Cheeseburger Nutrition: Calories and Health Benefits

Cheeseburger, annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Most people love a juicy cheeseburger. But cheeseburger calories can add up quickly. While it is best to limit your regular intake of fast food cheeseburgers, there are ways to keep this American favorite in your diet. A cheeseburger can provide some nutritional benefits and there are ways to make it healthier.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one single, regular patty cheeseburger with bun (130g).

  • Calories: 350
  • Fat: 14g
  • Sodium: 630mg
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 1.95g
  • Sugars: 6.01g
  • Protein: 17g

There is some saturated fat in cheeseburgers. The beef in the burger contributes to the saturated fat count and the cheese adds saturated fat calories as well. But a cheeseburger provides no sugar and it is a good source of iron, vitamin B6 and B12.

Cheeseburger nutrition will vary depending on how you prepare your burger, which brand you buy, or where you choose to eat. For example, according to the USDA, if you get a plain cheeseburger at McDonalds, you'll consume 313 calories, 14 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein and 33 total carbs. You'll also consume 745 grams of sodium, or more than 30% of your total recommended sodium intake for the day. You'll consume roughly the same number of calories if you order a plain cheeseburger at Burger King.

But if you eat a cheeseburger at Applebees, according to the restaurant chain, you'll consume over 920 calories, approximately 60 grams of fat, 23 grams of saturated fat, and over 1620 milligrams of sodium. So why is there such a significant variation in cheeseburger calories and nutrition? Serving size and preparation method make a big difference.

What's the Healthiest Cheese for a Cheeseburger?

Usually, burger lovers choose the best cheese for their meal based on the flavor and how well the cheese melts. But are some burger cheeses healthier than others? Yep, but not by a great margin. Here's how some of the most popular cheeses stack up.

  • American cheese: 106 calories, 9 grams fat
  • Cheddar cheese: 114 calories, 9 grams fat
  • Pepper jack: 110 calories, 9 grams fat
  • Blue cheese: 100 calories, 8 grams fat
  • Swiss cheese: 95 calories, 7 grams fat
  • Brie cheese: 100 calories, 8 grams fat
  • Mozzarella cheese (part skim): 79 calories, 5 grams of fat

Keep in mind that serving size makes a big difference when you add cheese to a hamburger. The calorie counts listed above are for one ounce of each cheese. But pre-cut slices are often less than a full ounce and you may be able to save calories by using the smaller portion.

In addition, you may use less cheese if you choose a variety with a stronger taste. For that reason, using pepper jack or brie may help you to save a few calories.

Lastly, keep in mind that adding cheese to your hamburger will increase the sodium content. So if you are trying to cut back on your salt intake, you may want to skip the cheese.

Making a Cheeseburger Healthier

The best way to lower fat, calories, and sodium in your cheeseburger is to make it at home. Grill your burger so that fat drains away from the meat and so that you don't have to use any additional oil or butter to prepare the patty. You can also use leaner meat instead of the standard 80/20 chuck: Leaner ground beef, bison, turkey, or chicken.

Once your burger is ready, be cautious with condiments and toppings. Popular toppings like bacon will send your fat and calorie count through the roof. So you may want to pass on those options. Instead, pile on the lettuce, tomato, and onion.

In addition, skip the mayo, barbecue sauce and other fatty dressings. Mustard is a good condiment choice, and the cheese will add plenty of savory flavor too. And consider using only half a bun. A hamburger bun can add an additional 100 to 200 calories. Try an open-face burger or wrap the entire patty in a lettuce leaf.

Finally, be smart when you order cheeseburger sides. French fries, onion rings and even coleslaw is loaded with calories. If the burger alone isn't enough food, choose fresh fruit or a small salad on the side. And drink water to quench your thirst. A cold beer will add 150 calories or more to your daily count and a milkshake can easily add three times that number.

1 Source
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  1. USDA FoodData Central. Cheeseburger.

By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.