A Big Mac Takes Three Days To Digest, According To Infographic

26/09/2015 4:23 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Mcdonalds Big Mac beefburger

Have you ever heard of a McDonalds Hangover? No? Well, if you’re anything like the average Aussie, you’ve had one in the last week.

According to our trusty source of sardonic cultural definitions, the Urban Dictionary, a McDonald’s Hangover is “the shitty feeling you get straight after eating a McDonalds meal, usually coupled with a 'still hungry' feeling”.

So what is in this so called ‘food’ that makes us feel full, sick and hungry at the same time?

An infographic released by Fast Food Menu Price, says the additives, sugar and fat is to blame.

big mac

The infographic explains how a Big Mac gives us dopamine releases addictive enough to rival cocaine, dehydration from the excess sodium (that’s salt) and a drop in blood sugar which makes you feel hungry.

Fair enough. We all know Macca’s is no superfood, and when you were stuffing your face with it at 3am this morning it’s unlikely you were thinking about your health.

But what really grossed us out was when the graphic claimed that a Big Mac takes your body more than three days to digest. 3 days!

That’s longer than it takes to climb the highest mountain in South East Asia. Or complete a juice cleanse. Or watch every episode of Game of Thrones. Or travel to the freaking Moon.

Since we’re not ones to take nutrition advice from a pretty graphic on the internet, we consulted the experts to get the facts.

According to Sydney based dentist and health writer, Dr Steven Lin, it should take your body around 24-72 hours to digest your food. Which, for those who need to brush up on their maths, is one to three days.

“Food from natural, whole sources should generally digest within this timeframe, however it's when we put processed food into our digestive system that the problems begin to occur,” he told The Huffington Post Australia.

So the problem a Big Mac has less to do with how long it takes to digest, but what it is doing to your insides while to does.

“The most important thing to appreciate with digestion, is that you’re not just eating for yourself, you’re eating for trillions of guests that live within your digestive system,” Dr Lin said.

“Processed food (like this Big Mac) is often devoid of fibre due to the industrialised processes stripping away natural chemical structure that fibre is delivered in. If you eat lots of fresh, whole vegetables, nuts and seeds in your diet you’ll ensure your gut microbes are happy and balanced.

“A Big Mac is a cocktail of refined sugar, flour, trans fat and salt that your gut microbes have not evolved to digest,” he said.

Nutritionist Lyndi Polivnick told The Huffington Post Australia there’s a lot of confusion around digestion because different people digest food at different rates.

“Some people might take 12 hours, some might take a few days,” she said.

“Between different foods, it would be a marginal difference -- and it all depends on the type of fibre, the amount of protein, what other foods you’re combining it with”.

So how often can we indulge in a Happy Meal and still keep a happy tummy?

“One or two times per week is ideal -- that’s what would be considered moderation,” Polivnick told HuffPost Australia.

“So a burger would be one treat, or an ice cream. A normal sized piece of cake. 50g of chocolate.

And a Macca’s meal complete with fries and a drink?

“Well, that would be considered three treats,” she said.

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