The shocking amount of calories in a Thanksgiving dinner vs McDonald’s



Fall isn’t the stereotypical time for dieting, with Halloween candy and roasted marshmallows, roasted meats and rivers of Thanksgiving gravy.

And even though we only eat Thanksgiving dinner once a year, there’s no denying that it’s not a meal for the faint-hearted.

Robin Applebaum of the Calorie Control Council said Newsweek that an average Thanksgiving meal can contain about 3,000 calories. To put that into perspective, to burn 3,000 calories, you would need to run for four hours, swim for 4.2 hours, or cycle for 3.75 hours straight.

The American Heart Association recommends eating 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day, depending on your biology and lifestyle.

In this photo combo, an image of a Thanksgiving family dinner and an inset of the McDonald’s logo

And while part of the appeal of Thanksgiving dinner is its seasonality, 83% of American families eat fast food at least once a week, and the average American eats fast food one to three times. a week, often consuming the equivalent of a Thanksgiving meal, and more.

Sometimes it can be hard to imagine how caloric something is. So, Newsweek researched how many items you could eat from the menus of McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Domino’s that would equal a Thanksgiving dinner.

Here are the foods you could eat at McDonald’s that would equal the same calories as a Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese

740 calories / 42g fat / 19g saturated fat / 9g sugar / 1380mg sodium

500 calories / 25g fat / 3.5g saturated fat / 350mg sodium

  • Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips (5 pcs)

660 calories / 40g fat / 6g saturated fat (28% Daily Value) / 1680mg sodium

  • Triple Thick Vanilla Shake (32 fl oz)

1110 calories / 24g fat / 16g saturated fat / 370mg sodium / 145g sugar

310 calories, 86g sugar

= 3320 calories / 44.5g saturated fat (220% of daily intake), 2400mg sodium, 240g sugar

A Thanksgiving meal can also be the same as four burgers, six servings of fries, four servings of chicken strips, three vanilla milkshakes, or ten McDonald’s Cokes.

Wendy's Memorial Day
Justin Sullivan/Getty

Here are the foods you could eat at Wendy’s that would equal the same calories as a Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Triple with Everything and Cheese

1030 calories / 63g fat / 29g saturated fat / 1860mg sodium / 11g sugar

570 calories / 18g fat / 3.5g saturated fat / 1950mg sodium / 34g sugar

520 calories / 25g fat / 4.5g saturated fat / 630mg sodium

550 calories / 33g fat / 14g saturated fat / 1610mg sodium / 12g sugar

  • Frosted chocolate fudge shake (large)

540 calories / 13g fat / 8g saturated fat / 270mg sodium / 80g sugar

180 calories / 49 g of sugar

= 3,390 calories, 60 g saturated fat (300% of daily intake), 6,320 mg sodium, 186 g sugar

A Thanksgiving meal can also be the same as three burgers, five servings of wings, six servings of fries, five salads, five chocolate milkshakes, or 17 Wendy’s Fantas.

domino's pizza fast food minimum wage
Dominos Pizza

Here are the foods you could eat at Domino’s that would equal the same calories as a Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Meateor, Double Decadence

3,379 calories / 153g fat / 73g saturated fat / 6.42 sodium / 124.3g sugar

  • Twisted Dough Balls: Pepperoni

748 calories / 30g fat / 10.4g saturated fat / 1.03g sodium / 7.3g sugar

  • Garlic and herb dip (100g)

675 calories / 73.8g fat / 5.1g saturated fat / 0.30 sodium / 1.6g sugar

694 calories / 30.7g fat / 15.5g saturated fat / 0.49g sodium / 54.6g sugar

446 calories, 14.6g fat / 11.5g saturated fat / 0.09g sodium / 59.0 sugars

= 5,942 calories, 115.5g saturated fat (564% of your daily intake), 246.8g sugar

A Thanksgiving meal can also be the same as one pizza, four servings of dough balls, four servings of dip, four servings of cookies, or seven milkshakes from Domino’s.

The Health Implications of Regularly Eating Fast Food

Newsweek researched the nutritional elements of America’s favorite fast foods and spoke with Senior Director of Global Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition and Dietary Advisory Board Member Susan Bowerman, about what that we put in our body.

“The best way to think of calories is that they represent the energy that is locked up in food,” Bowerman explains, “and the energy has to be released – through metabolism – in order to fuel all of the body’s activities. body.

“Just as gasoline contains energy, the energy is not released until the gas is ignited by the engine. Likewise, we can use the energy (in the form of calories) that is locked away in the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates we eat until the food is broken down and metabolized.If you eat more calories than you need, the excess gets stored as body fat.

Saturated fats are common in butter, meat, cheese, coconut oil, palm oil, and some baked and fried foods.

The word “saturated” refers to its chemical structure, i.e. the hydrogen atoms surrounding each carbon atom. “They tend to be solid or semi-solid at room temperature,” Bowerman says. “Think chilled bacon fat. A diet high in saturated fat can raise cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.”

Don’t abuse

If you lead a healthy lifestyle, a little indulgence is often nothing to worry about. “It’s just important to make sure this trend of overeating doesn’t continue into the new year,” Bowerman says.

“Studies seem to suggest that the weight gained during the holidays is usually small (about 1 or 2 pounds), but the weight gain is often not lost either.”

For people who like to indulge on vacation but are worried about weight gain, Ms. Bowerman suggests not focusing on food. “Focus on the people around you instead,” she suggests, “play games or go for walks with friends and family.”

Fat, salt and sugar are the ingredients that make food taste good, but excessive consumption can also have detrimental effects on our overall health.

“For those who are salt-sensitive, long-term excessive salt intake could contribute to hypertension,” Bowerman says. “In the short term, this usually leads to excessive thirst, and depending on what people drink to satisfy their thirst, that can mean extra calories.”

Sugar can be introduced into many things we are unaware of, including, as reported by the USDA National Nutrient Database, standard white bread, which can contain 3g of sugar in only two slices. “With sugar,” Ms. Bowerman explains, “the short-term effects of high sugar intake can lead to blood sugar spikes that are often followed by a rapid drop.

“When blood sugar levels drop rapidly, people can feel hungry, irritable, diminish their ability to concentrate, and send them in search of more sugar to bring blood sugar back up. In the long term, excessive sugar consumption is likely to lead to weight gain, and that will also contribute to tooth decay.”

Ms Bowerman argues that alongside the overly commercial elements of the holidays, overindulgence and overeating have become a potentially unfortunate accent on the holiday season.

“The holidays seem to have lost a bit of their meaning,” she suggests, “and I guess some people are grateful to have an abundance of food to eat, but is that really the point of the holidays?

“I don’t want to spoil anyone’s celebrations, but I think this time of year is a good reminder that there are still a lot of people in the country who are struggling to afford to put on clothes. food on the table, so rather than overeating, maybe we can reflect on the meaning of these holidays and find ways to help others.”

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