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The Best And Worst Burgers

Posted: 02/ 8/2012 8:14 am

By Amanda MacMillan

Who doesn't love a good burger? Unfortunately, not all hamburgers, or even turkey or veggie burgers, are created equal. Cooking method, portion size and choice of bread and toppings can mean the difference between a relatively harmless lunch and a day's worth of calories, fat and sodium.

We rounded up some of the healthiest and unhealthiest examples of what American restaurants are serving between two buns, and got an expert's feedback on the nutritional pitfalls. Here's what to look for -- and what to stay far away from -- the next time a burger craving hits.

Best Plain Burger Patty
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Wendy's Jr. Hamburger
A healthy rule of thumb is to keep your meal around 500 calories, says Katherine Brooking, a registered dietitian and cofounder of, but that can be hard with big juicy burgers and lots of fixings. You're generally safe, though, with the plainest, smallest burger available.

"If you stick with a plain single patty, you may even be able to have a small order of fries," she says. All the major drive-throughs have similar plain offerings, but Wendy's Jr. Hamburger -- at just 230 calories, 8 grams of fat (3 grams saturated), and 470 milligrams of sodium -- is the least nutritionally offensive.

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Filed by Sarah Klein  |