I'll have 1,500 calories with that burger, please


One burger meal can contain up to a day’s worth of calories, writes AINE McMAHON

A NEW REPORT reveals that the average burger meal contains almost the recommended daily amount of calories, salt and fat for adults.

Safefood yesterday published research that found a burger with toppings, a large portion of fries and a large soft drink in a typical burger meal contained almost all of the recommended daily allowance of calories for adults.

The study, What’s in That Bun?, examined 240 burgers in three categories (kids, regular and quarter pounder) from 47 takeaways in Ireland.

It found that an adult meal of a standard quarter-pounder burger with toppings of bacon and cheese, a regular portion of chips and a medium soft drink could contain up to 1,500 calories.

This burger meal would account for almost two-thirds of the recommended daily calorie intake, not including other food eaten that day. The recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories for men and 1,800 for women.

Without the trimmings, the burger alone provided 40 per cent of the guideline daily amount of fat.

Several outlets offer the option of supersizing burgers, chips and drinks, which could push the overall calorie count of the meal over safe limits for adults.

The research found no difference in the nutritional content of burgers per 100 grams between independent takeaways and international fast-food outlets.

People should be aware of portion sizes, as an average quarter-pounder burger contained almost twice as many calories as a regular burger.

Children may be at risk too, as a third of takeaway burgers marketed as “kids’ size” are as big as a regular-sized burger for adults. Kids’ burgers should be smaller than regular-sized burgers aimed at adults, but the Safefood research found that both burgers were similar in size, weighing 113g.

According to the report, independent takeaways provided larger kids’ burgers than international franchises such as McDonald’s and Burger King.

A spokesman for McDonald’s said the company noted the outcome of the Safefood report “but would like to point out that the calorific content of McDonald’s hamburger and Quarter Pounder with Cheese are significantly below the mean values found by Safefood. We have provided our customers with nutritional information for many years on our packaging, website and apps and will soon move to providing that information on our menuboards.”

Supermac’s food safety manager, Brian Malone, said it was up to customers to make an informed approach. “We would recommend a commonsense approach: the more food you order, the more calories you will eat. It’s the same when you’re eating at home. The Supermac’s regular meal contains a regular burger, chips and a bottle of water, which is 600 calories. It’s a substantial meal yet it is well under the recommended 1,800 calorie limit for an adult. Children can get Ribena, which is just 14 calories, instead of a mineral with their meals.”

He added: “While we don’t provide calorie information about our food in the restaurant at present, that is coming down the line, and we have no problem doing that, as we have nothing to hide.”