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Healthiest and Unhealthiest Fast Food French Fries?

Last night, Marc, and my brother and I were having a lengthy conversation about eating healthy, getting ready for summer, and hitting the gym. The topic of eating-the-best-you-can at a fast food restaurants naturally came up, and I did some digging. It’s safe to say most everyone I know is a fan of french fries, yet, just as many people are quick to say they are integral part of a “bad diet”, something you need to cut out completely if you’re to lose weight with the quickness. Generally, I must agree. But on your “cheat days”, you definitely can pick between a “bad” and “worse” french fry, based on location and serving size. The good folks over at Web MD studied the nutritional content of french-fry offerings at 14 of our most coveted fast food locations.

I was actually surprised to find out their results. At the top of the least for the “healthiest” fast food fries was Sonic Drive-In’s regular fries, followed by the ultimate underdog, McDonald’s and their small offering of fries. As for the biggest culprit of fat grams and calories…Carl’s Jr.’s Natural Cut French Fries and Jack in the Box Natural Cut Fries. Surprised? So was I. Apparently, “Natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “healthy”. Regardless, here’s a quick run down of some of the results Web MD put together:

The Best French Fries

Lowest in Calories:

  1. Sonic Drive-In regular fries (75 g): 220 calories
  2. McDonalds small fries (71 g): 230 calories

Lowest in Fat:

  1. Sonic Drive-In regular fries (75 g): 9 grams total fat
  2. McDonald’s small fries (71 g): 11 grams total fat

Lowest Percentage of Calories From Fat:

  1. Sonic Drive-In regular fries (75 g): 37%
  2. Dairy Queen regular fries (114 g): 38%

Lowest in “Bad Fats” (saturated and trans fats):

  1. Sonic Drive-In regular fries (75 g) = 1.5 grams saturated fat + 0 grams trans fat
  2. McDonald’s small fries (71 g) = 1.5 grams saturated fat + 0 grams trans fat

Highest in Fiber:

  1. Jack in the Box Natural Cut fries (124 g) = 5 grams fiber
  2. (7-way tie; all have 4 grams of fiber each):
  • Wendy’s small fries (113 g)
  • Burger King small fries (
  • Arby’s small curly fries (106 g)
  • Chick-fil-A waffle potato fries (85 g)
  • Long John Silvers basket combo portion (113 g)
  • Carl’s Jr. Natural Cut French fries, small (116 g)
  • White Castle regular fries (106 g)

Lowest in Sodium:

  1. Chick-fil-A waffle potato fries: 80 mg
  2. Sonic Drive-In regular fries: 100 mg

The Worst French Fries

Highest in Calories:

  1. Carl’s Jr. Natural Cut small fries (116 g): 540 calories
  2. In & Out regular fries (125 g): 400 calories

Highest in Fat:

  1. Carl’s Jr. Natural Cut small fries (116 g) = 25 grams total fat
  2. Arby’s small curly fries (106 g) = 20 grams total fat

Highest Percentage of Calories From Fat:

  1. Arby’s Curly Fries, small (106 g): 53%
  2. Chick-fil-A Waffle Potato fries (85 g): 51%

Highest in “Bad Fat” (saturated and trans fats)

  1. Jack in the Box Natural Cut fries, small (124 g): 9 grams (4 grams saturated fat and 5 grams trans)
  2. Long John Silvers basket combo portion (113 g): 7 grams (3.5 grams saturated fat and 3.5 grams trans)

Lowest in Fiber:

  1. In & Out fries (125 g): 2 grams fiber (tied with No. 2)
  2. Sonic Drive-In regular (75 g): 2 grams fiber

Highest in Sodium:

  1. Carl’s Jr. Natural Cut fries (116 g): 1360 mg sodium
  2. Arby’s curly fries, small (106 g): 791 mg sodium

By Elie Ayrouth

Elie is a product of Orange County, CA. In early 2012, his dentist diagnosed him with 8 different cavities, three of which on the same tooth, as a result of his 23-year Sour Patch Kid addiction.