Nutritional Nightmare


Homer: What can I do to speed the whole thing up, Doctor?
Nick: creative. Instead of making sandwiches with bread, use pop-tarts. Instead of chewing gum, chew bacon, heh...
Dr. Nick teaching Homer how to become obese, The Simpsons, "King-Size Homer"

We all know what is generally considered unhealthy food: hamburgers, chips, fries, donuts, pizza, bacon, pancakes, and so on. All the fats, oils and sweets that reside in the top section of the food pyramid.

However, unhealthy food can be taken Up to Eleven when the unhealthy product itself can be so unhealthy that it is almost lethal to eat such a product. Some examples include ice cream made out of butter instead of milk or a hamburger with high cholesterol, sugar content, trans fat or other things that can clog arteries just by looking at them. Despite being so unhealthy, nutritional nightmares can actually be very delicious and it might even cause a Delicious Distraction (or not). Nutritional nightmares are usually seen in comedies.

Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs is a subtrope of this regarding very unhealthy (and very sugary) cereals, and Deep-Fried Whatever for already unhealthy things soaked in boiling oil. Compare Big Eater, Delicious Distraction, A Weighty Aesop, Alien Lunch and Food Porn. Inverse of If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You. Not to be confused with the more literal Acid Reflux Nightmare.

If you want to make this trope even unhealthier, sprinkle it with some sugary examples and grill it over a Flame War.


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  • In the Discworld spin off Nanny Ogg's Cookbook we're told that Commander Vimes (who believes Burnt Crunchy Bits are a food group) nearly submitted a recipe for Pork Scratching Cookies, before his wife stopped him.
    • Vimes's approach to the BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich) is, broadly speaking, the former bludgeoning the latter two into submission. At least, until his wife stops him. The rest of the Watchman's canteen is basically similar. (Partially justified, in that their job requires them to work longs shifts and have lots of energy without taking many breaks, but still...)
  • The meals described in Nero Wolfe are enough to give you a heart attack just reading the description; if you can get a hold of "The Nero Wolfe Cookbook", even more so. Just about every dish calls for a quart of cream, a dozen eggs, and a pound of butter.
  • There is a cookbook with recipes from Roald Dahl's Matilda. The cake recipe has been nicknamed "cake that kills diabetics". It consists mainly of butter, eggs, chocolate and lots of sugar. There is a tiny bit of flour in it to give it structure, but not much. (If you're not diabetic, and use good butter, free-range eggs and dark chocolate, you can survive eating one slice, but eating the whole cake, as done in Matilda is not advisable.)

    Live Action Television 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes had Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs.
    "They're crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and they don't have a single natural ingredient or essential vitamin to get in the way of that rich fudgy taste!"
  • This Garfield strip had Garfield eat a slice of toast with a whole stick of butter on it, much to Jon's disgust.
  • The Dagwood Sandwich from Blondie is probably the Ur-Example.
  • In one Frumpy The Clown strip, Frumpy was so irritated by the ice cream parlor's attempts to sell him "healthy" alternatives to ice-cream when he tried to order simple chocolate ice-cream that he bought a bucket of chocolate lard. Brad said he could hear Frumpy's arteries hardening. Mike's mother's cooking is also apparently very unhealthy, since a physician remarked that she should be sweating gravy given what she eats.

    Video Games 
  • The food in the world of Grand Theft Auto is incredibly unhealthy across the board, as befitting a parody of modern overstuffed America. In particular, Burger Shot stands out as openly advertising a 6 pound burger designed to give you a heart attack.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Happy Tree Friends episode "A Change of Heart", Disco Bear enjoys several unhealthy foods in rapid succession, culminating in a deep fried block of butter; he has a heart attack, and in the hospital an X-ray reveals the undigested block of butter blocking one of his arteries.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation has SCP-807, the Heart Attack on a Plate. Any food placed on it will be turned into this trope, and consuming it will invariably cause a heart attack within 5 minutes. In a possible Shout-Out to The Boondocks below, a veggie burger becomes the infamous Luther Burger described below.

    Web Video 
  • The Nostalgia Critic and his obnoxious fan Douchey McNitpick love to eat Sugar Frosted Burrito Stuffed Hot Pockets.
    Nostalgia Critic: I’m sure a lot of this comes from spending less time in the kitchen and more time eating sugar frosted burrito-stuffed hot pockets.
    Douchey: Oh, I love those! With the extra lard on the side? (Speaks simultaneously with NC) And the delicious crumbled up things ever!
    Nostalgia Critic: (simultaneously) Yeah, I know! And the creamy buttery tastes for real liposuction.
    Douchey: And the side of oil found in most suntan lotions?
  • Epic Meal Time lives off this trope and be sure to expect a lot of bacon in their meals.
  • In the Half in the Bag episode where Mike and Jay review The Wolf of Wall Street, there's a subplot about Mr. Plinkett trying to intentionally have a heart attack through eating A LOT of this (mostly burgers that he fills with butter and lots of bacon).

    Western Animation 
  • The Boondocks
    • In the season 1 episode "The Itis", when Ed Wuncler gives Robert Freeman (Granddad) his own soul food restaurant, every food he serves is pretty much this. His most notable creation is the "Luther Burger", which is a full pound burger patty covered in cheese with grilled onions and five stripes of bacon with two Krispy Kreme donuts as buns. The food was so tasty and addictive, it made people fat and drove them to rob others to feed their addiction. The restaurant was eventually closed down after a lawsuit.
    • Other terrible foods served during this episode were broccoli boiled in ham broth, and "Two pig knuckles glazed in honey; pig tongue marinated in butter for two days; chitlins'... soaked in hot sauce, drizzled in mayonnaise, and then set to harden on our back porch in three pounds of cheddar cheese."
  • In The Fairly OddParents, "Odd Ball", various characters eat Blubber Nuggets. Chicken Nuggets made out of whale blubber.
  • In The Looney Tunes Show, "The Stud, the Nerd, the Average Joe, and the Saint", when Speedy Gonzales is helping Daffy train to run a marathon, he questions Daffy's diet when Daffy drinks root beer sodas as his "energy drink". Daffy reveals he eats a hot dog with a ton of powdered sugar on it for breakfast, for lunch he eats a deep-fried turkey sandwich on wheat with powdered sugar on it, and for dinner he eats a casserole with powdered sugar on the top and bottom layer and baby back ribs and marshmallows in the center, and after cooking it in a microwave, he sprinkles more powdered sugar on it. Speedy was visually disgusted by Daffy's diet. Also, Daffy's idea for a "protein bar" is a tube of cookie dough. When Speedy tells Daffy to eat eggs for breakfast before his race, Daffy does so by placing the eggs on the bottom layer of his powdered sugar casserole.
  • In Regular Show, season 3, "The Best Burger in the World", a food truck makes a burger once every century called the "Ulti-Meatum" where they stuff a cheeseburger inside a cheeseburger and has two deep-fried cheeseburgers as buns. They can even make it Idaho-style by stuffing a bag of chips in the burger.
  • Many of the fake commercials from The Ren & Stimpy Show have this. Sugar Frosted Milk (if you think about it) is literally just melted ice cream.
  • The Simpsons is the king of this trope. Homer in particular tends to get involved a great deal.
    • The image above from "Homer the Heretic" has Homer staying at home from church eating a stick of butter with waffle batter wrapped around it.
    • In "Lisa the Vegetarian" it's revealed that Homer drinks a glass of pancake syrup every morning.
    • From the episode "Bart Star":
      Dr. Hibbert: Your cholesterol level is lethally high, Homer, but I'm more concerned about your gravy level.
      Homer: Now, wait a second! You doctors have been telling us to drink eight glasses of gravy a day!
      Dr. Hibbert: Well, you're a little confused.
      Homer: Oh, confused, would we?
    • In "Bart's Friend Falls in Love", the subplot involves Homer trying to lose weight through intelligence. Homer watches commercials for two products: The Good Morning Burger (eighteen ounces of sizzling ground beef, soaked in rich, creamery butter, and topped off with bacon, ham, and a fried egg) and a candy bar (pure milk chocolate with a layer of farm-fresh honey, sprinkled on four kinds of sugar, and dipped in rich, creamery butter.)
    • In season 19, "E Pluribus Wiggum", Homer decides to eat a bunch of fast food before Marge starts him on his diet. Among the foods he eats is a cheese pizza which he adds french fries and a lobster as toppings. He shakes it up in a pizza box and then proceeds to eat the food while it's inside the box.
    • The Ribwich from "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can" is so unhealthy that there is a scene (a Shout-Out to Requiem for a Dream) where we see barbecue sauce flowing in Homer's bloodstream and he develops a huge addiction to the product. It gets even worse when the Ribwich has a label with Krusty saying "Will Cause Early Death".
    • In the Christmas Episode "She of Little Faith", Homer makes Bart add butter to his bacon.
      Homer: Now you listen here. You live in my house; you'll do what I tell you and you'll believe what I believe in. Now you butter up your bacon, boy!
      Bart: But my heart hurts.
      Homer: Bacon up that sausage!
    • In "King-Size Homer", Homer intentionally wants to gain weight (just to get out of work for being obese) and at least half the stuff he eats is this trope; the rest verging on inedible. (page quote came from that episode).
    • In "King Of The Hill", after experiencing some success at the gym after becoming hooked on Powersauce bars, Homer resolves to eat only what he can compress into bar form. He extrudes a copious amount of spaghetti and meatballs into a small bar, takes a bite, and calmly calls the hospital.
    • In "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?" when restaurant owners were offended by Homer's reviews and want to kill him. The French chef prepares an éclair so delicious and deadly it contains a million calories, 25 pounds of butter per square inch, chocolate so dark, light cannot escape its surface, and poison.
  • South Park had Double Dew (with twice the caffeine and sugar of Mountain Dew) in "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining". Then, it subverted the trope with Diet Double Dew (with half the caffeine and sugar as regular Double Dew).

    Real Life 
  • Don't get us started with the Bacon Sundae from Burger King. If you really must know, it's a cup of soft-serve vanilla ice-cream wrapped in 2 strips of bacon, topped with bacon bits and caramel sauce.
  • Keeping with the deep-fried theme, deep fried Coca Cola is a thing. Soda is full of sugar and calories already, and the frying simply adds more of the same.
  • The deep-fried Mars bar (or other candy bar of your choice), frequently held as a symbol of unhealthy Scottish consumption.
  • If it exists, someone has tried to deep-fry it. For example: deep-fried butter and deep-fried Kool Aid.
  • The Double Down from KFC is a bacon and cheese sandwich with bread replaced with fried chicken. Subverted, in that its official nutritional info only lists a calorie count of 540, which is about typical for a fast food sandwich. It looks fatally unhealthy because it doesn't have bread.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic has a penchant for food like this, as featured on UHF and The Weird Al Show. Most famous is his love for Twinkie-Wiener Sandwiches — a hot dog stuffed into a sliced Twinkie, topped with spray cheese. Weird Al has stated that since he's a vegetarian now he uses tofu dogs these days. Much healthier.
  • Double Stuf Oreos, which have recently been taken Up to Eleven with Mega Stuf Oreos, cookies with three times the creme filling of a normal Oreo.
    • Oddly enough, PETA considers Oreos to be vegan. Nabisco doesn't even make that claim about Oreos, but instead says they're vegetarian-ok.
  • Chocolate-covered wavy Lay's potato chips. The recommended serving size is just three potato chips. They come in bags that are normally only used for "single-serving/snack-size" (which can fit about 15 or so chips), so if you aren't paying attention (or just don't care), you could very well accidentally eat over 800 calories' worth of grease, salt, potato, and chocolate in one sitting.
  • The Heart Attack Grill in Nevada is based around this trope. Lard-cooked fries, butter fat shakes, burgers with anywhere from one to eight beef patties with calorie counts easily skyrocketing into the high thousands and ten thousands (they do offer some vegan options, however— they're all packs of cigarettes). As if to encourage obesity, customers who weigh over 350 pounds can weigh in with staff for a free meal. The Heart Attack Grill has actually claimed at least one patron. And at least one employee.
  • Both he website and the blog called This is Why You're Fat is full of these, ranging from simple deep-fried foods to combinations of already unhealthy foods that become the food equivalent of Frankenstein's monster. Examples of the latter from both sites include breakfast cookies (potato patties filled with ham, bacon, and cheese) and the "El Nino" (A pepperoni pizza folded taco-style and stuffed with ground beef, sauteed onions, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, and cheddar cheese).
  • The Luther Burger is basically a hamburger with glazed doughnuts in place of buns.