhealthful "gourmet burgers" sold by national fast-food chains. Also on the list is the Angus Bacon and Cheese Burger, introduced earlier this year by McDonald’s.

Dietitians for The Cancer Project, a Washington-based nonprofit research organization, analyzed and ranked high-end burgers sold by Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s. They found that all are high in calories and fat, and many contain bacon and high-fat dairy products, which can increase cancer risk.

A growing number of fast-food outlets have introduced "gourmet burgers" made with more expensive cuts of meat and premium cheese. These premium items cost more than typical fast-food offerings but have gained in popularity during the economic downturn because they are still cheaper than eating out at sit-down restaurants. But dietitians say consumers are also trading down on health.

“These pricey burgers could do as much damage to your heart as they do to your wallet,” said Krista Haynes, a registered dietitian with The Cancer Project. “A single high-fat meal like a "gourmet burger" can cause a dangerous increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The large amounts of processed meat, fat, dairy and sodium in "gourmet burgers" can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.”

The five worst "gourmet burgers" are:

Worst: Wendy’s Bacon Deluxe Triple Burger with 1,140 calories, 71 grams of fat, 31 grams of saturated fat, 290 milligrams of cholesterol, and 2,470 milligrams of sodium

2nd worst: Carl’s Jr. Guacamole Bacon Six-Dollar Burger with 1,040 calories, 70 grams of fat, 25 grams of saturated fat, 145 milligrams of cholesterol and 2,240 milligrams of sodium.

3rd worst: Burger King’s Steakhouse XT Burger with 970 calories, 61 grams of fat, 23 grams of saturated fat, 135 milligrams of cholesterol and 1,930 milligrams of sodium.

4th worst: Jack in the Box’s Sirloin Cheeseburger with 941 calories, 59 grams of fat, 18 grams of saturated fat, 143 milligrams of cholesterol and 1,890 milligrams of sodium.

5th worst: McDonald’s Angus Bacon and Cheese Burger with 790 calories, 39 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 145 milligrams of cholesterol and 2,070 milligrams of sodium.

A 2007 report from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund says that 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily increases one’s risk of colorectal cancer by an average of 21 percent. A 50-gram serving is approximately the size of a typical hot dog—or a little less than the four slices of bacon found on the Wendy’s Bacon Deluxe burger.

It is possible to eat healthfully at fast-food chains. For example, a Burger King Veggie Burger, minus the mayo, has just a fraction of the calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol found in the Steakhouse XT burger and it costs less.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Vaishali Honawar

Related Links:
The Five Most Unhealthful "Gourmet Burgers"

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