Congrats to Taco Bell, home of the absolutely horrifying Naked Chicken Chalupa.
The Mexican-inspired fast food joint has officially surpassed Burger King to become the fourth-most popular restaurant chain in America, according to industry statistics reported by the New York Post.
That’s all fine, but here at Men’s Health, we’re more interested in how the two fast-food chains stack up in terms of health — specifically the calories, sugar, and protein in their menu items. We bring you the Taco Bell vs Burger King menu showdown to find out which chain does more nutritional damage.
Who Jams the Most Calories Into a Single Menu Item?
Answer: Burger King
If you found yourself stuck in the desert for a week with no food, you should head straight to Burger King to make up for that severe calorie deficit. Their Bacon King burger clocks in at 1,150 calories, 79 grams of fat, 49 grams of carbohydrates, and 2,150 milligrams of sodium.
Taco Bell’s highest-calorie menu item, the Cinnabon Delights 12-pack, has 930 calories and 59 grams of sugar — though it’s intended to serve four people. The most fair comparison to the Bacon King on Taco Bell’s menu is the Beef XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito; it’s loaded with 870 calories, 40 grams of fat, 96 grams of carbohydrates, and 2,130 grams of sodium.
Who Offers the Most Sugar-Filled Menu Item?
Answer: Burger King
Burger King’s got you covered in the sugar department. Their Fruit Loops Milkshake has 103 grams of sugar. One hundred and three grams of sugar. People, that is nearly three days’ worth of added sugar. It makes Taco Bell’s 12-pack of Cinnabon Delight look like child’s play.
Whose Menu Loses the Protein Game?
Experts recommend taking in 25-35 grams of protein after exercise — no more, no less. Burger King has eight items that exceed that limit, including the Supreme Breakfast Sandwich with 41 grams of protein; the Bacon Cheddar Ranch Chicken Salad with Grilled Chicken and dressing at 46 grams of protein; and the daddy of them all, the Bacon King, loaded with 61 grams of protein.
Taco Bell’s two items with more than 35 grams of protein are renditions of the XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito: the steak and the chicken. The chicken has 38 grams of protein, and the steak version has 37 grams of protein.
As far as menu items within that key 25-35 range, Burger King has 13 items that hit the recommended protein amount to Taco Bell’s 15 — most of those items pack a hefty punch in other categories. Take the Smothered Beef Burrito from Taco Bell: 28 grams of protein sounds great, but those 700 calories, 2,210 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of fat, and 71 grams of carbohydrates will not lead to the good kind of gains, to say the least. (Our recommendation? Head home after your workout and make one of these protein snacks instead.)
So Who Won The Taco Bell Vs Burger King Menu Showdown?
Both of these fast food joints have some pretty egregious offerings, but Taco Bell’s worst items have nothing on Burger King’s monster menu.
By Reegan Von Wildenradt