Healthy Conversion: Big Mac

Big Mac

Like McDonald’s but concerned about nutrition?  Try this healthy Big Mac recipe               by Don’t Just Diet:

  • 1 whole-grain bun (sometimes I indulge in a potato roll b/c they’re just so delicious)
  • 1 Boca burger patty (note: contains large amounts of gluten)*
  • ¼ cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 slice fat-free American cheese
  • 2 slices dill pickles
  • 2 tbsp healthily adapted special sauce (1/8 recipe below):
  •         1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  •         3 tablespoons fat-free French salad dressing
  •         2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish (no sugar added)
  •         1 teaspoon sugar substitute (e.g., stevia)
  •         1 teaspoon dried, minced onion
  •         1 teaspoon white vinegar
  •         1 teaspoon ketchup

Boca Big Mac

McDonald’s Big Mac DJD Healthy Big Mac
Serving size 1 burger 1 burger
Calories 550 295
Total fat 29 g 2 g
Saturated fat 10 g 0 g
Carbohydrates 46 g 34 g
Sugar 9 g 6 g
Glycemic index 51  38
Glycemic load 23 13

* I happen to like Boca burgers b/c they are very low-fat, low-calorie and high-protein, but MorningStar Farms also makes a decent healthy burger.  These are also great with extra lean ground beef or turkey but, with a very tight schedule, I appreciate the convenience of pre-made burger patties.  Find what works best for you but be careful when selecting a burger patty- many turkey and veggie burgers contain just as much fat and as many calories as regular ground beef!

Informative: Calorie Labeling Law

calorie countsAfter years of intense arguments and deliberation, the US Food & Drug Administration has announced that Chain restaurants, vending machines, grocery stores, coffee shops and pizza joints nation-wide will have to display calorie information on their menus. The rule originates from the Obama administration’s 2010 health-care law, and is a positive step in meeting the needs of an increasingly and appropriately health-conscious nation.

Opponents claim that research suggests that calorie labeling does little to affect consumer behavior. However, results from the first and only long-term prospective study of the effect of calorie labeling were just released in Boston at Obesity Week (combined meeting of The Obesity Society and the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery) suggesting that the labeling, over time, has quite a large impact. In fact, the strategy was found effective for reducing unhealthy weight gain in college students by 50%. Further research shows that a number of restaurants have responded to the law by using lower-calorie ingredients in some of their foods. To put this in context- with everything else remaining equal, a reduction of as few as 50 calories per day would effectively halt unhealthy weight gain in the majority of individuals, including children.


Not surprisingly, groups such as The Food Marketing Institute have expressed disappointment over the ruling, citing concerns about how this ruling will impact food retailers’ bottom lines. Bear that in mind the next time you hear that food manufacturers care about our health. It was, however, good to see that the new regulation is backed by the National Restaurant Association. The Obesity Society just issues a statement commending the FDA for its ruling, and the vast majority of researcher and clinicians are strongly in favor of it, including this one.