Congratulations, Baja Fresh--you squeaked by with a D- on Eat This, Not That columnist David Zinczenko's list of the unhealthiest chain restaurants in America.
The list reserved the F bomb for Applebee's, Outback, IHOP and T.G.I. Friday's, four chains that don't post nutritional information. But Baja was among the many that all but flunked for their quadruple whammies of calories, fats, sugar and sodium.
"About a third of the items on the menu have more than 1,000 calories, and most of them are spiked with enough sodium to melt a polar icecap," Zinczenko and Matt Goulding write of Baja Fresh. "Order the Shrimp Burrito Dos Manos Enchilado-Style, for instance, and you're looking at 5,130 mg sodium--that's more than 2 days' worth in one sitting!"
After the jump: some of the worst offenders.
Baskin-Robbins, D+: "B-R's soft serve is among the most caloric in the country, the smoothies contain more sugar than fruit, and most of what Baskin sticks into a cup winds up with more fat than what'll end up on your plate at a steakhouse buffet."
Dairy Queen, D+: "Here's a look at one hypothetical meal: a Bacon Cheddar GrillBurger with Onion Rings and a Small Snickers Blizzard is a staggering 1,740-calorie meal with 2,640 mg sodium and 83 grams of fat--2 grams of which are trans fats."
Denny's, D+: "The famous Slam breakfasts all top 800 calories, and the burgers are even worse. The Double Cheeseburger is one of the worst in the country, with 116 grams of fat, 7 of which are trans fats!"
On the Border, D-: "The overloaded menu offers appetizers with 120 grams of fat, salads with a full day's worth of sodium, and taco entrées with an horrific 960 calories--and that's the calculation without rice and beans. Border crossing is a decidedly dangerous enterprise."
Romano's Macaroni Grill, D-: "This Italian grease spot serves some of the worst appetizers in the country, offers not one dinner entrée with fewer than 800 calories, and hosts no fewer than 60 menu items with more than 2,000 mg of sodium--almost an entire day's worth of the salt! A select few menu items earn the restaurant's Sensible Fare logo--a fork with a halo over it--but unfortunately these items can still carry up to 640 calories and 25 grams of fat."