Updated October 2020

Every day can be fry-day!

Before we dive in here, let’s make one thing clear:

I understand fries are not a health food, and you’re probably not ordering fries for the favorable macros or low calories. You just want to eat some fries. But knowledge is power, and power is fries. That’s how that saying goes.

If you’re ordering fast food and want some fries, you know you are signing up for potatoes deep fried in oil. But, that doesn’t mean all fries are created equally!

Even if you’re not concerned about the calorie count, it never hurts to be educated about what you are consuming, which is why I love putting these graphics together.

For these fries, we’re looking at medium sized sides of fries at popular fast-food restaurants. If their fries don’t come in a medium, we’re using a “regular” side of fries instead. Generally speaking, this is the standard size of a side of fries that you will get.

Of course, most fast food restaurants will offer smaller sizes (and sometimes much larger) so the calories will vary quite a bit. I wanted to do my best to keep these comparisons as close as possible, although many medium sized fries will not necessary be the same.

To illustrate this point, just look at the Five Guys fries- they contain nearly 1,000 calories! If you’ve been to Five Guys before, you know that they give you a whole lot of fries, making it quite unsurprising that the calories are so high. It’s safe to say their “regular” serving is much larger than most of the other options here.

One other thing worth noting is that serving sizes are never going to be exactly the same when you order out, so you should never get too hung up on the exact calories. One day at McDonald’s you might get a few less fries, bringing the count to about 290 calories. Another day they may really pack the fries in, leading to closer to 400 calories. These are all estimates, and we can’t expect to have exact counts here!

The reason I love putting guides like this together is that I love to show how you can easily incorporate foods like this into your diet, no matter what your goals are.

Fries are generally thought of as one of the ultimate “junk” foods, because they are deep fried and high in calories, with little micronutrients to them. But that does not mean for a second that they are off limits.

Smoothie vs fast food

I enjoy breaking down the macronutrients of fast food because too many people view fast food as automatically terrible for you.

You don’t have to eat fast food, and I’m not advocating that you run out and order a burger and fries!

But you certainly can enjoy it if ya want.

When you break food down into its macronutrients, it changes everything. Suddenly, the food you previously thought of as terrible for you is not so bad at all.

I have a ton of fast food guides here on the blog for you to check out to help illustrate exactly that!

At the time of writing this, Taco Bell’s Nacho fries are off the menu, but I know that they’re due to make another comeback.

Also, KFC has retired their wedges for now, which makes me incredibly sad. But, they’ve added new fries, so they’ve been added here as well!

I grew up on Burger King, so I have a strong bias for their fries. I haven’t tried all these in this graphic, but if I had to rank my fry shapes, it would start with traditional, then curly, then waffle, then allllll the way below the bottom of the list is crinkle cut. They’re terrible.

Obviously sweet potato fries are the best fries in existence, though.


The takeaway here: You can have your fries and eat them, too. An extra 300(ish) calories is not going to ruin your progress, especially when those calories are absolutely delicious.


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