McDonald's Saltiest Foods

••• © McDonald's, reprinted with permission from AboutMcdonalds.com

Due to consumer demand, along with government mandates, McDonald's and many major restaurant chains in the U.S. restaurant industry are focused on the nutritional value of their food offerings as much as the taste and price.

Below is a list of some of the worst McDonald's menu food items for sodium content. The list is arranged according to the salt content they contained in 2018, with the saltiest food items listed first. 

This list of McDonald's foods high in sodium (i.e., salt) content, is based on guidelines provided by The American Heart Association. The Recommended Daily Allowance (or RDA) for the average adult is 2,300 mg per day. The RDA of salt intake for children is 1,500 mg per day.

In June 2012, there were eight menu items listed on the McDonald's website nutrition page that contained 50% or more of the recommended sodium intake per day as deemed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In 2017 that number jumped to 24. 

The reason diners at McDonald's and the company's leaders should be concerned about the salt content levels is that, according to the American Heart Association, a high sodium diet puts children and adults at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and contributes to obesity. The FDA adds kidney, brain, and eye damage to the list of consequences of consuming too much salt.

Worst McDonald's Food Items for Salt Content

Big Breakfast with Hotcakes

  • 2018 - 2,100 mg
  • 87% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

6-Piece Buttermilk Crispy Tenders

  • 2018 - 2,090 mg
  • 87% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

Triple Breakfast Stacks Biscuit

  • 2018 - 2,080 mg
  • 86% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

Triple Breakfast Stacks McGriddles®

  • 2018 - 2,020 mg
  • 84% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

Bacon Smokehouse Buttermilk Crispy Chicken

  • 2018 - 1,980 mg
  • 83% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

Bacon Smokehouse Artisan Grilled Chicken

  • 2018 - 1,940 mg
  • 81% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

Double Bacon Smokehouse Burger

  • 2018 - 1,920 mg
  • 80% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

4-Piece Sweet N' Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Tenders

  • 2018 - 1,780 mg
  • 74% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

20-Piece Chicken McNuggets

  • 2018 - 1,680 mg
  • 70% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

Bacon Smokehouse Burger

  • 2018 - 1,580 mg
  • 66% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

Triple Breakfast Stacks McMuffin

  • 2018 - 1,560 mg
  • 65% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

Mushroom & Swiss Artisan Grilled Chicken

  • 2018 - 1,430 mg
  • 60% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese

  • 2018 - 1,300 mg
  • 54% of the sodium recommended daily allowance for the average adult

The average adult consumes 3,400 mg of sodium per day according to the Mayo Clinic. The primary cause of the excessive daily intake of sodium is processed and preserved foods. These are the menu offerings in America's fast-food restaurants like McDonald's. 

It's doubtful that McDonald's founder, Ray Kroc, had sodium content in mind when he was establishing one of the world's largest restaurant chains. However, times have changed and so have food supply chains, the Standard American Diet (SAD) and public awareness.