Nutritional Nightmare

Dr. Nick: [points to a chart] You'll want to focus on the neglected food groups such as the whipped group, the congealed group and the chocotastic!
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 be very delicious and it might even cause a Delicious Distraction (or not). Nutritional nightmares are usually seen in comedies. Often the result of Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot.Food And Drink.

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 (this trope is probably the equivalent of Fan Disservice for the last one). Inverse of If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You. Not to be confused with the more literal Acid Reflux Nightmare.

For a similar trope dealing with extremely potent alcoholic beverages, see Gargle Blaster.

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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     Anime and Manga 

  • Many a Jim Gaffigan routine is dedicated to him discussing his love of unhealthy foods, including a routine on his love of bacon and another on cake. In one routine, he openly admits to enjoying eating unhealthily. (Although that same skit has him go on to discuss Domino's pasta bread bowl, which he lambastes as being so unhealthy that even he doesn't want to touch it).
  • Bill Cosby has his famous routine "Chocolate Cake for Breakfast," based on a real incident in which his wife demanded that he cook breakfast for their children. Not knowing what to serve the kids, he gives his youngest daughter the first thing she asks for—chocolate cake. Cosby rationalizes this by pointing out that cakes are made of eggs, flour, and milk, which are all nutritious. This goes on until his wife discovers what he'd done and sends him to his room... which is where he wanted to be in the first place.

  • 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 long 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 
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, Ep22), Sam and Dean's breakfast is made up of a bucket of fried chicken, box of pizza, containers of Chinese food, 4 liters of cola, and a bottle of whiskey.
    • This is revealed to be the Leviathans' plot in Season 7—replace the corn syrup and other flavorings on packaged food with a chemical that inhibits metabolism and higher brain functions, turning humans into fat, dimwitted, apathetic, docile creatures much like cattle (three guesses as to what the Leviathans plan to do). In essence, this would make every edible item (with the exception of water and non-processed foods, like freshly-picked fruits and vegetables) a Nutritional Nightmare.
  • Mad TV had a sketch called "Reality Check" which was about this BET talk show hosted by two obese African-American women who sometimes start out subsisting on some strange and often fattening items, like lard balls rolled in: flour and powdered sugar, deep fried, dipped in ranch dressing, and then covered in a glaze along with chocolate and sprinkled salt lick.
  • A mild example in United States of Tara : Alice's ideas about food come straight from the 1950s. She advises Tara to cut the crusts off, because "all the nutrition is in the white part" of the bread.
  • "Food for Thought," an episode of That's So Raven that offered A Weighty Aesop, sees the local high school's cafeteria being replaced with a food court owned by "Trans-Infinity Farms", a company that specializes in producing disgustingly huge portions of incredibly unhealthy food, including a yard-long hot dog, an onion ring bigger than a teenage boy's head, and, as a "healthy" option, deep-fried lettuce. As the food court gains more power, they start offering take-out, sickeningly sweet breakfasts (such as a platter of chocolate pancakes drenched in chocolate sauce), and even fry dispensing machines in the hallways. Amazingly, not a single adult in the school recognizes this as a horrible diet, so it falls to Chelsea and Raven to stop the company.
  • On Parks and Recreation, the distressingly popular fast food chain Paunch Burger boasts of its fattening effects.
  • 30 Rock: One episode mentions and depicts a food called "Cheesy Blasters". The jingle explains it quite clearly: "You take a hot dog, fill it with some Jack cheese, fold it in a pizza... You got Cheesy Blasters!". Tracy refuses to eat it after Liz explains it.

    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.
  • In a FoxTrot strip, Roger makes himself a twelve-egg omelet with cheese, ham, bacon, and avocado, despite pledgeing to lose 20 pounds for New Years. Seems he wanted to gain 300 pounds so he could go on The Biggest Loser and not only meet his goal, but win money. (Andy surmises that Peter's resolution was to become King of Evil Practical Jokes.)

    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.
  • MOTHER 3 has pork chips, which the game outright calls "greasy junkfood". Interestingly, despite this, someone actually made a real life version of the food. It's about as healthy as you'd expect.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: Since Crazy Dave re-eating his taco would cause a Time Crash, Dr. Zomboss stops him by giving him something better: a taco with a waffle in it. Not a waffle taco, but a taco with all the fillings you'd expect, plus a waffle jammed in there, complete with syrup and butter.

    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.
  • In The Most Popular Girls in School, Deandra is rather fond of these. Take, for example, in Episode 46:
    Deandra: (to Bridget) No, I don't want a bunch of little croutons! I want you to crouton this loaf of bread for me! What the fuck is so hard to understand about that?!

  • The Igor Bars from Dork Tower, which have been known to put those who consume them into sugar comas. There is an actual recipe for the bars, and it lists insulin as an optional ingredient (see here).

    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: Iím 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).
  • Jontron has an issue with inventing and then eating things like cheesecake pizza.

    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 included 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."
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force's "Revenge of the Trees" has a Labor Day barbecue consisting of Frylock's tofu T-bones, and Shake's whole deep fried cow, which he force-fed pork rolled in ranch dressing (which killed it) and later injected its udder with a liquid mix of cheese (the udder exploded into a bloody mess after the flash frying was done).
  • In The Fairly OddParents!, "Odd Ball", various characters eat Farmer Ahab's Blubber Nuggets, chicken nuggets made out of whale blubber.
    "They're Chewy!"
  • 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.
    • Also in the episode, "Bobcats on Three", Porky starts a catering business using his grandmother's recipes, which feature heavy use of butter and sausage among other things. When Bugs hires him to cater for his parties, he gets hooked on the food, and triples in size as a result. Porky lampshades it when refuses to cater to anymore of Bugs' parties claiming that no one should eat that much butter.
  • 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 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 waffle made with a mix of waffle batter, melted caramels, and liquid smoke all wrapped around a stick of butter.
    • 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: So, you think you know better than this family, huh? Well, as long as you're in my house, you'll do what I do and believe what I believe! So butter your bacon!
      Bart: Yes, father.
      • He then orders Bart to wrap his bacon around his sausage.
      Homer: Bacon up that sausage, boy!
      Bart: But dad, my heart hurts!
      (Homer glares at him, Bart reluctantly complies)
    • 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, eats the whole of said bar, and calmly calls the hospital.
    • In one episode, Moe turned his tavern into a restaurant where everything was deep fried. He purchased an Army surplus deep fryer that he claimed could flash-fry a buffalo in 40 seconds (which still isn't fast enough for Homer's tastes).
    • 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. (Ironically, it takes Lisa saying the éclair is low fat that makes Homer not want to eat it and thus save his life.)
  • 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).
  • An episode of King of the Hill had Bill and Boomhauer discover a man selling deep fried bananas at stall, and it eventually gives them the idea to see what else they can deep fry. This included, among other things; deep fried fruits, deep fried fish, deep fried chocolate bar, re-deep fried chicken, accidental deep frying of a beer can which started a fire...
  • On a DVD extra, Archer demonstrates how to make his daily breakfast, Eggs Woodhouse, which guest Alton Brown calls a "cholesterol Katrina" as it's made with creamed spinach, Bechamel and Hollandaise sauce, Pata Negra ham, and half a cup of butter (plus saffron and truffles to up the dollar value).
    Alton: What is your cholesterol level?
    Archer: I assume it's awesome - since the alcohol constantly flushes it out of my veins.
    Alton: That... that is absolutely not how that works!
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Menu", The secret menu item, rumored to serve as enough to replace all three meals for seven people for seven years, turns out to be a dagwood burger that Gumball describes as "grosser than a normal burger". It's also rumored that if one can finish it within 15 minutes Joyful Burger will pay for their hospital bills. Apparently the average kids meal from Joyful Burger has less nutritional value than the toy that comes with it as well.

    Real Life 
There's a lot of stuff in general that qualifies for this list, so this is merely some of the more notable cases:
  • 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.
    • Don't think too hard about the salt content...
  • "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. Now taken up to twelve with Moreos, which gives mankind the power to put on as much cream as they want.
  • Even more of a nightmare is deep fried Oreos.
  • 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 the 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.
  • A blogger decided to eat all the meals offered by Denny's in their cross-promotion to Fantastic Four (2015), totaling nearly 6000 calories and copious amounts of sugar and fat. He acknowledged most was tasty if overkill, to the point two (a skillet featuring a sausage as long as the fork, and a three egg\four cheese omelette) ended up only half-eaten.
  • Death by Chocolate is actually a variety of high-calorie cakes, as seen here.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: The deep-fried fucking Twinkie! (As if Twinkies weren't unhealthy enough by themselves.) Now in chocolate as well! It used to be only found at county and state fairs, until Hostess released the recipe. (Make them at your own risk.) They even sell them in stores now; check the frozen desserts.
  • Any North American stadium will have at least one of those available. Specially baseball parks.
  • Somewhere in the mists of Portland, Oregon, there exists a lunch cart called Brunchbox which serves the "Redonkadonk," a legendarily unhealthy sandwich. It's just not the contents the sandwich—a burger patty, ham, bacon, cheese, egg, and Spam—that put it in the two thousand-plus calorie range; it's the fact that there isn't any bread. The fillings are placed between two whole grilled cheese sandwiches on extra-thick Texas toast. The Redonkadonk even has its own page on The Other Wiki!
  • The California-based burger chain In-N-Out allows you to order an "m x n", where m is how many beef patties you want and n is how many slices of cheese you want; for example, a 3 x 3 has 3 patties and 3 cheese slices. Customers used to be able to order ludicrously big burgers such as a 20 x 20, and one customer ordered a 100 x 100. Since then, the chain has limited burger sizes to a reasonable though still incredibly unhealthy 4 x 4.
  • There are actually foods that seem unhealthy, but subvert this, at least depending on how you look at it. For example, fried chicken is actually pretty low-carb; it's considered bad for you simply because it's fried. (Granted, frying doesn't make it better, but it does less harm than you'd expect.)
    • Likewise, there are "health foods" that actually aren't that great for your health. Just look at low-fat foods; we assume they're good because we associate "fat" with "unhealthy". Not all fats are bad though, and by removing that fat, the flavor is also removed. So what do they put in there to get the flavor back? Sugar.
  • Convenience store chain QuikTrip now offers maple bacon milkshakes. They're as delicious and evil as you'd think.
  • The francheezie, served at some restaurants in Chicago, consists of a hot dog split in half, filled with cheese, wrapped in bacon, and deep fried.