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How Long Does it Take to Digest a Big Mac?

Tim Boyer's picture
What happens when you eat a Big Mac

Do you ever have one of those days when you can feel a Big Mac Attack coming on? Well, here’s some info about what that Big Mac is doing to your body along with just how long it really takes to fully digest one.


If you are like many dieters, living with food regret after a meal is one of the realities of dieting. Take fast food burgers for example. Not only is that regret psychological regret for having caved-in to one of our basest of gastronomical desires, but physiological as well when our body reacts unfavorably to a junk food barrage that make us want to go back for more.

So, if you need a reminder of why we really should not cave-in to that next Big Mac attack, here’s an interesting take on what happens one hour after eating a Big Mac that was posted recently on the website fastfoodmenuprice.com.

What Happens One Hour After Eating a Big Mac

The First 10 minutes―The first 10 minutes following a Big Mac you’ve just willing assaulted your body with an added calorie count of approximately 540 calories of mostly bad fats. Plus, you’ve just initiated a blood-glucose spike that is abnormally high. But you know what? Your brain doesn’t care! At least not for the moment because it is experiencing the high of feel-good hormones like dopamine that are part of the reward system response that makes a Big Mac attack so desirable…and addictive.

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After 20 minutes―Twenty minutes into the burger that addiction grows even stronger because the bun consists of high-fructose corn syrup and sodium triggering your body’s cravings into wanting more and convincing you to add an order of fries to that meal.

After 30 minutes―Thirty minutes later, if you haven’t ordered a soda to wash that burger down, you’re going to want one now! A Big Mac contains a whopping 970 milligrams of sodium that is sucking water from your tissues so that your kidneys can flush that excess salt that’s entered your bloodstream. And not only is all that sodium stressing your kidneys, your heart is forced to pump harder and your blood pressure is rising putting you at risk of heart disease and even stroke.

After 40 minutes―By this time your blood-sugar levels are way out of whack and your body is doing its best to knockdown those sugar levels by over-spiking the insulin release. The result of this response is that even though you’ve just eaten a Big Mac, your body is beginning to feel hungry again due to the uncontrolled release of hunger hormones that is adding to the chemical mess your body is already in.

After 60 minutes―According to the article by fastfoodmenuprice.com, the digestion of that Big Mac is actually taking a lot longer than the normal 24 to 72 hours it takes to digest most other foods. This is in part due to the presence of trans fats which they state can take up to 51 days for the body to fully digest. The Big Mac as it turns out packs 1.5 grams of greasy trans fats that adds to your risk of developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes…and even cancer.

The take-home message is that while it is relatively safe to cave-in and consume the occasional Big Mac, you need to be aware that there’s a lot going on in your body that goes with each bite that we need occasional reminding of to help us steer away from that fast food drive-thru lane.

For more about what the calorie cost of that meal is, here is an informative article titled, “Do you know the calorie count of your McDonald’s meal?”

Reference: “What Happens One Hour After Eating A Big Mac?” www.fastfoodmenuprice.com