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20th Dec 2016

McDonald’s- Are You Still Loving It?


It seems most people are powerless before a Big Mac and fries. Or in fact, most things from McDonald’s. I decided to get go through the nutritional breakdown of some of the most popular items on the McDonald’s menu and was surprised by some of the things I found out.


McDonald’s, where do I begin? I personally can’t stand the place, the smell makes me queasy. I’m partial to a burger and chips, just not from a multinational fast food joint where everything is processed within an inch of its life. I’ve seen too many gruesome documentaries to ever be able to eat in any of the big chains again. However, despite the standard of food constantly improving in Dublin, you’d need a crow bar to prize a Big Mac from most people’s hands. I decided to look into the nutritional information behind the McDonald’s food, and to be fair to them they do have a website detailing all the information you could want. At first glance I didn’t think that the calorie intake of their burgers was as astonishingly high as I had expected (a hamburger has only 250 calories), but then when I bought the bloody things and saw how skimpy they are in real life compared to the ads I realised that a single hamburger realistically wouldn’t fill an adult up. When you add fries and a drink to a burger, the calories really do jack up significantly. And while the calories in each individual item may not be outrageous, the fat content is.


To break it down, the GDA of fats and calories are 2500 calories and 95g fat for men, 2000 calories and 70g fat for women and 1800 calories and 70g fat for children (aged 5 to 10). The nutritional information on the McDonald’s website are based on an average adult’s diet which they measure at 2000 calories and 67g fat a day, I have used their nutritional guidelines for measurement below. I have weighed each item’s fat content with frytex (pure fat) in front of each them.


Some fun facts about McDonalds that I found interesting…

  • There are the same amount of calories in a hamburger as in a Snickers bar. And a Snickers has more fat… Go figure. However when you look at the picture of the measly hamburger and realise nobody would ever order it without fries things change a little. When you add on your large fries and medium coke the calories jack up to 880 and contain 46% of your RDA of fat. Pretty steep considering you’ll probably be peckish again in an hour or two. And I didn’t even add in the ketchup!
  • A large portion of fries has more calories than a double cheeseburger and almost the same amount of fat. I always assumed the fries would be the body friendlier option… Nah ah ah. A large portion of fries contains 460 calories and 23g fat which is over a third of your recommended intake of fat.
  • In my mind salad is usually the healthy option but the McDonald’s Crispy Chicken Salad has more calories than their Hamburger. And while it has less calories than the McChicken Sandwich it contains more fat. I thought this was a funny one but as one of my co-workers pointed out, who on earth goes to McDonalds for a salad?
  • A 9 piece bag of Chicken Nuggets has less calories than the McChicken Sandwich but more fat. Those little nasties 31% of your GDA of fat, that’s before you add on any extras. What I thought was a bit scary was that when I went to order them I was told I could get two bags of 6 cheaper than the one bag of 9. So essentially I could get more chicken nuggets for less money, I think the girl behind the till was confused that I wasn’t excited at the prospect of getting fatter for less money.
  • I thought that a Big Mac, Large Fries and Regular Coke would be a standard enough order so decided to compile their collective nutritional information. Combined they contain 1,120 calories, 47g fat (70% of your RDA), 62% of your recommended salt intake for the day and 53% of your recommended sugar intake.

Double Cheeseburger

Calories 440 (22%)

Fat 23g (34%)

Salt 2.1g (42%)

Sugar 8g (8%)

Big Mac

Calories 490 (25%)

Fat 24g (36%)

Salt 2.1g (42%)

Sugar 8g (8%)


Calories 250 (13%)

Fat 8g (12%)

Salt 1.2g (24%)

Sugar 8g (8%)

Filet o Fish

Calories 335 (17%)

Fat 13g (19%)

Salt 1.3g (26%)

Sugar 6g (6%)

Mc Chicken Sandwich

Calories 385 (19%)

Fat 16g (24%)

Salt 1.6g (32%)

Sugar 7g (7%)

Chicken McNuggets (9)

Calories 375 (19%)

Fat 21g (31%)

Salt 0.9g (18%)

Sugar 1g (1%)

Crispy Chicken Salad

Calories 325 (16%)

Fat 17g (25%)

Salt 1.4g (28g)

Sugar 2g (2%)

Large Fries

Calories 460g (23%)

Fat 23g (34%)

Salt 0.9g (18%)

Sugar 1g (1%)

Medium Coke

Calories 170 (9%)

Fat 0g (0%)

Salt 0.1g (2%)

Sugar 42g (44%)


Everything is fine in moderation, but if your fast food habit is a frequent treat them maybe it’s worth dialling it back a little.