Aug 09

REVIEW McDonald’s Burgers – Calories and Other Stuff that Matters

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I grew up eating McDonald’s burgers.  As a teenager, I didn’t care one whit about calories, fat, sodium, or other stuff.  As a forty year-old adult, I do care about calories, fat, sodium and other stuff.  I have decided it is time to take a close look at McDonald’s combos and what they contain.  You might be surprised.

Let’s start with my favourite combo and its nutritional information (which I collected from McDonalds.ca): :

COMBO 1 – McDonald’s Big Mac, medium fries, and a medium Coke (my current grown-up favourite)

The McDonald’s Big Mac Combo

The McDonald’s Big Mac ComboCalories – 1110

Fat – 47 grams (17 for the fries and 29 for the Big Mac).  This is 72% of the Fat Daily Value.

Saturated Fat12 grams (2 for the fries, and 10 for the Big Mac)

Trans Fat0.7 grams (0.2 for the fries, and 0.5 for the Big Mac)

The total of the Daily Value for Saturated and Trans Fat is equal to 70 % of the Daily Value.

Sodium – 1300 mg (over half a teaspoon).  This equals 54% of the Daily Value.

Combo 2 – McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese, medium fries, and a medium Coke (my favourite as a teenager)

The McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese Combo

The McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese Combo

Calories – 1110 (same as Combo 1 above)

Fat – 45 grams (69% of total Daily Value).  This is slightly less that combo 1 above.

Saturated Fat – 15 grams (13 grams from the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder, 2 from the medium fries). 

Trans Fat – 1.2 grams (1 gram from the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder, 0.2 grams from the medium fries).

The total of the Daily Value for Saturated and Trans Fat is equal to 80 % of the Daily Value.  This is significantly higher than Combo 1 (above).

Sodium – 1390 mg (over half a teaspoon and higher than the value noted above in Combo 1).  This represents 58% of the Daily Value for sodium.

So far, all of these combos have been under 100% of the Daily Values for calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium.  Now let’s move on to McDonald’s Angus Bacon and Cheese Burger.  This burger was introduce in Canada a couple of months ago.  I tried it because I like Angus beef.  I found it virtually repugnant with the amount of salt put into it.   It made me thirsty just looking at it.  Here are the amazing details of this McDonalds combo:

Combo 3 – McDonald’s Angus Bacon and Cheese, medium fries, and a medium Coke

The McDonald’s Angus Bacon and Cheese Combo

The McDonald’s Angus Bacon and Cheese Combo

Calories – 1350 (the calories in this combo are  22% higher than either of the McDonald’ combos above)

Fat – 61 grams.  This is a whopping 94% of the Daily Value.  It is also almost 30% higher than the McDonald’s Big Mac Combo and almost 36% higher than the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder With Cheese Combo.

Saturated Fat – This McDonald’s combo has an incredible 21 grams of saturated fat (19 grams from the Angus Bacon and Cheese and 2 from the medium fries).  This is an almost unbelievable 75% higher than the Big Mac Combo and an equally unimpressive 40% higher than the Quarter Pounder combo. 

Trans Fat – The amount of trans fat in this combo is an astonishing 1.7 grams (1.5 from the Angus Bacon and Cheese and 0.2 from the medium fries).

The total amount of the recommended Daily Value of this Combo is an alarming 113%.  You know very clearly and definitively with this combo that you are in taking more than the maximum daily values for saturated and trans fats.  I do not think that any doctor would recommend this as a long term diet option.

Sodium – This combo contains 2270 grams of sodium (almost a complete teaspoonful).  By far the largest contributor to this sodium count is the bun (at 650 mg).  McDonald’s, why can’t you make a bun with less salt in it?  This sodium content is also much higher than the other two McDonald’s combos.

Conclusion

I still do love the occasional visit to McDonald’s.  As an older man with a young daughter, however, I feel that it is smart to limit my intake.  The nutritional information of the McDonald’s Angus Bacon and Cheese burger rather surprises me though, considering how much attention is paid nowadays to heart health and morbid obesity.  Why did McDonald’s choose to make their burgers less instead of more healthy?  As I stated earlier, the Angus Bacon and Cheese was almost too salty as to be almost inedible (I only took a few bites before throwing it away).

I don’t get it when people say the they “can’t afford to eat well” as they whip the family through a McDonald’s drive in and pay over thirty dollars for a meal for four.  Have you tried making your own food?  My mom makes a great tuna and pasta and vegetable salad for about five or six bucks that lasts me for four to five delicious meals.  I make a great quinoa and bean salad for about four dollars that can also last me for about five meals.  You can eat well, and more cheaply, by doing it yourself.   The list goes on and on.  Making your own food is always cheaper and normally better for you.

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Frugal dad – focusing my money and energy towards happiness and the things that matter most since around 1985.

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