It may sound absurd, but when salt warnings begin colonizing chain menus around town on December 1 in the Bloombergian hopes of helping people to eat more healthily, fast-food burgers are going to get a complete pass. The reason why is exactly what seems hardest to believe: They just don’t have enough salt. Take a McDonald’s cheeseburger, for instance: It can sit for 20 years and not mold, or withstand submersion in hydrochloric acid for almost four whole hours, and yet you need to eat four to reach the FDA’s daily sodium limit. Likewise, Burger King’s Triple Whopper deposits a full day’s worth of fat into the stomach, but you’d have to be on your third one of these monsters before you maxed out on salt. Ditto every other burger made by Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Checkers, White Castle, and Dairy Queen.
Meanwhile, for what it’s worth, no burger at Chili’s is under the limit, as every “hand-crafted burger” has at least 3,400 milligrams of sodium, 50 percent more than the recommended amount. Several options at Red Robin and Applebee’s, which are larger and have more toppings than fast-food burgers, are too salty, plus they come with bottomless fries.
In fact, it’s possible no fast-food chain in New York makes a burger that will get salt-shamed. Burger Business, which did the math, notes Carl’s Jr. goes over on a couple of its sandwiches, but New York, of course, has no Carl’s Jr. locations. These new warning labels somehow manage to reveal both the futility of arbitrarily labeling one bad ingredient and the surprising lack of salt in fast-food burgers, which are still very bad for you, regardless.