Anna Gragert
September 24, 2015 8:16 am

If you occasionally find yourself waiting in line at a fast food restaurant, you’re definitely not the only one. Every single day – not week, month, or year – but every single day, 50 million Americans consume fast food.

And when you think of fast food, one specific meal may come to mind: the iconic, everlasting McDonald’s Big Mac. And do you want to know just how many of these burgers are sold on the regular? Each year, this fast food chain sells 550 million Big Macs, which comes to… 17 Big Macs per second.  Now here’s a GIF to put that in perspective:

If we were to tell you that Big Macs aren’t the most healthy meals, we’d probably be telling you something you already know. But, do you know just how unhealthy these burgers are? Do you know exactly what they do to your body?

Well, you’re about to find out. Fast Food Menu Price just broke down exactly what happens to your body an hour after you eat a Bic Mac. It’s something like this:

So, you just left work. You’re tired and desperate to crawl under the covers, but – most importantly – you’re starving and not in the mood to cook. Instead, you decide to stop at your local McDonald’s so that you can silence your stomach’s growling.

You buy a Big Mac and quickly pull into a parking spot because you need food and you need it NOW.

You take a bite into your burger, then you take another. Before you know it, all you’re left with is the paper wrapper and a smudge of ketchup. Now that you’ve successfully fed yourself, you begin the 20-minute ride home.

Halfway there, you start to feel a spurt of energy spread throughout your body. You have the sudden desire to turn around and order another burger. It turns out that your dinner’s encouraging your brain to produce dopamine: a chemical that makes you feel good. Oddly enough, your body’s reaction to cocaine would be quite similar.

You resist the urge to head back to McDonald’s and another 10 minutes goes by. Now, you’re home and, at this moment, you’re desperate to return for more food. Within your system, the Big Mac’s salt and high-fructose corn syrup are working their magic. This tag team is making you crave more delicious food.

Alright, you made it into the house and hop into the shower. While water droplets fall all around you, you feel as though you’re in the middle of a desert. Once again, your meal’s 970 milligrams of sodium are wreaking havoc on your body. This high level of salt is making you dehydrated and, in turn, that’s making you more hungry.

After your shower, you drink several glasses of water and head to bed. But wait. You’re no longer tired. In fact, you’re awake and famished. The cause: high-fructose corn syrup. This sweetener has made your body’s insulin work extra hard and, as a result, there’s less glucose in your system. Now, your body needs more sugar, which would explain why your stomach is growling louder than ever.

At this point, it’s been an hour since you ate your Big Mac and you’re still feeling the effects. That’s because it can take more than three days for your digestive system to, well, digest this meal. And how long does it normally take? 24-73 hours. (Now that’s a big difference.)

Here’s what all of this looks like in a single infographic:

It’s important to mention that these effects may be different for each and every person, since we all have unique bodies. For instance, you and your friend could eat a Big Mac at the same exact time and have completely different experiences. Your friend may only need a sip of water after 40 minutes, whereas you feel as though you need a gallon.

Bottom line though? It’s not the end of the world if you decide to treat yourself to some fast food. According to Yahoo, “experts agree that the Big Mac shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet, but add that it’s OK to have it once in a while.” Just make sure you’re paying attention to your body —it’s the only one you get.

[Images via United Plankton Pictures, Shutterstock, Twitter]

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