McDiet Day 3: No-One Needs To Pass The Salt

With less (often much less) than 2000 calories a day, my McDonald’s-only diet definitely hits the mark in terms of energy requirements. But how does it stack up on other nutritional measures: protein, fat and sodium? As you might well expect, it’s salt that’s the biggest problem. Plus: vote for what I eat tomorrow!

I set myself essentially the same nutritional targets for this diet as I did for my original Mastercheap challenge:

  • At least 55 grams of protein a day
  • No more than 90 grams of fat a day
  • Less than 2500mg of sodium a day. For Mastercheap, I aimed for 1500, but it seemed unrealistic to do that with processed food. 2500mg is at the top end of what might be considered acceptable.

This is how I’ve fared over the first three days:

Day Protein (g) Fat (g) Sodium (mg)
Day 1 72.7 71.4 2696
Day 2 70.4 56.4 2843
Day 3 67.7 67.4 2609

[related title=”The McDiet Challenge” tag=”mcdiet” items=”9″]

Clearly, protein isn’t an issue. Fat is a little higher than it should be, but given my sub-2000 calorie intake each day, I’m not going to let it stress me. Sodium, on the other hand, is definitely higher than you would want in an ongoing meal plan.

In the original US experiment which inspired this one, John Cisna had regular tests to check his cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and emerged with a clean bill of health. It doesn’t make sense to do those tests when I’m only trying this for a week — it’s too limited a frame of reference. However, the sodium figure is a pointer that this would not be a wise choice to sustain for a long period of time.

Cisna also had the advantage of having oatmeal and egg white omelettes for breakfast, which created one much lower-sodium meal. You can’t do that with the Australian options available.

What I Ate: Day 3

Here’s the day 3 menu, complete with calorie count.

Food Calories
Breakfast: Bacon & Egg McMuffin 297
Hash Brown 153
Small orange juice 135
Lunch: Noodle Grilled Chicken Salad 255
Dinner: McChamp 481
Small Fries 255
Total 1576

After yesterday’s move to a plain McMuffin, today I went back to the full value meal at breakfast. The orange juice is really the only sweet thing I’ve consumed so far on this diet — in large part, that reflects the fact I’m a much bigger fan of savoury food. If I did want something sweet, a fruit bag (that is, a chopped up apple) or some McDonaldland Cookies (shades of my childhood!) would be the only realistic options. Some McDesserts have a higher calorie count than the burgers.

I swapped my lunch and dinner around, having the salad at lunch and a burger meal at dinner. Partly that was for variety; partly it was because, despite reassurances from readers, I still felt weird going into my local Macca’s and ordering an identical meal every night. This is the first time I’ve tried the McChamp (essentially a McChicken but with better bread and more salad). It was OK, but probably not a burger I’ll ever consciously seek out again, diet or no diet.

Vote for what I eat tomorrow!

If you’ve been following this series, you’ll realise that one meal a day is a selected McBurger, plus small fries (and a Coke Zero). So far, I’ve had a Big Mac, because I like them and I wanted to kick off with something I enjoyed; the Angus McOz, because it’s a limited special and I had calories to spare, and the McChamp, because I hadn’t tried it before.

For my Friday meal, I’m going to let Lifehacker readers choose what I eat. The potential options (burgers and wraps) are based on having a reasonable calorie count and (for the most part) enough salad to make it filling:

Feel free to explain your choices, or ask other questions, in the comments.

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