Big Mac Nutrition – The Anatomy of a Typical Fast Food Meal

We’ve all been there — after a long day, all you want to do is curl up with some greasy fast food. There’s a McDonald’s on virtually every street corner it seems, so you pop in quick and pick up a large Big Mac combo meal (what? It was only a dollar more!)

We all know that fast food is unhealthy. But how many of us have actually stopped to examine how much CRAP is really in these greasy, delicious cheeseburgers?

That’s exactly what I’m going to do for you guys today. Just for fun, let’s dive in and see how much calories, sodium, fat, and sugar are in your basic Large Big Mac combo meal (a Big Mac, a large 32 oz Coke, and a large fry). Shall we begin?

Calories

550 from sandwich + 260 from large Coke + 500 from large fries = 1,330 total calories

big mac nutrition

Image credit: Simon Miller, Flickr

You got it, buddy — 1,330 total calories in this one meal from McDonald’s. And believe it or not, the Big Mac’s not even the worst sandwich on the menu! Based on a 2,000 calorie diet (which is the norm for most individuals), this one blissful (or not) meal’s calorie reading rings up at 66% of your allowance. Hope you weren’t planning on eating much for the rest of the day. You’re pretty much eating empty calories with a meal like this — lots of calories and not much nutritional value aside from a little protein in the patty.

A low-cal meal alternative: 1 regular cheeseburger (300 calories) + side salad with low-fat Italian dressing (80 calories) + water (0 calories baby) = 380 calories

Fat

29 grams (10 g saturated) from sandwich + 25 grams (2.5 g saturated) from fries = 54 total grams of fat (13.5 grams saturated fat)

And in this corner, ringing in at 83% of your daily fat intake, is the large Big Mac combo meal! Brace yourselves because I’m about to rock your world with this little nugget of wisdom:  fast food is high in fat. I know, right? Who knew! Seriously though, consuming foods that are this high in fat can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. High blood pressure can actually disqualify you from getting (or renewing) your CDL, so don’t take this risk lightly. The sandwich itself has 1 gram of trans fat (BAD fat!) — you’re only supposed to have 2 max in a day (preferably none — here’s a good article on why trans fats are a no-no).

Sodium

970 mg from sandwich + 5 mg from Coke + 350 mg from large fries = 1,320 mg sodium

Sodium is one of the biggest contributors to fast food’s unhealthiness. This entire meal makes up 55% of a normal sodium allowance, and 88% for those who are on low-sodium diets for high blood pressure. Unfortunately, there’s not really a way to avoid high-sodium at fast food places as it’s pretty much standard practice for keeping items preserved and making them easier to process. Not to mention, Americans have just become accustomed to ridiculous levels of salt in our food. Too much sodium makes it difficult for your kidneys to remove it all, so it remains in your body and accumulates, making your heart work harder to pump blood through. This can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes.

Sugar

9 g from sandwich + 76 g from Coke = 85 g sugar

And finally…sugar. This large Big Mac combo meal has 85 grams of sugar — 236% of your daily sugar allowance. Hope you have good dental and medical insurance, because with a daily habit like this, you’re going to need them! This much refined sugar will cause your blood sugar to spike first, but drop rapidly, leaving you sleepy and turning you into Mr. Grumpy Gills.


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About Amanda

Amanda is a former digital communications coordinator and frequent blogger for the TheHealthyTrucker.net, a website focused on truck driver health initiatives. Our mission is to encourage truck drivers to embrace a healthier lifestyle by providing both expert advice and real world experiences. Let us be your co-driver on the road to a healthier, happier life!