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Will Eating a Burger Kill a Diet Plan?

author image Jessica Bruso
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.
Will Eating a Burger Kill a Diet Plan?
Two hamburgers on a chopping board. Photo Credit ehaurylik/iStock/Getty Images

If you're craving a burger, it's OK to indulge on occasion, even if you're on a diet. It's best to plan for this indulgence if you can, however, so you don't go over your daily calorie budget. Even an unplanned splurge on a burger isn't going to totally kill your diet, though it may slow your weight loss a little.

Burger Calories

A single-patty hamburger from a fast-food restaurant has about 255 calories, which can be relatively easy to fit into a weight-loss diet. Stay away from double hamburgers, which have about 576 calories each, and double cheeseburgers, which have about 650 calories each. These will use up a large proportion of your allotted calories for the day, but they won't necessarily keep you full for very long, making it more likely you'll go over your daily calorie budget.

Fitting a Burger into Your Diet

If you want to treat yourself to a hamburger, choose healthy side dishes, and limit the high-fat foods you eat the rest of the day. Have a tossed vegetable salad, which has just 33 calories if you skip the dressing, along with your burger and it will help you feel fuller after your meal and increase your vitamin intake. Skip the fries and shakes because a medium order of fries adds another 328 calories to your meal, and a medium vanilla shake will add 493 calories. Eat these along with a double cheeseburger, and you may already be over your daily recommended calories with just one meal.

Putting It into Perspective

To gain a pound, you'd need to eat an extra 3,500 calories. Even if you opt for the artery-clogging double cheeseburger with fries and a shake, you aren't likely to eat this many extra calories in just one day. Eat this meal regularly, however, and the extra calories will add up, making it more likely you'll gain weight instead of lose it.

Making Up for an Unplanned Splurge

If you do end up splurging on a burger and eating more calories than you planned on, you can make up for it with extra exercise or by eating a little less for the next day or two. A 154-pound person can walk at a pace of 4.5 miles, do aerobics or swim slow, freestyle laps for about 30 minutes to burn the amount of calories in a regular hamburger.

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