The Reason Not to Go to Zagat's Top Fast Food Joint

5 guys & friesFast food and I, we have a love-hate relationship. On the one hand, the foods and aromas are so savory and delicious at spots like Wendy's and McDonald's that I never want to leave. But on the other, I feel like crapola for days and days after I down a double quarter-pounder with cheese. Zagat recently surveyed more than 6,000 people in their annual Fast Food Survey, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries came out on top. The restaurant dominated the competition in some categories, winning Best Burger and Most Popular Large Fast Food Chain (not to be confused with "mega chains" like McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's).

Well, let me tell you something, ladies (and men if you're reading). I haven't been to Five Guys in quite some time. With good reason, too.

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Like most everyone I've ever met, I have a natural love for French fries. My absolute favorites come from Five Guys. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water. So crispy, delicious, and served in the overflowing container that gives you hope that the saltiness will never really end. But after a loving relationship in my college years, we had to go our separate ways. And it's all because I learned exactly how many calories those fried taters really have: a whopping 620 calories, to be exact, in their regular size fries. Add that to 30 grams of fat and 90 mg of sodium and you have a party for your arteries for just under $4!

I've looked for healthier swaps there, I promise. But even the little cheeseburger -- you know, the little mini-sized one they do? -- is 550 calories. A regular cheeseburger? Forgettaboutit: It comes in at 840 calories. I'd have to run at least eight miles to burn off lunch. The lowest calorie hitters on the menu? A half serving of fries at 310 calories, or a grilled cheese at 440. Ouch. Eating a satisfying meal at Five Guys would include downing at least 900 calories. Thanks, but no thanks. I just can't justify it.

Trust me, I love the taste of everything from Five Guys; I really do. And I understand that you can have everything and anything in moderation. But there are many, many more healthier options at a lot of other spots on Zagat's list, from McDonald's and Subway to Taco Bell and Chipotle. All of them have options for the calorie conscious, and I'm not just talking kids' meals.

It's time to get with the times, Five Guys. Maybe then I'll be able to come back to you without feeling so horrible about myself.

What's your favorite fast food spot?


Image via Ape Vision/Flickr

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