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Egg McMuffin - What's Unhealthy?

NoeMan Sep 11, 2008 06:54 AM

A doctor friend laments the blanket, across-the-board anti-fast food trendiness and asks which part of the Egg McMuffin is evil. I have no meaningful comeback:

Toasted fresh English muffin
Freshly-fried egg (not greasy at all, albeit not organic or free range)
Slice of cheese (not farmhouse organic)
Canadian bacon (processed)

Still, it's hard to argue this is bad for you and folks could do worse starting their day.

Her other pet peeve, why are the diet police anti-pizza ???

Food for thought .................

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  1. rockandroller1 RE: NoeMan Sep 11, 2008 07:17 AM

    First of all, nothing is "fresh" at mcdonald's. Take a read of the book Fast Food Nation and learn how their food is really procured and handled. Second, factory farmed eggs are lacking in nutrients compared to those of pastured chickens who eat what they like, roam freely and aren't fed antibiotics and copius amounts of genetically modified corn as quickly as possible so that they can be fattened up immediately and slaughtered early (profit!). Third. American Cheese? There nothing good for you or real about that processed, nasty crap which is mostly just oil. Fourth. Have you missed the information that processed, "enriched" white bread/flour products are not good for you? High glycemic index= quickly turns to sugar in your blood. Extra sugar is stored as fat.

    I admit when I used to eat fast food, they were a favorite, and from a purely *caloric* standpoint, you could do much worse, but "good for you?" no.

    as to pizza, or egg mcmuffins for that matter, everything one eats is fine in moderation, but pizza is a really big wallop of calories and most people down several pieces. Particularly the meat variety, which is what I like. A few slices of commercial pizza could easily be a woman's entire suggested caloric intake for 2 days.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rockandroller1
      chris in illinois RE: rockandroller1 Sep 11, 2008 09:01 AM

      Can we all at least agree that what 'we' know as a society regarding food and health is very, very limited?? It wasn't that long ago that a low-fat, high carb diet was thought to be 'the way' to keep unwanted pounds off. Turns out, not so much for millions of people---some people stay very thin by eating nothing but meat and cheese.

      Let's all finally acknowledge that what is healthy for one person is vastly different for others. Some people have a sensitivity to sodium like some people have peanut allergies and others have ZERO issue with salt. It all depends on you as an individual. I'm exceedingly lucky in that I can eat anything I want and have no weight gain issues at all. I regularly triple the 'recommended' daily calorie intake for a male my age, I probably quadruple my daily fat intake and at least eat 5-6 times the salt that I 'should' eat.

      My cholesterol numbers are great, my blood pressure numbers are awesome and I'm healthy as a horse. I've gained about a pound a year since my high school days over twenty years ago.

      Nobody knows anything about this stuff.

    2. r
      rockycat RE: NoeMan Sep 11, 2008 07:40 AM

      I don't suppose it is bad for you if you have no need to watch your calorie intake, fat intake, sodium intake, cholesterol intake or you don't intend to eat anything else for the rest of the day.

      According to McDonald's website, an Egg McMuffin has 24% of your daily saturated fat, 87% daily cholesterol, and 34% of your daily sodium. But hey, there's no transfat! And you weren't thinking of adding fried potatoes to that, were you? Or a sugary specialty coffee with whipped cream?

      Bottom line - once in a while, no, there's little harm in it. Problem is, too many people make this a daily or near daily part of their routine.

      5 Replies
      1. re: rockycat
        mlgb RE: rockycat Sep 11, 2008 08:56 AM

        Caloric intake isn't too bad (300 calories for breakfast). You could do much worse than an Egg McMuffin.

        1. re: mlgb
          michele cindy RE: mlgb Sep 11, 2008 09:48 AM

          Cholesterol 260, 87% of daily rec. intake & sodium 820 34% of daily rec. intake doesn't seem "healthy" to me. But, if you have to eat at mcdonalds at breakfast, maybe it's their most healthy sandwich.

          1. re: michele cindy
            ccbweb RE: michele cindy Sep 11, 2008 12:32 PM

            240 of those 260 milligrams of cholesterol are from the egg.

            The sodium is a bit high, but its right at one third of the day's recommended intake so if you make other reasonable choices in your day, its decidedly doable. By American breakfast standards, it would seem to qualify as pretty healthy comparatively. Its got protein which would make it a step up from a muffin and its got only the one egg and Canadian bacon (far leaner than other breakfast meat options) which would give it a leg up on bacon and eggs with toast.

            1. re: ccbweb
              mlgb RE: ccbweb Sep 11, 2008 12:55 PM

              I've been known to pick out some of the yolk and scrape off most of the cheese if I'm really watching my diet. Sometimes you are out in the middle of nowhere and an Egg McMuffin is not that bad a choice. Although nowhere near as tasty as a McGriddle.

              Canadian bacon features in many diet recommendations for a breakfast protein as it's relatively low in fat.

              1. re: ccbweb
                queencru RE: ccbweb Sep 12, 2008 04:21 AM

                It really isn't that bad. I find that if I have an Egg McMuffin, I get filled quicker and hungry later than I would if I had a muffin because of the protein. I've looked at the stats for a small muffin and they were astounding. I tried low-fat ones one time and talk about inedible! Even 24% of your daily intake of saturated fat isn't too bad since you still have 76% left over for other meals.

        2. ipsedixit RE: NoeMan Sep 11, 2008 09:16 AM

          The Egg McMuffin is unhealthy? Really? I always considered it the most healthy thing on the McD menu.

          It's those damn breakfast biscuits that really get you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit
            aynrandgirl RE: ipsedixit Sep 11, 2008 11:22 AM

            Those "damn breakfast biscuits" are the best thing on the menu. It takes iron self control for me to avoid them.

          2. The Dairy Queen RE: NoeMan Sep 11, 2008 09:18 AM

            I think they also butter the English Muffin...


            4 Replies
            1. re: The Dairy Queen
              mojoeater RE: The Dairy Queen Sep 17, 2008 07:58 PM

              Not butter - margarine. In fact, McD's puts margarine on almost everything, including their "grilled chicken" in their salads.

              1. re: mojoeater
                maplesugar RE: mojoeater Sep 18, 2008 12:01 AM

                Yup, margarine, and on McDonalds Canada they're running an ad promoing the McMuffin as having just 6g fat - in small print that is without margarine and cheese - which you can ask them to do to any of their sandwiches. My very first job was at our local McDs *blush* - one trick I picked up from that job (aside from how to smile and look like you mean it) was if you want fresh fries order them without salt... takes an extra 30 seconds to get your order but the fries (now verboten in my diet) sizzling hot. :)


                1. re: mojoeater
                  The Dairy Queen RE: mojoeater Sep 18, 2008 03:29 AM

                  Yes, you're right. It's margarine. Sorry about that. They also put salt on it!


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    maplesugar RE: The Dairy Queen Sep 18, 2008 06:44 AM

                    No need to apologize TDQ, I think at one time they used butter, and in an attempt to appear more healthy switched to margarine. :)

              2. mddletown RE: NoeMan Sep 11, 2008 10:15 AM

                I agree with you about the Egg McMuffin. That is the only thing I eat at MCD. I thought about the same thing after seeing in Men's Health magazine's abs power diet section that the egg mcmuffin is one of the healthiest chain breakfast sandwiches to eat. The egg, cheese and ham are all part of a good diet. The muffin is the worst part but an english muffin is the best alternative if you are going to have carbs.

                Pizza would be bad because of all the carbs in the crust and probably sugar in the sauce. Can't go wrong with cheese though!

                1 Reply
                1. re: mddletown
                  ferret RE: mddletown Sep 11, 2008 11:29 AM

                  I do the Egg McMuffin now and then, but without the Canadian Bacon. It's a decent breakfast on the go. Nothing "unhealthy" about it.

                2. im_nomad RE: NoeMan Sep 11, 2008 04:15 PM

                  I very occasionally have a breakfast sandwich from either McD's, the english muffin one from BK, the bun one from A&W or the one from Tim Hortons. None of these are too bad calorie wise, and I always get mine without meat (because I don't eat meat), so the calories are a bit less, and there's less fat i'm guessing. It's a rare treat for me though because i like to watch the carbs at breakfast, else i get sleepy mid-afternoon.

                  To me, these would seem like a better choice than some of the muffins people seem to think are healthy. At least an egg mcmuffin has protein.

                  As for pizza, everything in moderation. I guess if you load it down with artery cloggers it might not be so good, but still it's ok i'm sure as long as you're not eating one every day.

                  I'm totally not getting another posters comment that a few slices of commercial pizza could easily be a woman's entire calorie intake for two days. According to this site, which sounds right to me and in line with others i've read
                  even a 115 pound woman with light activity can take in about 1500 calories a day. Even at that minimum that's 3000 calories for two days.....you're saying a couple of slices of pizza has 3000 calories at the very least !?!?!? According to fitday.com that's the equivalent of an entire 14" pepperoni pizza . Must be some big slices !

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: im_nomad
                    rockandroller1 RE: im_nomad Sep 12, 2008 04:49 AM

                    I guess if you ate nothing all day long except the pizza, you could say it fits into one day's caloric needs. But that's not likely the case. I guess what I should have said was that eating pizza for dinner can cause you (with other foods you eat throughout the day) to eat double your caloric intake for the day.

                    BTW, I love pizza, and eat it at least once a month. Not an anti-pizza post, just something most people don't consider.

                  2. c
                    cupcakez RE: NoeMan Sep 16, 2008 03:01 PM

                    From a nutritional standpoint one could do much worse. They do butter the bread which II find annoying (margarine the bread actually) but you could ask for it without.

                    The cholesterol is fine, it comes from eggs (which are good for you!) and dietary cholesterol does not affect serum cholesterol. This does not mean it is ok to eat unlimited amounts of cholesterol. some people do need to watch their intake, but an egg or two is FINE.

                    Sodium is a bit high, but as long as every meal doesnt look like this, its fine (unless of course you have coronary or BP problems).
                    Processed cheese isnt the greatest, neither is the meat, but again, if its going to be a fast food breakfast this isnt so bad.

                    And damn they are tasty. I eat these about 4 times a year and look forward to it.

                    BTW- doctors have very little nutrition training, a quick course or two.
                    An egg mcmuffin can fit into a healthy diet, but in moderation.

                    Breakfast burritos are another story.
                    chain pizza is not something I would claim to be healthy.

                    1. The Chowhound Team RE: NoeMan Sep 18, 2008 04:11 AM


                      We've split a discussion about how to make Egg McMuffins at home to the Home Cooking board:


                      Also, general discussions about cholesterol and health issues are off topic for the Chains board, and we've had to remove that discussion. Please keep the focus on chow found at chains.


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