6 high calorie items at 6 fast food restaurants: A self-defense list

Which menu item at your convenient fast food restaurant gives you the most caloric bang for your buck? As per federal mandate, restaurant chains with more than 20 locations have to post calorie counts of their menu items. If you're looking to stay fit, trim, and healthy, you might want to steer clear of these heavy hitters.

Federal guidelines are requiring restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus now, which is a good thing if you're a calorie-counter or someone who simply wants to get something to eat but don't want to have to hit the gym for an entire week to burn off what you accumulate at lunch hour. With that in mind, MarketWatch.com put together a list of menu items that top the calorie meter at different fast food restaurants, and they did it with being dollar conscious at the same time. Everything from drinks to burgers to pizza made the list, but here are the six toppers on six different fast food menus that set you back over 200 calories for every buck spent. (Can you say, "Hello, stair master?")

6. Subway: Mega Melt on Flatbread with Egg. This item rounds out to 206 calories per dollar spent. Although the chain touts itself as a healthy alternative to a burgers-and-fries diet, they have a few 6-inch (or foot-long) sandwiches that will load you up with calories. This is their heaviest, putting the emphasis on the "Mega."

5. Taco Bell: Volcanic Nachos. No matter how you stack this menu item, its hefty. With 92 grams of carbohydrates and a total of 970 calories per serving, this item weighs in at 243 calories per dollar. (MarketWatch adds that Taco Bell's lowest calorie item on their entire menu is a side of black beans, which top out at 80 calories.) After eating some Volcanic Nachos, you'd have to run for the border just to keep from gaining weight.

4. White Castle: 20 Chicken Rings. You've heard that chicken is good for you? Well, like with most things: In moderation. White Castle's 20-count Chicken Rings adds up to a whopping 252 calories per buck. All the running around Harold and Kumar did, no way they were loaded down with these things. (Then again, those guys were hight a lot, huh?)

3. McDonald's: Big Breakfast with Syryp and Margarine. Dropping in at 1350 calories, it is half of the recommended daily caloric intake for women between the ages of 19-30. And that's without the syrup (and who eats pancakes without syrup?), which adds 180 calories, and a couple pats of margarine (another 80 calories). So, scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage patty, hash browns, and biscuit (with syrup and margarine) tops out at 1610 calories. This pushes 286 calories per buck. It should come with the slogan "Don't try this at home." Actually, unless you're planning on healthy snacking for the rest of the day, you shouldn't even try the Big Breakfast at McDonald's.

2. Burger King: Ultimate Breakfast Platter. Another monster calorie meal from another fast food burger joint, a dollar will buy you 338 calories. Like the McDonald's breakfast meal, it contains hot cakes, scrambled eggs, a sausage patty, a biscuit and hash browns. The standard meal has 100 calories more than McDonald's before the extras.

1. Pizza Hut: Meat Lovers Pan Pizza (14-inch Large). This one is broken down by the slice, and, as noted, who eats just one slice of pizza. And since pizzas are generally cut into eight pieces, each slice delivers 470 calories. So you're looking at 940 calories in two pieces of pizza. The entire pizza pushes 3760 calories and. You can get this pizza pie for $10, which puts the caloric intake at 376 calories per buck spent.

Now, this article isn't meant to discourage customers from eating at these fast food restaurants or from eating this items. To each their own. However, it is something that customers should be aware of in light of the epidemic of obesity throughout the world. Now, with the guidelines prompting calorie counts, at least potential customers can choose their items in the full knowledge of just how much they're taking on.

And for the health-conscious, remember that what one drinks also packs a caloric punch. For instance, Dunkin Donuts' highest calorie menu item isn't one of their donuts or one of their breakfast biscuits. It is their Frozen Mocha Coffee Coolatta with Cream (at 730 calories, 166 calories per dollar). So...

At least with the calorie counts posted, people might just pause long enough to think about eating just a little bit healthier. It will give them a fighting chance against becoming overweight or help them in reducing their weight if they so choose.

Of course, this will take a few mathematical computations. Well... okay... at least people will have a fighting chance.

(photo credit: Tom Arthur, Creative Commons)