The McChicken is a chicken sandwich by the international fast-food chain McDonald’s. The McChicken was initially introduced in 1980 but was discontinued in favor of Chicken McNuggets due to low sales. After two previous failed attempts, it was permanently added back to the menu in 1997 due to demand by customers. McDonald’s currently defines the McChicken as ‘a chicken sandwich with a delightfully crispy chicken topped with mayonnaise, shredded iceberg lettuce served on a perfectly toasted bun.’ Initially, it was a fairly large sandwich but it was reduced in size when it was added to the Dollar Menu & More formerly the Dollar Menu. Due to the far reach of the McDonald’s brand, the McChicken’s nutrition differs in different areas and locations. This article will cover the nutrition composition of the typical McChicken served in the United States.

A McChicken sandwich

How poor is the McChicken’s nutrition?

McDonald’s is a fast-food restaurant therefore you can not expect much from its food’s nutrition. However, fast food restaurants are beginning to show concern for the well being of their customers. Some provide healthy options on their menus for example Outback Steakhouse and MOD Pizza. This can help to add some nutritional value to meals that would otherwise not have much. Similar to Outback and others, McDonald’s has taken steps in the right direction by adding more nutritious items on their menu. The company added different salads to the menu for example the Premium Southwest salad and the Premium Bacon Ranch salad. The McChicken sandwich, however, is not one of the dishes with better butrition.

How many calories are in a single McChicken?

According to McDonald’s, one McChicken has about 400 calories. Nearly half (47.25%) of the calories are from fat, 39% from carbohydrates and 13.75% from protein. The calorie content of a McChicken alone is not as bad as one would expect but when in combination with another food, the calories add up easily.

An adult will most likely need an addition to the McChicken for a complete satisfying meal. French fries are the most likely option to eat with a McChicken. Considering a single serving of medium fries is 380 calories, the lowest calorie count a meal with a McChicken will give you is 780 calories. That is a lot!! Remember this is before the addition of a dressing, salad, or drink.

The macronutrient ratio of the McChicken

The McChicken sandwich is fairly rich in all the 3 macronutrients that is to say carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Fat is the most abundant with 21g contributing the biggest percentage of energy. Secondly, carbohydrates come in with 39g and lastly, protein with 14g.

The McChicken is not favorable to both low-fat and low-carb eaters. Even though on its own, the sandwich is not that high in calories, its macronutrient proportions do not favor weight loss. In order to maximize weight loss, a combination of low fat, low carbohydrate, and high protein is recommended. This is the total opposite of the McChicken.

A typical McChicken meal

Does the McChicken have any vitamins and minerals?

The ingredients of a McChicken sandwich are a chicken patty, a bun, mayonnaise, and shredded Iceberg lettuce. Of all these ingredients, only Iceberg lettuce can provide a substantial micronutrient supply. The other three ingredients are heavily processed therefore are poor in micronutrients.

In addition to the these three ingredients’ poor micronutrient composition, lettuce is also not a good source of vitamins and minerals. Compared to darker leafy vegetables, iceberg lettuce barely makes any significant contributions to any micronutrient in the body especially with the low amounts they use for the McChicken.

The only mineral present in large amounts in a McChicken is Iron due to the presence of meat which is a good source.

Finally, a single McChicken provides a quarter of the recommended daily limit for Sodium.

NutrientAmount in one McChicken
Iron 15%DV
The McChicken nutrition composition

What allergens are present in a McChicken?

According to McDonald’s, a McChicken contains wheat and egg allergens. Although the sandwich does not have dairy in it, it may contain milk allergens. This is because it is cooked in the same fryer as the Buttermilk Crispy Chicken which contains milk allergens.

What health consequences could come from consuming too many McChickens?

  • A diet rich in McChicken sandwiches is a risk factor for many diet-related diseases and conditions for example cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and obesity.
  • Poor digestive health; McChickens are very low in fiber providing less than a gram. Fiber is very important for the maintenance of the health of the digestive system.
  • Weight gain; Not only is the McChicken high in carbs but it is also rich in fats. This combination would favor weight gain in most people.
  • Poor skin health; The McChicken does not provide any nutrient that improves skin health. It also contains substances that may jeopardize the texture and general health of the skin.
  • The McChicken could lead to constipation due to its high simple carbohydrate content and poor complex carbohydrate content.
  • Consumption of foods like the McChicken has been linked to early onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Common Questions

How many calories are in a McChicken?

A McChicken has about 400 calories.

Is a McChicken healthy?

No, McChicken sandwiches have very low nutritional value. You can eat the sandwich as a treat but not as a staple food in your diet.

Does the McChicken contain eggs?

Yes, the sandwich has mayonnaise which contains eggs.

Can you eat a McChicken on keto?

No, one McChicken sandwich has nearly 40g of carbs most of which are simple carbs.

What type of meat does McDonald’s use in a McChicken?

McDonald’s uses a blend of dark and white chicken to make the McChicken sandwich.


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