Food, simplified.

Recently, roommate Shaun and I were talking about McChickens. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows Shaun. He is a die-hard McChicken fan.

This conversation, however, wasn’t about the taste qualities as much as the health qualities. Amongst other fun tidbits of nutritional data, Shaun provided the following information:

23g fat/5g sat fat
840mg Sodium
41g Total Carbohydrates
45mg Cholesterol

Does anyone actually know what these quantities mean? Nutrition facts never make any sense to me.
To aid in our understanding, here are some fun conversions for simple food analysis.


We’re going to use butter as our standard for fats.

One stick of butter is 8 tablespoons.

1 Tbsp Butter = 11g fat/7g sat fat

This is extremely convenient. ~10:1 Grams fat to tablespoons of butter. That McChicken? About 2 tablespoons of butter.

For a 2000 calorie diet, it is recommended that we have 65g fat (~6 tablespoons butter) and 20g of sat fat (~3 tbl worth of butter)


840mg of salt? This means nothing to me.
There at 2,132mg of salt in a teaspoon of salt. Conveniently, the 2000Cal diet recommends 2400 mg of salt – about 1 teaspoon. That McChicken only has a 1/3 teaspoon of salt!

My pizza recipe uses a Tablespoon of salt in the dough alone. Oh well.


One slice of bread has about 12g of Carbs. The 2000Cal diet recommends 300g of Carbs – that’s 25 slices of bread. The McChicken is equivalent to about 3.5 slices of bread.


We’re going to use butter again as this comparative tool. One Tablespoon of butter has 33mg of cholesterol. Daily value? 300. ~10:1! So convenient.

So really, if nothing else was learned – understand that one stick of butter maxes out your fat and cholesterol, and triples your sat fat intake. Sander, you may want to stop snacking on sticks of butter.

5 thoughts on “Food, simplified.

  • 4/7/2011 at 3:23 pm

    One thing to remember is that it’s not recommended that you HAVE that amount of fat and salt, it’s recommended that you do not EXCEED those amounts.

    Ideally, you would have quite a bit less than those amounts.

    • 4/7/2011 at 3:29 pm

      Darn it. And to think all these years I’ve been supplementing my diet with slices of butter.

  • 4/7/2011 at 4:25 pm

    I think what we need to take out of this research is that McChicken’s aren’t as bad for you as originally thought. I may even say that they could be considered health food.

    • 4/7/2011 at 8:05 pm

      Now Shaun. We know you love your McChickens. But they cannot even remotely be considered a health food.

      If they were a health food they wouldn’t taste even half as delicious.

  • 4/10/2011 at 6:25 pm

    Okay, but… about the dietary breakdown for a McQuaid?


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