Any call for “Burger, with a side of burger” should be music to every greedy foodies’ ears. It’s the kind of thing that feels far too good to be true.
Yet it is exactly what nutritionist and registered dietician Emily Field has suggested in a recent interview with Business Insider UK. As exciting as this news may be, there are certain caveats. Unfortunately, Field has not given us all license to live off burgers indefinitely. We thought we’d try and wade through some of the science and establish exactly why two burgers may actually be better than one.
The secret behind this claim is understanding the balance between the three main components, or “macronutrients”, of our diet: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Proteins are the building blocks for our muscles, used in the manufacture of enzymes, hormones and other bodily chemicals, and help us feel fuller for longer. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy - essential for fuelling us throughout the day. Fats not only provide additional energy, but also keep our cells healthy and help the body absorb nutrients. Balancing these three components provides the key to overall health.
Fast food, on the other hand, isn’t really the key to anything, other than maybe hangover recovery. What fast food does do is provide a meal high in salt and fat, devoid of any semblance of nutritional goodness. Clearly, therefore, fast food is only ticking one, at most two, of the macronutritional boxes identified by Field. Her suggestion, therefore is a way to re-balance the dietary scales and ensure that your body gets more of what it needs from a fast food order.
A typical fast food burger, while certainly not a mountain of minerals, has clearly defined, distinct ingredients. Two slices of bread provide carbohydrates, the patty is packed with protein and the cooking process typically guarantees plenty of fat. The holy trinity is complete. Fries however, are a different beast. They are, no matter how many ways you try to look at it, just a pile of starchy, fatty potato. The suggestion is, therefore, that replacing the fries with a second burger will at least ensure that your body benefits from additional protein as opposed to an injection of surplus fat. This switch could help you to remain full as well as balance your blood sugar levels.
These levels are an important consideration for those considering doubling down on the burger intake. Failure to balance the three macronutrients can see rapid peaks and troughs in the body’s blood glucose. This in turn may lead to a short lived burst of energy, followed by fat induced fatigue and general sense of misery. Proteins are our body’s natural barrier to carbs breaking down into sugar too quickly, and so are a vital component in managing and maintaining blood sugar levels.
So, next time you reach for the fries, remember that the solution to avoiding post burger blues may not be more potato, but more Big Mac. It may feel counter intuitive, but for the sake of balance, the time has come to give serious thought to second burgers.