If looking to lose weight then it’s important to keep a count of all calories eaten, especially when eating out or visiting a fast food chain. Here is a guide to the calorie value of a standard Hamburger and signature meals at the common fast food outlets McDonald’s and Burger King. Calorie values are given for regular and large portion sizes and assume a fully sugared carbonated drink. Finally the calorie cost has been expressed as a percentage of recommended daily intake based upon a 2,000 calorie a day diet.

How many Calories in a McDonald’s Hamburger or Big Mac Meal?

• Hamburger 250
• Fries 380/500
• Carbonated Drink 210/310
• Total = 840/1,060
• RDI = 42%/53%
• Big Mac 550
• Fries380/500
• Carbonated Drink 210/310
• Total = 1,140/1,360
• RDI 57%/68%

How many Calories in a Burger King Hamburger or Whopper Meal?

• Hamburger 284
• Fries 291/369
• Carbonated Drink 168/252
• Total = 743/905
• RDI 37%/45%
• Whopper 651
• Fries 291/369
• Carbonated Drink 168/252
• Total = 1,110/1,272
• RDI 56%/63%

Overall one can see that there is not a great deal of difference between the total calorie intake between the two chains. In this case the Burger King Hamburger meal came in at slightly less calories (97 regular) than its competitor while the Big Mac meal cost an additional 30 calories (regular).

A much bigger difference was seen between the calorie values of a Hamburger meal and the corresponding signature meal with a 300 calorie difference between the Big Mac and Hamburger at McDonald’s and a 368 calorie difference between the corresponding meals at Burger King.

Despite the differences in calories between the various meals and sizes, the evidence clearly shows that consuming such foods takes up a significant proportion of one’s daily intake. Here percentages ranged from 37% for the Burger King Hamburger meal (regular) right the way up to 68% for a large Big Mac meal. As such, consuming such food is likely to be a problem for those who are trying to lose weight on a reduced calorie diet.

So if trying to keep a control of the daily calorie intake but not willing to give up fast food altogether, it may be that altering the meal ordered and the portion size has a greater effect than which chain you buy from.