McDonald's will never be McDonald's without a Big Mac. But have you ever wondered what happens an hour after you've eaten one?
Fastfoodmenuprice.com, a website that collects menu prices, secret menus, and coupons, tries to break down its effects on your health through its recently released infographic.
According to the infographic, the first change happens within 10 minutes. The brain, which is receptive to high-calorie food due to evolution, starts releasing neurotransmitters known as dopamine, a kind of feel-good chemical since it gives the sense of pleasure. This release may promote compulsive eating, compounded by the sudden increase of sugar as Big Mac has a whopping 540 calories.
In 20 minutes, the cravings start to intensify as the body breaks down the sodium and sugar from the high-fructose corn syrup. High consumption of these two has also been connected to the increased risk of obesity, an epidemic that causes global death.
After half an hour, you may feel dehydrated. This is because of the presence of too much sodium in the body. The infographic claims a Big Mac with all its trimmings contains at least 970 mg of sodium, which is not too far from the 1,500 mg daily recommendation of the American Heart Association. Since the brain cannot properly distinguish between hunger and thirst, you may end up eating more to compensate.
By 40 minutes, you may feel like eating one more round of Big Mac as the hunger pangs become more obvious. Simple carbohydrates in the Big Mac are quickly broken down into glucose, but glucose also goes down very quickly while insulin increases. Since the body is all about balance, you may be forced to eat again to bring the glucose levels up.
Within an hour, your body may feel a bit tired with all the digestion it's doing. However, it takes a while before everything you've eaten including trans fat has been fully digested.
As to whether the infographic is credible, health experts are divided. Others believe the information to be so but are doubtful of the timing. Some find many claims to be "exaggerated."