Here’s, minute by minute, what eating McDonald’s does to your body in just one hour

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that McDonald’s shouldn’t be part of your daily diet.

A favorite across the country, it’s undeniably delicious and flavorful.

How eating a Big Mac, medium fries, and a medium strawberry milkshake affects the body for over an hour


How eating a Big Mac, medium fries, and a medium strawberry milkshake affects the body for over an hour

An expert has explained exactly why Maccie’s is getting a bad rap.

Nutritionist Helen Bond gave the example of a Big Mac, medium fries, and a medium strawberry milkshake at nearly 1,200 calories.

In the first few minutes after eating, you will probably only feel satisfied.

Here’s what happens in the hour that follows – and it may surprise you that it’s not too bad.

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15 minutes

After you eat, your blood sugar will rise in response.

How dramatically it rises and falls depends on the foods you eat. Carbohydrates alone are likely to cause a large, rapid blood sugar response.

Sharp spikes in blood sugar are unhealthy in the long term, linked to obesity, inflammation and diabetes.

Helen told The Sun: “Blood sugar (glucose) levels start to rise within about 15 to 20 minutes after eating a high carbohydrate meal.

“It’s even faster with sugary carbs without fiber.

“Surprisingly, this meal has about 8g of fiber — mostly down to the potatoes for the fries, burger bun, and accompanying salad.”

Eating the fries alone would quickly raise blood sugar levels.

But even though a Big Mac meal is high in carbs, it contains fat and protein from the burger, gravy, and cheese.

“[This] would slow its absorption and reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes,” Helen said.

“But it’s also high in fat, saturated fat, sugar and calories, and doesn’t necessarily make you feel full longer.” It is neither healthy nor balanced.”

20 minutes

Helen said greasy food like McDonald’s “can trigger heartburn after eating in sensitive people.”

Heartburn and heartburn can start anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour after eating.

And it can take up to two hours.

Eating a Big Mac too close to bedtime can spell disaster if you close your eyes.

30 minutes

Salt is another concern in this meal, providing just over half your recommended maximum 6g of pressor salt.

Helen explained why too much salt puts a strain on the body.

She said: “Often people who are more prone to salt suffer from water retention, so some people often feel quite swollen or bloated after eating fast food.

“That’s because your kidneys are trying to maintain balance in your body – by retaining extra water to compensate for the extra salt you’ve eaten.

“This increased water retention can cause swelling and cause you to weigh more than usual.

“Eating a salty meal can also make you feel thirsty because it upsets the balance of fluid in your cells and minerals in your body, making you want to drink more.”

Gas can also occur from trying to digest so much junk or from eating those fries too quickly.

Helen explained, “Fast food like this Maccy-D’s dish is very palatable, which means we eat it quickly and it doesn’t require a lot of chewing – which can cause bloating.”

50 minutes

Helen said you could have a sugar crash about an hour after eating a maccies, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish.

This is especially true if your chosen items are lacking in fiber, protein, or fat.

Helen said: “You’re going to get a sugar rush [blood sugar spike] and your pancreas responds by producing more insulin. You get a real insulin peak.

“It can affect things like your focus and your mood, maybe you feel full in the afternoon.

“The body will get a lot of glucose from the original meal, but if it’s not used immediately, it will be stored as fat.”

One hour

Helen said to counteract the insulin release, the body will start looking for more energy – cue starvation.

As you can see, a rapid blood sugar response throws you into a train of crashes and cravings.

You are likely to get hungrier faster and cause a slower release of sugar into the bloodstream compared to a more balanced meal.

After getting through the heartburn, thirst, gas, and sugar high of a McDonald’s, you’re shocked to find you want more of it.

Helen said: “The combination of very tasty fast food and tasty nutrients like sugar and fat, which activates the brain’s reward centers, can stimulate cravings for more of the same type of food once hunger returns.”

Over time

The occasional treat from Maccy’s is nothing to worry about.

But if you get stuck in a junk food craving loop, Helen warned of the long-term effects (which you probably already know).

She said: “If the meal contains far more carbohydrates and sugars than your cells need for energy during exercise or everyday tasks, your body will eventually turn excess into fat.

“Too much stored fat, especially visceral fat (which wraps around your vital organs), can lead to serious health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease over time.”

Is a Big Mac meal bad for you?

“A medium-sized Big Mac meal with fries and a strawberry milkshake tastes delicious but provides 1186 calories — that’s more than half the calories and almost 70 percent the fat the average woman should have in a full day,” said Helen.

“Serving size matters — get the fries big and you’re adding an extra 107 calories.”


Helen said: “This meal provides a whopping 15g of cholesterol-raising saturated fat (the same amount as in three of those little packets of butter you find in restaurants) and 75 percent of the recommended daily maximum.”

The good news is that the fries are made with non-hydrogenated vegetable oils and are therefore low in trans fats, which are the worst type of dietary fat linked to heart disease.


“Salt is another problem. This meal provides just over half your recommended 6g maximum of pressor salt,” Helen said.

“There’s good news on fries – potatoes are a natural source of immune-boosting vitamin C and energy-releasing B1, as well as the mineral potassium, which helps counteract the effects of salt in the body.”


Helen said: “If you wash down your Big Mac and fries with a high-sugar strawberry milkshake, you’ll also tip right over the recommended daily maximum of free ‘added’ sugar – that’s no more than 30g for adults and children aged 11 and over [roughly seven sugar cubes].

“Drinking just one medium-sized strawberry milkshake easily exceeds that amount of free sugar — it contains about 11 teaspoons of added sugar (57g in one medium).

“Although the milkshake contains a lot of sugar, its absorption is slowed down due to the protein and fat content.”


“On the plus side, surprisingly, there’s about 8g of fiber in this ‘Maccy-D’s’ meal – mainly down to the potatoes to make the fries, burger bun and accompanying salad, which combined with the protein content of the meal will help you.” feel fuller longer,” Helen said. Here’s, minute by minute, what eating McDonald’s does to your body in just one hour

Sarah Y. Kim

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