Thus far, our blog posts have been written from the perspective that our readers are responsible with their diets. We’ve given some advice that we find simple, like eating less meat and animal products, cooking for yourself, and avoiding processed foods. We still stand by those tips, but we also know that sometimes, people like to binge and eat things that are terrible for them. So, just for fun, this week instead of talking about water-healthy choices, we’re going to examine some water-un-healthy options and foods that are terrible for your body. And since fast food is pretty much synonymous with unhealthy, we’re going to calculate the virtual water footprint of these 15 unhealthiest fast food items.
The Starbucks Egg Nog latte is made of espresso (about 2 shots), eggnog (about 2/3 cup), milk (roughly 1/3 cup) sugar (roughly 2 T) and a pinch of nutmeg. Espresso needs 140 liters of water per shot, so 280 liters in the latte. Eggnog is made of eggs (200 liters per egg), sugar (1800 liters per kilogram), vanilla, and milk (13 liters per gram), so that 2/3 cup eggnog has a virtual water footprint of 291 liters. The 1/3 cup of milk uses 801 liters and the and the 2 tablespoons use 24 liters. All of that adds up to 1,396 liters of water in a single Egg Nog Latte.
Next on the list is the KFC Chicken Pot Pie. This recipe for 6 pies uses 1 whole chicken, puff pastry, potatoes, carrots, peas, cream of chicken soup, milk, sugar, salt, and pepper. Chicken has a virtual water footprint of 4,325 liters per kilogramand an average rotisserie chicken weighs two pounds, so that’s 3,923 liters. Each potato requires 58 liters, and since there are four to five in this recipe, let’s call that 250 liters. Each carrot carries a footprint of 13.5 liters and each cup of peas needs 340 liters - so this recipe’s two cups of peas would be 680 liters. The milk comes out to 2 cups, or 4806 liters, and the teaspoon of sugar needs 4 liters. Add all that up, and before you’ve even included the puff pastry crust, the pot pie requires 10,444 liters. Of course, this recipe also makes six pies, so for the footprint of the individual pie, you get 1,740.6 liters of water per pie.
The next unhealthy fast food item? Chick-Fil-A’s Sausage Breakfast Platter, which includes a slice of pork sausage, a biscuit with sausage gravy, and scrambled eggs. The sausage patty will, on average, weigh two ounces, and since it’s pork, we’re looking at 30 liters for the patty. Let’s double that to account for the sausage gravy. The biscuit, then, has a footprint of 104 liters and a single serving of scrambled eggs includes two eggs, so 400 liters. Altogether, that comes out to 564 liters for this breakfast. It may not be good for your body, but this is one fast food item that’s fairly decent for the environment.
Next on our list, the Shake Shack’s Double SmokeShack Burger – two beef patties, two slices of cheese, a bun, lettuce, and tomato. This handy-dandy website calculates the virtual water footprint of a hamburgerby ingredient, so we can double the meat calculations and come out with 2,399.5 gallons – or 9,083 liters. Add two slices of cheese, (24 liters per slice) and the calculation gets bumped up to 9,131 liters.
So, here we are at the end of our post, and we’ve got so many more unhealthy items to cover. Does anyone want to do some calculations on their own? Or are you all passed out in your fat- and sugar-induced food comas?