Clowns are making you fat, stealing your money, and your time!

Why McDonalds isn’t just making you fat!

Approximate Read Time ~ 6-7 minutes

Approximate value ∞ – Let me know what you think

Since my private investigation days I have always had some quarrels about the Fast food Nation that we have developed in our country. More sadly in other countries as well, in Medellin Colombia some years ago, what became a family attraction with all its bright lights and sub-conscious color associative marketing? That’s right, McDonalds. While living with a family native to that city for decades they all came to me with so much excitement and wonder in their eyes, saying they had somewhere to take me that felt like home. I wasn’t going to tell them that I was here to experience completely the opposite, but I do love peoples’ genuine care about each other. As the 16 year old daughter ripped between gears, with suicidal motorcyclist weaving between us, we approached this glowing beacon in the city center. God dammit, there is no end to their reach. McDonalds was the late night attraction, and worst of all what they thought would feel like home for some ignorant gringo. I obliged in entering with them but decidedly ordered nothing, and went into detail about this little experiment I decided to try.

With the popularity of all these documentaries citing the destructiveness of fast food, I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy them. What I felt was missing was a juxtaposition with an easy and more efficient alternative. So what did I do, time myself shopping for food and cooking that meal to last all week, versus the time I spent to order and wait for food for 7 consecutive days in McDonalds. Wasting time would be enough of an incentive to steer clear, but for an added measure I compared caloric intake within that week and multiplied it to present the outcome over a longer period of time. And just to pile on the evidence a little further I compared something pretty insignificant, MONEY spent.

Nutrition Facts            Quarter Pounder®                   Medium French Fries    Coca-Cola® (med.)     with Cheese            

Serving Size                             +7 oz (198 g)                                4.1 oz (117g)                                    21 fl oz

Calories                                    510                                                      380                                                      210                 

Calories from Fat                  230                                                      170                                                      0

Total Fat (g)                                 26                                                      25                                                      0

% Daily Value**                        40                                                      38                                                      0

Saturated Fat (g)                       12                                                      3.5                                                      0

% Daily Value**                          61                                                      17                                                      0

Trans Fat (g)                                  1.5                                                      0                                                     0

Cholesterol (mg)                         90                                                      0                                                      0

% Daily Value**                        33                                                      0                                                      0

Sodium (mg)                              1190                                                      350                                                15

% Daily Value**                        50                                                      15                                                      1

Carbohydrates (g)                  40                                                      63                                                      58

% Daily Value**                      13                                                      21                                                      19

Dietary Fiber (g)                      3                                                      6                                                      0

% Daily Value**                        11                                                      26                                                         0

Sugars (g)                                    9                                                      0                                                      58

Protein (g)                                    29                                                      6                                                      0

% DAILY VALUE                                   

Vitamin A                                      10                                                      0                                                      0

Vitamin C                                        4                                                      15                                                      0

Calcium                                           30                                                      2                                                      0

Iron                                                     25                                                      6                                                      0


As you can see with the title of the food, I feel this is even a modest amount compared to what I witnessed people ordering. All this information is easily accessible from two clicks of a mouse. What annoys me about these metrics is they are completely useless. Calories are an industry driven unit of measurement easily tracked. If you do not have any information associating the quality of the food, the preservation methods, or additives within them the calories mean nothing. Beside the point, I will appease whoever it is, and show the negative side with this arbitrary measuring tool. The true value in the home cooked meal is the quality, the freshness. The body’s ability to process the food and remove the necessary nutrients is what really matters. Going back to the story in Colombia, the proof about fresh non-preserved food is found in the people. When I met a friend’s family member, my initial greeting was, “It it so nice to meet your mother.” She laughed and said, “I am his grandmother.” All sick notions aside everyone, and I mean everyone is healthy and slender from daughters to great-grandmothers. Now it is time for some old fashioned home cooking.

Steamed Chicken (7oz) with Mushrooms and Bok Choy (5oz)


Calories                                         282

Calories from fat                         106

Total Fat (g)                                    12

%Daily Value                                 14

Saturated Fat (g)                         3g

%Daily Value                                 16

Trans fat (g)                                    0

Cholesterol                                     90mg

%Daily Value                                33

Sodium (mg)                                706

% Daily Value                              29

Carbohydrate (g)                       12

%Daily Value                               4

Fiber (g)                                         2

%Daily Value                                9

Sugars (g)                                       2

Protein (g)                                      31

%Daily Value                 

Vitamin A                                        103

Vitamin C                                         87                 

Calcium                                             14

Iron                                                      16

Firstly; I am a big advocate of water. So with the home cooked meal there is no data that needs to be entered for that. Also I used comparative serving sizes with equivalent amounts of chicken compared to the burger and the same goes for the vegetables compared to the fries. Depending on the perspective you have looking at this you can take a lot from this. I will take my view first, being in shape but a fat kid at heart the home cooked meal literally lets me eat more. Just from a caloric intake I can eat 3x more home cooked food to equal that of McDonalds. Let me repeat that, THREE TIMES more food to equal the caloric intake. That means 36oz of a home cooked meal = 12oz of a McDonalds meal from a caloric standpoint. That gives me enough information there, just because I truly love to eat. Another shocking perspective at this is the nutritional aspect of the food. Take your vitamin C intake for example. The McDonalds food only gives you 19% of your daily value of vitamin C. Do you even wonder why people can eat so much fast food and not feel satisfied. Your body craves vitamins and nutrients. You may eat enough calories to meet a daily requirement, but if your body can only remove  1/5 of the nutrients it needs it will desire much more. In turn that causes you to eat more quantity to make up for the lost quality. Just to have a comparable amount of Vitamin C you would have to eat FIVE TIMES more McDonalds. So that is five times the price just to receive the same nutritional value. Which one is starting to cost you more now? If you are from a different viewpoint and are maybe trying to get back on track and maybe lose some weight, there is good news for you also. Even taking a modest approach you can easily drop between 800-1000 calories just in one meal.

3500 cal = 1 pound

900 cal ~ ¼ pound

So, say you change one meal a day each week. That is 1 ¾ pound per week and approx. 7 pounds a month and 84 pounds a year. Do you still think it is hard to lose weight? Just researching and informing yourself about what you put into your body can be enough of a wakeup call to get back in shape.

Now if you feel that is enough to light that fire to make a change, get started. If you are a little crazy like me and just love to experiment even further keep reading. At this stage the nutritional value is concrete enough but, I am going to show you how McDonalds is stealing your time and money. Time also equals money, according to my boss, so they are double dipping into your wallet.

Time Spent at McDonalds:

                  Captures time from entering to receiving food

Sunday                                                     16 min

Monday                                                    8 min

Tuesday                                                   6 min

Wednesday                                            9 min

Thursday                                               11 min

Friday                                                      21 min

Saturday                                                20 min

Total for 7 days                                    91 minutes

I know bums don’t make scenes and rant about the apocalyptic future in McDonalds every day, but they did when I was there so that took up some of my time.

Time spent purchasing and preparing for a week:


                  Shopping                  32 min

                  Cooking                  40 min

Total                                                      72 minutes


I purchased enough food to be the equivalent weight for 7 meals, and cooked them all at once. Most of the time spent cooking was actually prepping. So now comparing these numbers over a weeks’ time frame I was able to save 19 minutes home cooking. That is approx. 90 minutes a month. Who wouldn’t want an extra hour and a half to do anything? Devote that time to working out more, reading more? So now, we are healthier and have more time on our hands. Even with all these reasons, home cooking still provides more. It teaches you to cook-at-home. This is a great attribute to have, pass on, and share with others. Now to throw the cherry on top, let’s look at the cost factor.


$7.67 each meal X 7 (days) = $53.69

5x to equal nutritional value of Vitamin C = $268.45

Home cooking

All food, one purchase (7 days) = $31.77

Now, over one week that is a saving of $21.92. Over a month that is approx. $95. Overall we are eating multiple times better, saving time and saving money while doing something that is just plain good for us. Retaking your health should be enough motivation, EVEN if it did cost more or take more time. But this is a cut and dry example that you can have all three at once. This is just one example of the mentality and way I view society. I hope you enjoyed.

I know this is a very simplistic answer with what foods to eat, you will need variety. Something I hear from almost everyone I talk to about this topic is fresh or organic foods are expensive. That is true in certain rights, but we can affect that. Take a look at this from a simple supply and demand perspective. Fast food is cheap because we have created a demand for it, which in turn creates competitors and increases the supply. Not valuing the quality of our foods allows the industry to alter their genetic makeup and nutrients. If we can shift the paradigm towards being a conscious eater this will create a larger demand. In turn the market will dictate competition, which will bring down cost. Time spent on your health today is an investment and a push towards bringing these products to become accessible by all.

PS – There is even a McDonalds 5 minutes from the Taj Mahal. Double god dammit, they are everywhere.