Nutritionist Breaks Down Everything Wrong With The Whopper

You probably know that eating Burger King's Whopper isn't like eating, say, a kale and quinoa bowl. It's a calorie bomb, for sure: your entry-level Whopper is over 600 calories — that's without fries or other add-ons — and leveling up to a Double Whopper or Triple Whopper compounds the caloric damage (according to Burger King's website). But not everyone's on a diet! Some people may even want to gain some weight. And, anyway, is a Whopper really that bad for you?

Oh, is it. And let nutritionist Serena Poon count the ways. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, she explained that this big burger's saturated fat, sodium levels and protein content all could have health implications that go beyond not looking svelte for bathing suit season. "Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, one Whopper — sans cheese — contains about 60% of your daily value for fat and saturated fat, 40% of your daily value for sodium, and 56% of your daily value for protein," Poon said. "Eating a diet that is high in saturated fat can cause high cholesterol, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke."

The big burger's palate appeal is largely due to its saltiness, which is also one of Poon's concerns with this particular BK entrée: "Eating a diet that is high in sodium can lead to bloating, high blood pressure, and again increase the risk of heart disease and stroke," she explained.

Eating Whoppers may make you sick to your stomach

Maybe you're young and healthy and words like "cholesterol" and "heart disease" makes your eyes glaze over — you want to enjoy life now, not worry about how tonight's dinner is going to impact you when you're older. But Poon pointed out that there's a short-term problem that can pop up from your fast-food indulgence: indigestion. That's right: eating Burger King's most famous sandwich can lead to unhappy times on the porcelain throne. 

"The ingredients in fast food meals tend to be processed, which can be disruptive to your gut health," Poon explained, adding that they may damage to your microbiome, which is the balance of bacteria in your gut. "A healthy microbiome is crucial to the health of your digestion, immune system, adrenals, and even mental health," she continued.

While most of us think of protein as healthy, the extremely high levels of protein that are in the Whopper may also send your microbiome out of whack. "Eating too much protein can cause health problems such as inflammatory issues and an imbalance of your gut microbiome," Poon said. 

Should you never eat a BK Whopper?

Knowing what we know now — that the Burger King Whopper packs in a whopping amount of calories, saturated fat, sodium and protein — does that mean you should abstain from the flame-broiled delicacy... forever? Poon stopped short of outright banning BK Whoppers and instead urged moderation.

"My advice would be that if you are going to eat fast food, do so without guilt, but make sure to balance your intake with plant-forward meals and plant-rich foods," she said."If you're eating a diet that is overall rich in wholesome plant foods and also regularly moving your body, a little fast food on occasion isn't something to worry about."

Poon added that it's a good idea to take stock of how frequently you're eating food that isn't exactly wholesome. Is your Whopper a once-a-month treat, and the rest of the time you're sipping bone broth and eating salads? Or are you hitting up the BK drive-thru today because yesterday, you had McDonald's, and tomorrow is Taco Bell Tuesday? "You want to be mindful of the quantity and frequency of any fast food intake and make sure to consume in light moderation, as an excess of processed foods can lead to a number of health problems," Poon said.