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How healthy is a Big Mac?

Here's what you need to know...
  • McDonald’s first opened its doors in 1967
  • The Big Mac has over 590 calories and 34 grams of fat
  • Moderation is key when eating fast food

In America, fast food is very popular and the Big Mac is one of the most popular items no matter where you live. A Big Mac is a sandwich that has been offered by the fast food chain McDonald’s since 1967. Considered to be a signature item, it is made up of two beef patties, lettuce, cheese, onions, pickles, and special sauce, all served on a three-layered sesame seed bun.

Although a Big Mac is not the best choice when it comes to lunch or dinner, as with anything, moderation is key. Eating a Big Mac every once in awhile will not be too detrimental to your health, but you should balance it with other healthy options.

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What are the recommended daily nutritional allowances?

adobestock_91430028-1600x1600When determining how a Big Mac fits into your nutritional profile, you need to be aware of what the daily recommendations are for:

  • Calories
  • Fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Fiber
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Salt

For men, the average recommended amount of daily calories is 2,500. The recommended fat intake amount is 60 grams, with no more than 25 grams from saturated fat.

Protein is 60 grams, carbohydrates are 375 grams, at least 25 grams of fiber, no more than 300 mg of cholesterol and no more than 1,500 mg of sodium.

For women, the recommended value for calories is 2,000 with 50 grams protein, 65 grams fat (with no more than 20 grams from saturated fat),  and 300 grams of carbohydrates.

Women need at least 25 grams of fiber, no more than 300 mg of cholesterol and no more than 1,500 mg of sodium.

What is the nutritional profile of a Big Mac?

The amount of calories in a Big Mac is 590, with 306 of them coming from fat. The total fat is 34 grams, with 11 grams of saturated fat.

It has 47 grams of carbohydrates, with three grams from fiber and eight grams from sugars. There are 24 grams of protein in a Big Mac. It has 85 mg of cholesterol and 1070 mg of sodium.

If you are eating a diet of around 2,000 calories a day, a Big Mac provides 52 percent of fat, 55 percent of your recommended daily intake of saturated fat, 16 percent of your carbohydrates, 12 percent of your fiber intake, 28 percent of your daily cholesterol, and 45 percent of your total sodium.

What is good about a Big Mac?

adobestock_91792166-1600x1600Although a Big Mac is not the healthiest option, there are some decent things about it. It provides three grams of fiber and is a decent source of protein.

It provides 30 percent of your recommended daily calcium intake and 25 percent of your recommended iron. It also provides six percent of your daily vitamin C and six percent of your daily vitamin A.

You can make a Big Mac better for you if you order it without cheese and special sauce, as these are sources of a lot of the fat and cholesterol. It is also a better meal choice if you order it without fries and a soda.

How does a Big Mac compare to other fast food sandwiches?

Although the Big Mac is not an extremely healthy choice, many fast food joints are serving burgers that are a lot worse nutritionally speaking.

There are also others that rank higher on the nutritional scale. Some of the better choices for fast food burgers are:

  • The Whopper Jr (no cheese) from Burger King with only 370 calories and only 6 grams of saturated fat
  • The low-carb thickburger from Hardee’s with 420 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates
  • The junior bacon cheeseburger at 430 calories
  • The bacon cheeseburger from White Castle with only 200 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 5 grams of saturated fat

The sad thing is that there are a lot more fast food burgers that contain a lot more calories and fat than the Big Mac. One of the worst is the double six-dollar burger from Carl’s Jr.

It contains 1,520 calories and 111 grams of fat. The amount of fat in that one sandwich is more than anyone should have in an entire day. Many of the other burgers from fast food restaurants contain more than 700 calories and have more than 40 grams of fat.

Is there a way to eat healthy at fast food restaurants?

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If you are looking for ways to eat healthier at fast food restaurants, there are a few things to keep in mind. Most fast food establishments now offer a few healthier items such as salads, grilled chicken sandwiches, and yogurt.

If you are craving a burger, often a single regular burger is fairly low in calories and fat. Stay away from cheese and mayo or other sauce. The biggest reasons for the high caloric and fat contents of some of the sandwiches include:

  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Sauces
  • Multiple patties and buns

You can also opt to stay away from fast food altogether, which is probably the best solution instead of trying to find the best fast food to eat.

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