The 6 Worst Diet Destroyers at the Carnival

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Ferris Wheel

Nothing’s more exciting than watching the Ferris wheel go up when the carnival comes to town. Even more exciting—riding it, along with the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Trapeze swing and the spinning Zero Gravity ride that all make eating beforehand out of the question.

But what about afterwards? The smell of carnival food is almost irresistible, but just about everything served on the midway is a calorie-, fat- and sugar-bomb.

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It’s no surprise that tracking down nutrition information for fair food is close to impossible—it is a rare thing to make it out of the fairgrounds with a veggie salad or fresh fruit cup. But because we know you’re on the path to a happier, healthier you, we did our best to find out just how badly popular carnival foods could sabotage your slim-down.

1. The giant turkey leg wrapped in bacon, a relative newcomer to carny cuisine, often weighs in at two pounds and contains as many as 2,360 calories and 177 grams of fat, according to calorieking,com. A plain turkey leg is only—only!—1,154 calories with 54 grams of fat for a pound of dark meat on the bone.

2. Funnel cake, a plate of deep-fat-fried dough sprinkled with sugar, is a carnival staple (fry bread, a Native American delicacy, is similar to this Amish dish). For just the five-inch option served at Nathan’s Famous—which is mini compared to most carnival varieties, you’re looking at a whopping 580 calories and 29 grams of fat. And that’s before any added toppings.

3. Curly fries might sound cool, but these corkscrew-shaped splurges clock in at 650 calories for one large serving at Arby’s, and have as much as 35 grams of fat.

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4. The deep-frying trend has gone from cookies to candy bars and they’re all weapons of mass destruction. Nutritional values for Deep Fried Oreos—they’re dunked in pancake batter and deep fat fried—are astonishing, according to 890 calories for a tray of five (how they’re served), with about half of those calories from fat, and 50.9 grams of sugar. A deep-fat-fried Mars bar is 620 calories with 34 grams of fat. A 2014 study by researchers at Glasgow University in Scotland—where the deep fried candy bar was invented—found that within 90 minutes of eating one of these treats, blood flow to the brain was reduced enough to “modestly” increase the risk of stroke.

5. Popcorn may be a dieter’s go-to snack, but don’t be fooled by kettle corn, which is sweetened with sugar. A 10-ounce bag, like the kind you get at a fair or carnival, is 1,200 calories with 30 grams of fat, says

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6. A corn dog you buy frozen and heat at home is a surprisingly lower calorie treat, just 195 calories and 9.38 grams of fat, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s nutritional database. But at the fair, where these hot dogs caked in corn bread are jumbo, make that 375 calories and 21 grams of fat, according to

So with all the slim-down sabotage that could go on at the carnival, what’s a fair-goer to do? If you plan to go to the carnival, follow these three tips: Make sure to load up on healthier options throughout the day so you aren’t ravenous when you get there, be sure to bring along a water bottle to keep hydrated and full, and focus on the fun instead of the food!

*Foods with nutritional estimates from are not accessible in the USDA database. All nutritional estimates were taken from the noted websites between May 20-24, 2016.