You’ve heard a million times that fast food is horrible for your health… But how bad can a burger such as the Big Mac be?
According to an infographic created by Fast Food Menu Price, pretty darn bad.
Among other things, the iconic burger dehydrates you, raises your blood sugar, and makes you feel hungry just 40 minutes after eating it. Just take a look at the infographic below:
Here’s what you can expect:
In the first 10 minutes: The Big Mac (and its 540 calories) raises your blood sugar to abnormal levels. Junk food like the Big Mac triggers your brain’s reward system by releasing “feel-good” chemicals, such as the neurotransmitter dopamine. The process works in a similar way to the reaction you’d get after taking a drug like cocaine and raises the likelihood of compulsive eating.
After 20 minutes: The Big Mac’s bun has high levels of high-fructose corn syrup and sodium — both of which are addictive and make your body crave more.
After 30 minutes: The burger’s 970 milligrams of sodium can cause dehydration. The symptoms of dehydration are similar to those of hunger, tricking you into thinking you want more food. Your kidneys have trouble eliminating the salt, and your heart has to work faster to pump blood through your veins. This can cause high blood pressure and can ultimately lead to heart disease and stroke.
After 40 minutes: You start to feel hungry again. When you eat a high-calorie meal, your body’s insulin response can bring down your glucose levels, causing you to want to eat more. The bun’s high-fructose corn syrup is quickly absorbed by your GI tract, creating insulin spikes and even bigger hunger pangs.
After 60 minutes: Your body typically takes 24 to 72 hours to digest food, but burgers can take more time because they are greasier. The Big Mac can take more than three days to fully digest.
Some controversy does exist on the facts presented, but it is agreed that overall, a Big Mac should never be considered to be a ‘health food.’ And really, just take a look at the ingredients in a Big Mac.
“Everyone’s body has a different blood sugar and insulin response. Because there is also a significant amount of fat in a Big Mac, it may slow down the conversion of the carbs into glucose that travel through the blood stream.”
Source IFLScience agrees (though does think some facts are exaggerated) and notes that the amount of sodium, poor quality carbohydrates (white bread, high-fructose corn syrup), and high amount of fat are anything but healthy.
Simply put, a Big Mac is not a nutritious food, and should never be mistaken as such. If you or someone you know indulges in the calorie-dense frankenfood often, perhaps it’s time to re-think that habit. Plenty of healthy alternatives exist, and plant-based restaurants are popping up everywhere, offering delicious, more nutritious fare at similar prices.
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