Calories in a Cheeseburger
If you are like a lot of guys (and gals), you no doubt like the occasional cheeseburger. What’s not to love about these often greasy mouthfuls of pure beef, smothered on top with a nice slice of American cheese? But have you ever wondered how many calories are in a cheeseburger? And what about the fat content – just how many grams are we talking about?
The answer to those questions isn’t as black and white as you might think. While there may be generic numbers on the number of calories in a hamburger available on the Internet, most of the material you will find is based on a number of assumptions. And you know what – most of those assumptions are wrong.
What follows is a breakdown of how many calories are in a cheeseburger – with fat content – based on a number of variables. I’m going to walk you through a little history of this food item and then lay all of the information out in a way that’s you arrive at the true answer about the caloric value of a cheeseburger you so desperately desire.
And to keep it real, you probably want to know this information because you recently chomped down on a cheeseburger and are feeling guilty. This makes sense since we are taught from the cradle that cheeseburgers are “junk food”. The truth is, however, that not all cheeseburgers are.
Are you ready to learn more about how many calories are in a cheeseburger? Let’s jump right in!
Cheeseburger: What is it?
What is a cheeseburger – really?
Before we can explore the number of calories in a cheeseburger, it might be helpful to first understand what, exactly, a cheeseburger is. As a working definition, a cheeseburger is nothing more than a hamburger dressed up with a piece of cheese on it.
So what’s in a hamburger?
Well, at its core, a hamburger is a beef patty that comes from a cow that is cooked and placed between two pieces of bread, also referred to as a bun.
You may be wondering why this is important information to know? The answer is because currently, there exists literally hundreds of different types of hamburgers and cheeseburgers on the marketplace. Just walk into any fast-food restaurant and you will see a large contingent of different selections.
Here is just a small sampling:
- Pure beef patty cheeseburger
- Greek style cheeseburger
- Garden vegetable cheeseburger
- Caesar cheeseburger
- Low-fat cheeseburger
- Cheeseburger with American cheese
- Cheeseburger with Swiss Cheese
- Cheeseburger ketchup
- Cheeseburger with mayonnaise
- Cheeseburger with mustard
McDonald's Cheeseburger Example
Cheeseburger Calorie Basics (360) Calories)
Assuming you get a basic cheeseburger from a fast food chain, the calorie count is going to be around 350 calories and 16 grams of fat. There is a HUGE caveat here.
Those numbers will largely depend on what fast food restaurant you get that burger from! In addition, the “extras” you put on that cheeseburger will no doubt push up the calorie and fat count.
Let’s take a deeper look and you will see what I mean.
A Burger King Fire Grilled Bacon cheeseburger reportedly had only 290 calories. But that just includes the beefy patty, the melted piece of cheese and the bun. Oh, and the piece or two of bacon they toss on. That doesn’t seem too bad and is, in fact, a smaller caloric number than the “average” as previously mentioned.
But who has a cheeseburger like that without all the fixings?
FYI: Remember, anytime they take these caloric measurements, they do so under clinical situations where each and every morsel is weighed and analyzed like crazy. For the regular Joe who is actually putting those cheeseburgers together, they aren’t all that concerned with portions.
For example, in the clinical setting, a scientist will smear a dime sized amount of mayo on the bun. In a fast food restaurant where burgers are made on what is basically a human conveyer belt, the mayo is slapped on with a utensil, like a knife or spoon. Not too different than what you might do at home.
Dairy Queen Flame Thrower Burger
High Calorie and High Fat Cheeseburgers (1,010 Calories)
Here is the REAL type of cheeseburger most people eat – particularly guys. Dairy Queen has what is called the Flame Thrower Grill Burger. It has 1,010 calories and 71 grams of total fat! Now how come those high caloric and fat numbers climbed so high?
Well, look at what you are getting here. You are getting two patties that are around half a pound. You are getting all of the fixings, including globs of mayonnaise that just drive the fat number sky high. And then you throw in the cheese, lettuce, bacon, ketchup, tomatoes and pickles. Add it all up and you have an extreme burger.
Honestly, you probably should be careful eating something like this if you suffer from a heart condition. I can just see the artery clogging happening in my mind’s eye right now! Oh, I didn’t make this one up. It came from the folks at Business Insider.
Sonic SuperSONIC Bacon Double Cheeseburger
Even Higher Calorie Cheeseburgers (1,240 Calories)
If you can believe it, there is a burger that is even higher in calories than the previously mentioned one. The Supersonic Bacon Double Cheeseburger contains 1,240 calories on average and has a mind blowing 87 grams of fat. And we haven’t even thrown in the sodium (salt) count at 1,690 mg.
Did you know that generally speaking, we’re only supposed to be ingesting 65 grams of fat per day here in the United States (on average)? If you eat this burger, you are surpassing that fat intake by over 20 grams.
On the calorie front, we are only supposed to be taking in 2000 calories per day (again, we are talking averages). If you eat this burger, you are taking in over half of those daily requirements in just one
Hardees Monster Thickburger
Ridiculously High Calorie Cheeseburger (1,290 Calories)
If you really want to get your fat ass on and just call no joy, reach for the Hardees Monster Thickburger. This cheeseburger has 1,290 calories and 92 grams of fat. Just writing those numbers makes my stomach churn. It’s called a monster for reason because it weighs 2/3 LBS!
It also has 2,840 milligrams of sodium, which exceeds the recommended amount of salt intake by a large amount. Generally speaking, 2,300 mg of sodium is what is suggested for most Americans and that’s pushing the upper limits according to the FDA.
So if you eat this cheeseburger, you are taking in over half of the calories that are suggested and exceeding fat intake by almost 30 grams. You are also surpassing the recommended salt intake by 540 mg. Wow!
FYI: None of these numbers include what typically goes along with a cheeseburger; namely fries, onion rings or sodas.
Harm Reduction Cheeseburger
If you want to avoid all of the massively high calories and fat content in a cheeseburger from a fast food restaurant, you can practice a bit of harm reduction. You may be wondering what that means? Well, harm reduction is a fancy way of engaging in a risky behavior while minimizing risks.
Here is how you order it:
- No mayonnaise
- Only yellow mustard
- No bacon
- No pickles
If you order it this way, you will shave off half the fat content and reduce the calories by nearly 10 grams and the calories by nearly 60. It’s still going to be an unhealthy cheeseburger in most cases but a lot better than going full bore and loading it up with all of the fixings.
Healthy Burger Alternative: Turkey Burger
Cheeseburger Low Calories & Fat Alternative
There are other options for you to consider if you want to get your cheeseburger on in a healthier way. It will take a little work on your part but if you are willing to make it yourself, you can do it. This is something to consider if you don’t want to blow your workout to smithereens.
First, ditch the ground beef. Second, toss out the mayonnaise. Third, get rid of the white bread hamburger bun. Instead, follow these directions after picking up the ingredients.
- 1 LB of lean, ground turkey
- ½ cub of sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 2 gloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp of vegetable oil
- Package of whole grain buns
- Bottle of Heinz low sodium catchup
- 3 oz Gorgonzola cheese or similar (chopped)
- Use a grill or George Foreman Type plug in grill ($39.00 – $40.00). Toss in first 5 ingredients with a little pepper to taste in a bowl. Lightly mix together and form your patties (ingredients are enough for six burgers). Brush them all with oil.
- Grill your burgers for 5 minutes per side or until internal temp is around 165°F. Toast your buns for around 2 minutes. Serve burgers on buns; add lettuce if you want.
*Per serving: 292 cal, 10 g fat (4 g sat), 26 g carbs, 4.5 g fiber, 520 mg sodium, 27 g protein
Just for fun, I have included a cheeseburger poll on this page. It’s not scientific or anything.
Think of it as a way of gauging how many cheeseburgers you eat per month compared to your fellow website visitors. Be sure to come back to see how your selection compares to others.
Myths about Cheeseburgers
Here are some common myths about cheeseburgers that seem to be floating around the Internet. You might find some of these fun and others just crazy weird.
- Cheeseburgers cause impotency
- Cheeseburgers help you to lose weight
- Cheeseburgers increase testosterone
- Cheeseburgers are the food of body builders
- People with green eyes shouldn’t eat cheeseburgers
- People with blue eyes should eat cheeseburgers
- Cheeseburgers have been around since the time of ancient Greece
- Cheeseburgers were a favorite of early Christians
Calories In a Cheeseburger Final Thoughts
This informational article really just touched the surface on what you can expect calorie-wise regarding cheeseburgers. If you are a fitness minded person, you probably won’t be eating lots of these. Although sometimes they are unavoidable.
Should you have time to prepare your own meals, a great book to consider picking up is authored by Gina Homolka and is called: The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor ($18.00).
Inside, you will find page after page of recipes that register low on the calorie front and high on taste. This is a great resource for body builders and fitness enthusiasts alike!