Are Burgers Bad For You?

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. A commission may be earned for us by clicking some links and buying some products.

In this article we will discuss whether burgers are bad for you, and what can be done to make them better if they are. When people see burgers in pictures, they usually see a juicy looking burger with sauce or cheese falling out of it. Some people even see burgers that are packed with so much sauce that it runs down the eaters hands after taking a bite.

Burgers that look this way look like they are really bad for us in the health category of things, but are they? Here we will break down the components in a burger that are commonly used, to find out if burgers are bad for us or not. The burgers that look the best are the shiny ones, and do you know what all that shine usually is? It is fat (grease). Burgers from a fast food restaurant are usually the burgers that people think about as being unhealthy.

Beef or other meats.

However, the main ingredients in a burger is beef or some other type of meat. If we were discussing solely the main component of the burger, then all we would have to do is address the meat rather than the rest of the burger. But really if we look at the rest of what usually comes with a burger besides the meat, we will find that there really isn’t that much else for a typical burger.

The beef in a burger is usually considered to be quite healthy. It contains a lot of needed protein and some fats (mostly healthy fats). The grease that glistens from a cooked burger isn’t always a bad thing. It depends on a person’s current state of health. It also has iron, magnesium, vitamin b6, and vitamin b12. These are all essentials that the body needs in various degrees. Neither one of these are bad for the body.

Essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids are also found in beef, which are crucial for survival. They help with a number of things with the body, which revolve around cell development.

Even if a burger is made from other meats besides beef, they can still contain important things that the body needs.

Fats in a burger.

The fats in a beef burger, as mentioned earlier, isn’t completely a bad thing. This is where the omega-3 fatty acids that are essential to the body come from. However, some of the fats in a beef burger can contain trans fats (the worst fats) and saturated fats (also bad). We can look at a simple cheeseburger from McDonald’s to confirm this. This doesn’t mean that this applies to all fast food burgers and restaurant burgers, but it does show that it can be a possibility.

Trans fats and saturated fats can lead to arteries clogging and a potential stroke if too much is consumed on a regular basis. It is recommended that less than 10% of our total recommended daily calorie amount should be saturated fats. A beef burger is going to have about 6 grams of saturated fats. Luckily, the average person can get away with eating a basic burger or possibly 3 a day, that has saturated fats, before exceeding this limit.

Sauces on a burger.

The sauces in a burger is where the real line starts to divide a “good for you” burger from a “bad for you” burger. The typical sauces in a burger (ketchup, mustard, and mayo) can have a lot of sugars and other bad things that can be really detrimental for an individual’s health if too much of them are added to a burger.

Ketchup has nearly 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon. Mayo has cholesterol that can add to clogging the arteries. Mustard is actually a safer choice than the ketchup and mustard for a burger; considering that it doesn’t have anything else additionally added to it, like sugars. Barbecue sauce can contain more sugar per tablespoon than ketchup, sitting at about 6 hrams per tablespoon. These added sugars can make a burger with these sauces have about 7 grams of sugar or more, depending on how much people add to their burgers.

This still puts a typical burger at a fairly low amount of sugar if a burger isn’t smothered on the inside with sauces. The mayo is the thing to watch out for, as it can add to the cholesterol.

Burger buns.

Burger buns are just burger buns most of the time for a burger. Sometimes restaurants will use something special for their burgers for buns, but usually not. It is usually just white bread with possibly some sesame seeds. The gluten in them would be dangerous to people that can’t have gluten of course.

Sometimes restaurants will go a little further by covering the top burger bun with butter or adding in sugar, but nothing other than this typically.

Vegetables in a burger.

Obviously the vegetables in a burger are good to have. However, it should be noted that adding more vegetables to a burger or having no vegetables at all, doesn’t neutralize or diminish the things in a burger that a person might think is bad for them. In other words, loading a trans fat burger with more vegetables doesn’t magically make the trans fat disappear. Adding a lot of vegetables to a burger with heavy amounts of sauce doesn’t do anything either.

Sodium in a burger.

The sodium in a burger can be a considerable amount, but it can vary per burger. A person get away with eating 3 to 5 regular burgers in a day daily before the sodium becomes an issue.


American cheese is the most commonly used cheese for burgers. It does contain saturated fats and a lot of sodium, which can easily push a few burgers a day over the daily limit. One slice of cheese contains 468 milligrams of sodium, which is about a fifth of the daily limit. The 5 grams of saturated fats per slice is a fourth of the amount for the daily limits. This is bad news for individuals that love to eat their burgers with a lot of cheese.


Burgers aren’t bad for the average person that isn’t adhering to a really strict diet. More than one burger can be consumed daily without exceeding any of the daily recommended limits, and even possibly 2 or 3 burgers a day. The only main danger that burgers could impose are risks of arteries clogging if the burger contains a lot of fats, cholesterol, certain sauces, and a lot of cheese. A person that really loves their burgers with a lot of these things could be at risk of a stroke or heart attack if they eat like this long term.

Everyone else that eats their burgers with consideration of these ingredients should be fine as long as they have no cholesterol or artery problems or similar issues that would revolve around this. In other words, burgers are not bad for the average person.

Leave a Reply

Discover more from The Restaurant Life

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading