Sometimes, you’re craving a Big Mac — and sometimes, you’re craving a Big Mac times two. Enter the Double Big Mac, which is back on McDonald’s menu beginning Jan. 24 for the first time in four years. In addition to the classic Big Mac sauce, slice of American cheese, lettuce, pickles and chopped onion, this burger contains a whopping four beef burger patties, — twice the double patty found in regular Big Macs.
For some, the meaty McDonald's treat might hit the spot, but what do health experts think? Read on to get their take, and see what this supersized sandwich might mean for your health.
How many calories are in the Double Big Mac? What are the nutrition facts?
According to the McDonald’s Canada website, the Double Big Mac clocks in at 740 calories. The average adult needs between 2,200 and 2,700 calories per day, which means this sandwich could account for about a quarter of your daily total. The burger also contains 44 grams of fat, including 16 grams of saturated fat, with 38 grams of protein and 48 grams of carbohydrates.
Erin Holley, a registered dietitian at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Yahoo Life that it’s no surprise this burger contains more fat and protein than a typical burger, given its four beef patties. It’s also these macronutrients that will keep diners satisfied, which is a plus if you’re going a while between meals. Holley notes that "protein and fat take longer to digest, and therefore someone could expect to feel fuller for a longer period of time."
The downside of the Double Big Mac
This hearty meal does come with some reservations. Registered dietitian Marlyne Perez says that fatty red meat, such as the kind present in this burger, includes saturated fats that may lead to heightened low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. While one burger won’t raise your cholesterol levels immediately upon eating it, a diet rich in saturated fats can affect LDL cholesterol. This is important because LDL cholesterol can “adhere to blood vessel walls, leading to their narrowing and stiffening, thereby amplifying the risk of heart attack or stroke,” Perez tells Yahoo Life.
Christopher Gardner, professor of medicine at Stanford Medicine and director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, notes to Yahoo Life that what this burger lacks is also a problem, as there are only 3 grams of fiber in the Double Big Mac. That makes sense, since this product contains just a small amount of shredded lettuce and onions and no whole grains, which tend to contribute the greatest amount of fiber to our diet. As Gardner points out that “not getting enough fiber contributes to high cholesterol, and makes it more challenging to control blood sugar.”
One other thing to consider, Perez says, is that these burgers are often full of sodium, which can adversely affect blood pressure. In this case, the Double Big Mac has a whopping 1,020 milligrams of sodium. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says people should get no more than 2,300 milligrams per day.
Should you order the Double Big Mac?
Many dietitians and nutritionists will tell you that all foods fit in a healthy diet, and Holley agrees that it’s OK to enjoy a Double Big Mac. “I like the 80/20 rule as a general guideline with eating,” she explains. “Aim to eat healthy, balanced meals and snacks 80% of the time, and allow for fun treats or other foods to fit in about 20% of the time.”
Perez says that it’s also important to consider your goals when deciding whether or not to order this extreme burger. If you are actively pursuing weight management or at risk of a chronic condition such as heart disease, kidney disorders, liver ailments or diabetes, you may want to space out your indulgences, and make them a “monthly occurrence or less.”
Gardner, however, notes that there’s really nothing moderate about eating a Double Big Mac — the fact that it’s double the quantity of the typical sandwich alone makes it pretty extreme. “It is hard to imagine that there aren’t better things to splurge on that would bring just as much enjoyment, without being as useless or harmful to your body as a four-patty burger,” he says.