As you probably know, the McDonald’s menu varies significantly from country to country. At this point, it’s old news that McDonald’s offers Shrimp Beef Burgers in Korea, Tomato & Mozzarella Turnovers in Italy, and Poutine in Canada.
What you might not know, however, is that those few menu classics that are sold all over the world—like the Big Mac, French Fries, and Chicken Nuggets—vary by country when it comes to the nutrition panel. As it turns out, McDonald’s “standard” menu is anything but standard and is more “healthy” in some countries and so less in others.
And don’t miss 8 Worst Fast-Food Burgers to Stay Away From Right Now.
The findings come from NiceRx, an online healthcare company, which used nutritional information available on McDonald’s websites to determine which countries have the “unhealthiest” McDonald’s items. The analysis compared menus across 33 countries and ranked the classic items in terms of calorie count, salt content, and saturated fat content.
In terms of calories, Japan lays claim to the most caloric McDonald’s food in the world, with a combined calorie count for a Big Mac, a medium order of fries, and one Chicken McNugget at 989 calories. Interestingly, Japan’s Big Mac isn’t really the problem, it’s the fact that this country has the most caloric fries at 410 calories (medium fries in most other countries are well under 400 calories) and the most caloric McNugget at 54 calories a pop.
Calorie-wise, Canada is a close second at 962 calories, and South Korea is a not-too-distant third, at 958 calories.
Saturated fat is a different story. Out of countries surveyed, Turkey has, hands-down, the unhealthiest McDonald’s food, with an overall amount of saturated fat for the three items totaling 22.2 grams—about a third more than either of the runner-ups. Mexico came in second at 14.02 grams and New Zealand placed third with 13.48 grams.
Turkey also has the “unhealthiest” McDonald’s food in terms of salt content, with an overall count of 4.5 grams for the three items—edging out both Japan and New Zealand by less than a gram (3.66 grams and 3.54 grams, respectively).
For Mickey D’s fans here in America, it’s worth noting that while McDonald’s US did manage to stay out of the top three in all three categories, it ranked fourth overall for saturated fat, and placed in the top eight for calorie count. The US might not have the unhealthiest McDonald’s food in the world, but it’s nowhere near the “healthiest.”
If you’re looking for the “healthiest” McDonald’s food in the world, you’ll find it in Israel, which ranks lowest not only for calorie count, but also for salt and saturated fat, too. It looks like “healthy” McDonald’s food really does exist. But you’ll have to travel to the Middle East to get it.