Craving a Big Mac? It may take a while for your body to get those two all-beef patties, special sauce, et cetera, out of your system. An infographic that has ignited social media purports to break down what happens in your body in the first hour after eating McDonald's signature burger.
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The infographic, created by the website Fastfoodmenuprice.com, claims that within the first 10 minutes of digesting the burger, your body releases "feel-good chemicals" such as dopamine, which ignite feelings of pleasure and work similarly to drugs like cocaine. The 540-calorie burger allegedly raises your blood sugar to "abnormal" levels.
It claims that after 30 minutes, the high sodium levels can spur dehydration with "symptoms that closely mimic those of hunger." Those feelings of hunger can make you think you need to eat again, according to the site.
The site claims that it takes longer to digest hamburgers than other foods because they are greasier and the 1.5 grams of trans fat in the Big Mac can take 51 days to digest.
But this is what nutritionists have to say
The infographic provides "false, far-reaching conclusions," says Jessica Crandall, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
She points out that the claims that sodium and high fructose corn syrup are addictive and can lead to obesity are not true. "There are many causes of obesity but based off of science, sodium has not been one of the causes, nor one specific carbohydrate source. Rather it has been documented that lack of activity and calorie excess can cause obesity."
In addition, Crandall says although 970 mg of sodium is more than she'd generally recommend for one meal, that amount of sodium wouldn't lead to clinical dehydration (and later heart disease and stroke). You could, she said, make it fit into your daily 2,400 mg of sodium if you cut back elsewhere.
A healthy person wouldn't have problems with blood sugar and should be able to handle the carbohydrates in this meal, unless he or she were diabetic, says Crandall. "It would be better if the bun was whole grain but still — once again this claim made in the info graphic is so far-reaching."
The infographic is accurate, but exaggerated, says St. Louis-based registered dietitian Marilyn Tanner-Blaiser.
"I think the information is accurate, but taken to a whole different level," says Tanner-Blaiser, study coordinator at the Washington University School of Medicine. "Everyone metabolizes foods differently — depending on their age, gender, activity level and size. Someone that has pre-existing diseases such as both type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as HTN (hypertension), yes, these are issues."
Tanner-Blaiser points out that the key is balance, variety and moderation.
"Occasionally you can eat it, but do it remembering to eat it slow and enjoy the taste and watch what you are eating the rest of the day."