Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on May 17, 2021

Sandwiches to Skip, and to Enjoy


At many popular sandwich chains you can unwittingly gobble up a diet disaster -- unless you know how to order. Check out some sandwiches that are poor bets -- items that are packed with hidden calories. Then check out some better choices at the same restaurants. And beware the turkey sandwich, which has become a blank canvas for fattening additions of all kinds.

Burger King: Poor Bet


The Triple Whopper With Cheese  is as unhealthy as its name suggests. It may have lettuce, tomato, and onion, but the three beef patties make up most of the 1,299 calories in this burger. Each Triple Whopper has almost 90 grams of total fat, 26% more than the recommended amount for an entire day. It’s also high in sodium and cholesterol.

Burger King: Better Bet


The Original Chicken Sandwich ranks among BK’s healthiest sandwiches, certainly higher than the Triple Whopper. The breaded chicken patty, topped with lettuce and mayo, comes in at a little more than 660 calories and just under 40 grams of fat -- both around half of what you get with the Triple. It’s lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, too.

McDonald’s: Poor Bet


The Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese is actually a worse option than the Double Big Mac. Its two beef patties, two slices of cheese, ketchup, pickles, mustard, and onion not only have more calories (740 vs. the Double Big Mac’s 730), but they’re also higher in saturated fat (20 grams vs. 16 grams), cholesterol (165 milligrams vs. 115 milligrams), and sodium (1,360 milligrams vs. 1,020 milligrams).

McDonald’s: Better Bet


The Caesar McWrap With Grilled Chicken takes grilled chicken breast, lettuce, and creamy Caesar dressing, adds some bacon bits for crunch, and wraps it all inside a whole-wheat flour tortilla. It comes in at a relatively healthier 430 calories, with 5 grams of saturated fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol and 890 milligrams of sodium. To keep it on the healthy side, be sure to steer clear of any offer to substitute crispy (fried) chicken for grilled.

Chick-fil-A: Poor Bet


The Spicy Deluxe Chicken Sandwich tips the scales when it comes to calories among Chick-fil-A options. With its fried, breaded chicken breast, buttered bun, and slice of pepper jack cheese, it clocks in with 550 calories and 25 grams of fat. It also has 85 milligrams of cholesterol and a hefty 1,810 milligrams of sodium.

Chick-fil-A: Better Bet


The Grilled Chicken Sandwich is a simpler, healthier option than the Spicy Deluxe. The chicken breast is prepared in a lemon-herb marinade then grilled and topped with a slice of tomato and lettuce and served on a multigrain bun. It comes in at 320 calories, more than 200 fewer than the Deluxe, and has almost a third of the sodium (680 milligrams) and a quarter of the fat (6 grams). (Don’t be tempted by the Grilled Chicken Club, which does not boast these lower numbers.)

Subway: Poor Bet


The 6-inch Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt is a fatty choice at a restaurant better known for its healthy options. This 6-inch sub comes in at 570 calories, 29 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, and 1,280 milligrams of sodium.

Subway: Better Bet


Keep your calorie count low with the 6-inch Black Forest Ham Sandwich. This has 260 calories, 4 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and 720 milligrams of sodium. The restaurant has other low-calorie choices. Top them with lots of veggies to keep them between 230 and 380 calories. 

Wendy's: Poor Bet


The Asiago Ranch Classic Chicken Club can turn a quick lunch into a fatty affair that lingers on your hips. Wendy’s tops their breaded, fried filet with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo for 630 calories, 31 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, and 1,800 milligrams of sodium.

Wendy's: Better Bet


Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich boasts only 350 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and 850 milligrams of sodium. This simple yet satisfying sandwich of grilled chicken, lettuce, and tomato adds tangy honey mustard instead of high-fat mayo -- for a dietitian's delight.

Arby's: Poor Bet


Arby's Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon Sandwich comes with bacon, turkey, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and ranch sauce. It all adds up to 810 calories, 35 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, and a shocking 2,420 milligrams of sodium.

Arby's: Better Bet


A plain  Roast Beef Classic Sandwich is a decent choice for controlling calories. But skip the melted cheese, mayo, and the "horsey" sauce (50 calories and 5 grams of fat in a tiny packet.) Their Arby's sauce adds flavor with zero fat and only 15 calories. The nutrient tally before additions is 360 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 5 grams of saturated fat. The high sodium content may be a deal-breaker for some at 970 milligrams.

Show Sources


  1. Getty
  2. Burger King
  3. Burger King
  4. McDonald’s
  5. McDonald’s
  6. Chick-fil-A
  7. Chick-fil-A
  8. Subway
  9. Subway
  10. Wendy’s
  11. Wendy’s
  12. WebMD
  13. WebMD


Burger King: “Triple Whopper With Cheese,” “Original Chicken Sandwich.”

Chick-fil-A: “Grilled Chicken Sandwich,” “Spicy Deluxe Sandwich,” “Nutrition & Allergens.”

McDonald’s: “Double Big Mac,” “Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese,” “New Caesar Wrap With Grilled Chicken.”

Arby's: "Roast Turkey Ranch and Bacon Sandwich," "Classic Roast Beef."

Wendy's: "Grilled Chicken Sandwich," "Asiago Ranch Classic Chicken Club."

Subway: "A Clear Look at Nutrition."