Dietitian's Take On McDonald's Cheeseburgers Isn't What You'd Expect

The unexpected take is that dietitians would condescend to consider the McDonald's cheeseburger as one of the healthier options on the McDonald's menu. Talking to Eat This, Not That!, registered dietitian Amy Goodson points out the cheeseburger has 15 grams of protein and only 300 calories, making it a better choice if you are craving a burger. In a similar piece for Shape, registered dietitian Sharon Zarabi pushes more for the regular burger as you will still get 12 grams of protein and 280 calories. However, if you want cheese, it won't be the end of things.

However, Zarabi's next bit of advice strikes at the problem of these articles. Namely, she says that if you are health conscious, you should remove the bun and introduce the meat into a salad setting. It's an admittance that the cheeseburger is a healthy option once you have limited your range to ordering from McDonald's, that you can have the indulgence without it being a travesty. However, to present their take on the menu as a promise for a healthy time at McDonald's is misleading.

The health is rather relative

A glance at what McDonald's shares as the cheeseburger's nutritional value shows that while the caloric and protein content the chain takes care to highlight are the same as lauded by dietitians, the sodium content slips underneath. A single patty McDonald's cheeseburger without fries or a soda contains 720 milligrams of sodium. A fact that Mashed has beaten to death, reanimated, and beaten to death once more is that the American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day and an ideal limit of 1,500 milligrams. So, by eating the McDonald's cheeseburger (which, again, does not account for the sides and such you will consume with it), already sets you on track to blast by the ideal limit and easily exceed the recommended maximum. Regular excess in this regard can lead to various issues, the most notable ones being heart attacks.

In this section, however, it is worth remembering that this worry is about regular intake. You can still treat yourself on occasion and when you do so, following the health advice of Goodson and Zarabi could prove very helpful. However, you should remember that such advice is about how to indulge in a responsible manner, not how to structure your diet.