Be it a quick small lunch break or too tired to cook after work, we often eat burgers when we don’t have much time. They’re easily found, very affordable and are extremely delicious. However, hamburgers have a bad reputation because most of them are high in fat and calories. They’re usually excluded from the menu of people who want to eat healthy.
If you tend to overeat on burgers, they would probably have a negative effect on your body.
- However, by eating burgers in moderation, you can get some health benefits from them
- On the other hand, there are some findings that show that burgers are really unhealthy
- Nutritional Facts for Popular Burgers
- How to Eat Healthy in a Fast Food Restaurant
However, by eating burgers in moderation, you can get some health benefits from them
CLA or conjugated linoleic acid
This fatty acid fights cancer growth, prevents inflammatory diseases, enhances weight loss and impedes weight gain. This acid is found in bigger quantities in meat from grass-fed animals. Grass-fed beef also has lower fat content compared to regular beef.
Protein is extremely important for our health. Since cells break it down on a regular basis and require constant replacement, it’s essential to provide enough protein for our body so that cells can be replaced at a healthy rate. A 3-ounce burger contains 90% lean ground beef provides us with 21.4g of protein out of the 50g daily recommendation.
Several vitamins can be found in burgers too. Vitamins from the B group turn food into energy and also help in the development of red blood cells. Hamburgers contain 2.5mg of vitamin B12, which is 100% of the recommended daily intake. Deficiency in vitamin B12 can cause anemia, numbness, weakness, foggy thinking and loss of balance. Hamburgers also contain other vitamins such as B6, vitamins E and K. They also have riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folate.
B6 is required for major functions such as movement, memory, energy expenditure and blood flow. This vitamin also helps to keep the nervous system healthy, makes hemoglobin, balances sugar levels, boosts mood, creates antibodies and acts as a natural pain killer.
Vitamin E balances cholesterol and prevents the development of certain diseases. This vitamin is a natural anti-aging nutrient, repairs damaged skin and makes hair thicker. It also balances hormones, improves vision, physical endurance and muscle strength.
Vitamin K plays an important role in keeping the heart healthy. It decreases the chance of cardiac arrest since it maintains healthy blood pressure. It improves bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. It also fights cancer, helps blood to clot and improves brain function. It also keeps your gums and teeth healthy.
Hamburgers contain plenty of minerals. Zinc is the most abundant and a 3-ounce burger has 5.4mg of zinc, which is 36% of the recommended daily intake. It improves athletic performance and strength, supports male and female reproductive health and fertility, prevents cancer and boosts immune system, improves heart health, improves sleep, cognition and energy levels.
Iron and magnesium are found in meat. Iron participates in the formation of hemoglobin. Muscle and brain functions also depend on it. It regulates body temperature and is an oxygen carrier. The health benefits of magnesium include boosting energy, production of the so called ‘happy hormones’ which calm nerves and anxiety. It improves sleep and helps digestion, relieves muscle aches and spasms like cramps, contraction and weakness. Magnesium is important for heart health and prevents migraines. It also plays important role in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Though burgers can provide some nutrients, remember to only consume them occasionally to get the maximum health benefits out of them.
On the other hand, there are some findings that show that burgers are really unhealthy
Burger contain things that are really harmful for your health.
It is used to kill bacteria in a mechanically separated meat product which serves as filler in cheap ground beef burgers. Though some fast food companies have stopped using it, ammonia, which is extremely harmful for the body, is still widely used in the food processing industry.
Trans fat, a natural component of meat, raises cholesterol levels and can lead to heart diseases. So be aware not to overeat meat. Most fast food chains sell food which contain between 0.5 and 2.5 grams of the unhealthy fat. Besides that, some food chains sell burgers with up to 50g of total fat. This is almost two times more than the daily recommendation intake. The daily recommendation intake for fats is 18 to 31g.
A single burger can reach over 1,000 calories. Fries only add additional calories and fats. Overeating on both burgers and fries can lead to weight gain and heart problems.
Food additives like sodium phosphate and nitrates are widely used among food establishments and manufacturers. The additives serve different purposes. They can provide meat with structure and preserve the meat for longer period of time. Although most of them are considered safe for consumption, they have been linked to side effects in some people.
- Waste and by-products
The ground beef used to make burgers doesn’t contain only meat. Actually, it contains waste and by-products. By-products used in burgers include cartilage, nerve and connective tissues and bones.
A burger may contain 500mg to 4,000mg of sodium. The daily recommendation for sodium is 1,500mg although the upper limit may vary up to 2,300mg. The amount of sodium in one burger can be twice of that. Sodium overdose may cause abdominal pain, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, shortness of breath, headaches and increased blood pressure.
Usually, burgers contain additional ingredients. Sugar, fat and calories are abundant in toppings. Ketchup contains high fructose corn syrup and a slice of cheese adds up to 500mg of sodium.
Nutritional Facts for Popular Burgers
|Serving size: 1 sandwich||Fat||Carbs||Protein||Calories|
|Ground beef hamburger||17g||1g||18g||230|
|Spicy black bean burger||4g||13g||11g||120|
How to Eat Healthy in a Fast Food Restaurant
- Eat no more than 500 calories meal.
- Try to stick to food that contains less fat and more protein and fiber.
Avoid supersized meals.
- Pay attention to the descriptions of the products and avoid foods that are deep-fried, pan-fried, breaded or are crispy.
- Don’t consume food that comes with a lot of condiments and dressings – that adds more calories to your meal.
- Watch what you drink. Avoid soda since it contains a lot of sugar and calories. Usually, all drinks offered by fast food chains contain added sugar which can be up to 120g. Stick to water or unsweetened tea and coffee.
- Don’t order French fries. They’re deep fried and only add extra calories.
- Bacon is not a good choice. Processed meat has few nutrients, high fat content and plenty of calories. Still want to add flavor to your meal? Switch to pickles, onions, lettuce, tomatoes or mustard.