McDiet Day 5: How To Make A Quarter Pounder Appetising

McDiet Day 5: How To Make A Quarter Pounder Appetising

So Lifehacker readers voted for me to eat a Quarter Pounder for lunch yesterday as part of my all McDonald’s diet. The Quarter Pounder is, quite honestly, one of the duller items on the menu, so what was I going to do? The answer was to glam it up.

[related title=”The McDiet Challenge” tag=”mcdiet” items=”9″] Compared to many of the burgers I’ve been eating this week, the Quarter Pounder is comparatively salad-free. So the obvious thing to do was to purchase a separate garden salad and eat that as well. To make the meal more appealing, I also decided to plate it up.

This is a common piece of advice to anyone adjusting their diet, but it definitely helps. Grouped together on a plate, the whole meal does look rather more substantial than if you nibble at its component parts from cardboard and paper containers.

My lovely colleague Joy also accompanied me to McDonald’s to pick up her own lunch, so the whole experience felt distinctly more sociable. My only complaint? The tomatoes in the salad were a touch on the ripe side: if I wasn’t so keen to eat salad, I’d probably have thrown them out.

What I Ate: Day 5

Here’s the day 5 menu, complete with calorie count (calorie-free drinks not included).

Food Calories
Breakfast: Bacon & Egg McMuffin 297
Hash Brown 153
Small orange juice 135
Lunch: Quarter Pounder 546
Small Fries 255
Garden Salad 16
Italian dressing 12
Dinner: Crispy Crunchy Noodle Chicken Salad 366
Total 1669

Aside from the addition of the Quarter Pounder, this was very much the typical day: egg and bacon at breakfast, a burger at lunch, a salad at dinner. And once again I could have added another burger or a dessert and met my calorie limits, but I didn’t feel so inclined.

Random observations from the fourth day:

Don’t upsell me a hash brown At breakfast, I was offered an extra hash brown “for only $1”. The regular price is $1.95. Thanks, but no thanks. Quite aside from the excess calories, I know from personal experience what happens when you eat too many hash browns in a row.

McDiet Day 5: How To Make A Quarter Pounder Appetising

All quiet down there I knew this would happen eventually, because it always does when I do a food challenge: someone asked me if I had suffered any, ahem, bowel issues as a result of my diet. The answer, happily, is no.

Two days to go!


  • In your chart you’ve put all the calories for the food but I see in the picture there is a coke and you haven’t put that in your table… any reason for this? (Sorry just realised it was a calorie free drink) But did you know that if you keep on drinking aspartame soft drinks your body will be tricked into using it like sugar and will start storing it as energy still…

    • Sorry but aspartame can not be metabolised by the body and used as energy under any circumstances. There are some recent studies suggesting that it tricks your body into spiking insulin levels because it thinks that there’s incoming calories, even though their isn’t, which some scientists think might disrupt the body’s natural insulin/blood glucose cycles. The jury is still very much out on the topic though.

      I drink Coke Zero myself (probably about one a day) and as I always have it with a meal my insulin levels would be spiking anyway, so I don’t see it as much of a concern for me. At the moment anyway, who knows what the “official information” about it will be next time a big study is published.

    • Aspartame isn’t an effective source of calories (you can’t get blood from a stone; the calories aren’t there – aspartame breaks down to an amino acid and a small amount of methanol) and even if it was the quantity used is absolutely minute. (This is why the methanol doesn’t matter much.)

      The one study I’ve found somewhat convincing on negative effects of aspartame theorised that the brain decided that sweetness != calories and so you tended to be hungrier when consuming a lot of artificially sweetened foods. Basically, rats eating food with aspartame tended to eat more overall.

      The cure for that is obvious – eat to the calorie counts, not to how hungry you are. I’m capable of not eating when hungry; I’m a tad smarter than the average rat. (Sometimes not *much* smarter, but we all have those dumber-than-a-rat moments.)

  • Least mcdonalds shows their KJ count with normal softdrink. KFC has all theirs with pepsi max, meaning that if you get a large non-pepsimax drink, its at least 1000 more on top of what they actually show.

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