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Why Does McDonald’s Make Me Sick?

After eating McDonald’s, do you ever feel ill? It’s not just you. After consuming fast food, particularly from McDonald’s, many people develop unpleasant sensations. There are many different causes for feeling bad after eating at McDonald’s, but there are a few prevalent ones that may be to blame.

Wide shot showing a section of the outside a McDonalds restaurant.

The existence of common food allergies in McDonald’s food is one theory.

Dairy, soy, and wheat are well-known allergies that can give some people stomach problems as well as other symptoms.

Additionally, some people may find it challenging to digest the high fat and sodium content of McDonald’s cuisine, resulting in pain and nausea.

The presence of preservatives and additives in McDonald’s cuisine should be taken into account.

Although regulatory organizations usually consider these chemicals to be safe, some people may be more sensitive to them than others.

Additionally, a person’s eating habits and general health can have an impact on how fast food affects digestion.

Common Food Allergens in McDonald’s

It may be a result of a food allergy if you feel nauseous after eating at McDonald’s.

Spicy Big Chicken with french fries,hamburger in McDonald's restaurant at Thailand.

The most typical food allergies are fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat. Many of the menu items from McDonald’s contain these allergies.

For instance, McDonald’s uses milk in several of their sauces, shakes, and ice cream 2.

They use eggs in some of their baked items and breakfast sandwiches 2. Some of their desserts and sauces contain peanuts and tree nuts 1.

Their chicken products and several of their sauces use soy. Their buns and other baked items contain wheat. Some of their salads and sandwiches contain fish and shellfish 1.

The fact that McDonald’s does not have a separate kitchen for creating allergen-free meals is significant 2.

Cross-contamination is a possibility, and in people with severe allergies, it can result in an allergic reaction.

It’s recommended to speak with your doctor and steer clear of McDonald’s if you have a food allergy 2.

In conclusion, several of McDonald’s menu items contain common food allergies.

Cross-contamination is a risk, making it challenging for people with severe allergies to dine at McDonald’s without risk.

The best course of action if you have a food allergy is to steer clear of McDonald’s and speak with your doctor.


  1. Verywell Health ↩ ↩2345
  2. McDonald’s ↩ ↩234

Effects of Fast Food on Digestion

Your digestion and general health might be significantly impacted by fast food.

Close up a McDonald's Burger, French fries and Carbonated soft drink cup

Fast food requires a lot of effort from your body to digest, which can cause a variety of digestive problems. The following are a few digestive impacts of fast food:

Slower Digestion

Fast food commonly contains little fiber and is heavy in fat, which can slow down digestion.

Your body produces more bile to digest fats when you consume high-fat foods. As a result, your digestive system may accumulate bile, which could slow down digestion.

Fast food is frequently lacking in fiber, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

Lack of fiber can cause food to stay in your digestive system for prolonged periods of time, which can cause constipation and other digestive problems.

Bloating and Gas

Bloating and gas can also be brought on by fast meals. Your body has to work more to digest foods high in fat than low fat foods.

This could result in an accumulation of gas in your digestive tract, which might make you feel bloated and uncomfortable.

Additionally, the salt content in fast food is frequently high, which can make you bloated by making your body retain water.

Nausea and Stomach Aches

Vomiting and stomach pains can also be brought on by fast food. Foods high in fat require your body to produce more stomach acid in order to digest them.

Your stomach lining may get irritated as a result, which may result in nausea and stomach pain.

Fast food frequently contains a lot of sugar, which can cause your blood sugar levels to surge and then plummet, resulting in nausea and discomfort.

Preservatives and Additives in McDonald’s Food

Fast food from McDonald’s is well known for being heavy in calories, fat, and sodium.

McDonald's fried chicken with tomato sauce and soft drink in McDonald's Restaurant

However, McDonald’s meals can leave you feeling ill for reasons other than their nutritious worth.

The corporation adds various preservatives and additives to their food to increase flavor and shelf life.

Here are some of the more typical ones in more detail:

Sodium Benzoate

Preservative sodium benzoate is frequently found in processed foods, including those sold at McDonald’s.

It assists in limiting the development of bacteria and fungi, which can lead to food spoilage.

However, allergies, asthma, and child hyperactivity have all been linked to sodium benzoate as health issues.

Ponceau 4R

The Big Mac sauce and strawberry sundae at McDonald’s both contain the red food coloring Ponceau 4R.

It has been outlawed in certain nations, notably the United States, since it has been connected to children’s hyperactivity.

Sunset Yellow

Another food coloring used in McDonald’s items, including the cheeseburger and the chicken nuggets, is sunset yellow.

It has been outlawed in certain nations, including Norway and Finland, since it has been connected to children’s hyperactivity.

Quinoline Yellow

The hamburger and chicken nuggets at McDonald’s both include the food coloring quinoline yellow.

It has been outlawed in certain nations, including Norway and Finland, since it has been connected to children’s hyperactivity.

Calcium Propionate

Preservative calcium propionate is utilized in McDonald’s goods like hamburger buns.

It aids in stopping the development of mold and bacteria, both of which can lead to food spoilage.

Calcium propionate, however, has been connected to health issues in certain youngsters, including irritability, restlessness, inattention, and sleep disturbance.

High Fat and Sodium Content

The high fat and sodium content of McDonald’s cuisine may be one of the causes of your feeling ill after eating there.

Worker in protective mask issues an order to client at McDonald's restaurant.

According to Cooking Brush, foods with a high fat content take longer to empty from the stomach because they take longer to digest.

Bloating, motion sickness, and stomach aches may follow from this.

After having a hamburger or milkshake, you can suffer these symptoms within 24 hours, particularly if you eat many high-fat foods at once.

Fast food is also frequently sodium-rich. Eating meals that are heavy in salt might make you feel bloated, according to Cleveland Clinic.

Additionally, the carbonation in a beverage may make your meal worse.

It’s crucial to remember that not all fats are unhealthy for you. Some fats, such as those in nuts and avocados, are good for you and may even improve your health.

Fast food, like McDonald’s, often contains harmful fats that, if routinely consumed, can have a significant impact on one’s health.

In conclusion, eating McDonald’s food may make you feel ill because of its high sodium and fat levels.

Limiting your intake of high-fat and high-sodium foods in favor of healthier alternatives may be useful if you feel uncomfortable after eating fast food.

Eating Habits and McDonald’s

Your eating habits can have a big impact on how you feel after eating McDonald’s cuisine, particularly.

Customer enjoying with a set of McDonald's happy meal

Bloating, gas, and indigestion can be brought on by eating too rapidly or not chewing your meal well.

Additionally, eating a lot of food, particularly high-fat and high-sugar items, might make you feel lethargic and unwell.

In addition, your body may struggle to digest McDonald’s menu items if you’re used to eating a diet high in processed foods and low in fiber.

Constipation brought on by a diet low in fiber might result in nausea and stomach pain.

How often you eat at McDonald’s is another aspect to take into account. Your body might get used to the excessive amounts of salt, sugar, and fat present in fast food if you consume it frequently.

Your sensitivity to these flavors may lessen as a result, increasing your desire for unhealthy meals.

It’s crucial to pay attention to your eating habits if you want to avoid getting unwell after dining at McDonald’s.

Consume your food slowly, chew it well, and aim to consume lesser portions.

Adding extra fiber-rich foods to your diet can also aid in bettering digestion and preventing constipation.

Finally, eating less fast food and maintaining a balanced diet will help you have fewer desires for junk food.

Frequently Asked Questions

Set of McDonald's happy meal served on table in McDonald's restaurant.

Why do I feel sick after eating McDonald’s?

There are a few reasons why you might feel sick after eating McDonald’s. One reason is that fast food is often high in fat, salt, and sugar, which can be difficult for your body to digest. Another reason is that the food at McDonald’s is often cooked quickly and may not be as fresh as it could be. Finally, some people may have a food intolerance or allergy to certain ingredients in McDonald’s food, such as gluten or dairy.

Can I avoid feeling sick after eating McDonald’s?

If you’re prone to feeling sick after eating McDonald’s, there are a few things you can do to minimize your discomfort. First, try to choose items on the menu that are lower in fat, salt, and sugar. Second, ask for your food to be cooked fresh, or avoid items that have been sitting under a heat lamp for too long. Finally, if you have a food allergy or intolerance, make sure to let the staff at McDonald’s know so they can help you choose items that are safe for you to eat.

How can I tell if I have a food allergy or intolerance?

If you suspect that you have a food allergy or intolerance, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can perform tests to determine if you have an allergy or intolerance, and help you develop a plan to manage your symptoms. In the meantime, keep track of the foods that seem to trigger your symptoms, and avoid them if possible.

Mcdonald's hamburger, French fried and coca cola in Mcdonald's restaurant

Key Takeaways

  • Common food allergens in McDonald’s food may contribute to feelings of sickness.
  • Preservatives and additives in McDonald’s food may be difficult for some people to digest.
  • The high fat and sodium content of McDonald’s food can also cause discomfort and nausea in some people.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.